It doesn’t only happen in the movies! There are two methods to get a tongue unstuck from a metal pole or object:
Pouring a cup of cool water over the tongue should loosen it. Keep pouring water until the tongue comes off.
Have your child breathe on the pole—the warmth and moisture of his breath may help loosen his tongue from the pole. Now you can have him gradually try to ease his tongue off as it loosens.
Do not forcefully pull his tongue off the pole, as this will tear the tissue and result in bleeding.
—Dr. Umberto Cellupica, paediatrician
A version of this article appeared in our February 2015 issue with the headline, “How to unstick a tongue from a metal pole,” p. 36.