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My baby eats the sand, what can I do?

My baby eats the sand, what can I do?

Babies usually put everything they find within reach in their mouths, it is their way of exploring and discovering the world. A habit that they lose as they grow older, but what happens if what they put in their mouth is not suitable? What if it is sand?

Children love to play in the sand, so much so that we usually buy buckets, shovels and other toys for them to entertain themselves either on the beach, in the sandbox or in the park. However, at the least we get lost, we find a picture that makes us get up like a spring: the baby's mouth is full of dirt and he still holds handfuls of sand in his hands. What can I do if my baby eats the sand?

Many parents have lived in countless situations that moment when the baby, without thinking twice, puts a handful of dirt in his mouth. Some children make a disgusted face and remain with their mouths open until someone rescues them, however, their memory is vague and they can do it again after a while. Others even seem to like to chew grains of sand, something that adults turn up our stomachs. Why do some babies eat sand?

When it is something occasional and is part of the child's own curiosity about the environment in which he is, there is no problem, it is normal. If the sand that he swallowed is little and the place does not contain animal excrement, cigarette butts or sharp objects, do not give it more importance. However, if it becomes a habit, it may be a disorder known as Pica.

Pica is an eating disorder that occurs in children up to 6 years of age, the most obvious symptom is that the child tends to suck or eat substances that are not edible: sand, plaster, paint, chalk, soap, mud ...

It is believed that this disorder may be motivated by an inadequate diet in the child, in which nutrients, vitamins or minerals are lacking. It can also be due to stress or is associated with disorders such as autism, developmental delay, or mental illness.

Children generally eat sand from parks or the beach, in general from places where dogs or cats do not have access that can infect the earth with excrement or germs. However, it may happen that despite being forbidden to enter pets, they do so and that sand is infected. In that case, the child could suffer from an intestinal parasitic infection, diarrhea, gastroenteritis or intestinal obstruction.

What can we do to avoid these disorders for the child?

- Check the sand the child is playing with and remove cigarette butts, sharp objects or other dirt that it may have.

- Be aware if the child usually puts his hands to his mouth, to clean them of sand before I do.

- If it has become a habit, take him to the pediatrician to assess if he has anemia, some other mineral deficiency or is going through some kind of difficulty.

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