Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 1485–1489

Beverage can stay-tabs: still a source for inadvertently ingested foreign bodies in children

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00247-010-1651-5

Cite this article as:
Donnelly, L.F. Pediatr Radiol (2010) 40: 1485. doi:10.1007/s00247-010-1651-5



In the 1970s in part to avoid inadvertent ingestion, the beverage-can industry changed can construction from pull-tabs to the stay-tabs (remain attached to can after opening) used today.


Our purpose is to identify the number of inadvertent ingestions of beverage-can stay-tabs by children recognized at our institution.

Materials and methods

The medical information system of a children’s hospital was searched with key terms to identify cases in which a witnessed or self-reported inadvertent ingestion of a beverage-can stay-tab resulted in a radiograph to rule out presence of a foreign body. Demographics, identification of stay-tab on radiographs, associated abnormalities, and patient management were reviewed.


Nineteen cases of stay-tab ingestion were identified over 16 years. Mean age of ingesters was 8.5 years with the majority being teenagers and 15 (79%) >5 years of age. The stay-tab could be seen radiographically only in 4 (21%) cases—all with the stay-tab identified in the stomach.


The identification of 19 children who inadvertently ingested beverage-can stay-tabs at a single children’s hospital suggests that such ingestions still occur. Radiologists should be aware that stay-tabs are radiographically visible in the minority (21%) of cases.


Foreign body ingestion Beverage-can stay-tabs Children Foreign bodies Safety Beverage can 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology, MLC 5031Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Radiology and PediatricsUniversity of Cincinnati, College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA

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