How Much Dirt Is Safe For My Child to Eat?
It’s normal for babies to put all sorts of things in their mouths, from crayons to toys to, yes, dirt. But according to Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, an award-winning registered dietitian and the founder/president of Zied Health Communications, if the child is over the age of 2 and purposely consumes non-food items such as dirt, glue, or hair at least once a month, they may be diagnosed with a condition called pica.
Pica is associated with nutritional deficiency or psychological disorders, and is often seen in children, pregnant women, and individuals on the autism spectrum. Side effects of pica could be stomach pains, bleeding, and increased risk of infection from animal feces, poisons, or other potentially harmful substances in the dirt.
If you suspect your child is at risk for pica, a trip to the doctor’s office is strongly recommended.