If you just had to endure the thought, “Did my toddler eat crayons right now?” only to find out that they in fact did, you may be freaking out. Should you be concerned? Do they need to see a doctor immediately? Well, take a breather.
Crayons are non-toxic and your child won’t need medical attention unless they are displaying signs of an allergic reaction. If not, then no need to worry and simply wait for the crayons to completely pass through their system (AKA poop them out).
While crayons are non-toxic and won’t cause a need to call Poison Control, they are a choking hazard. Learn more about how to safely use crayons, what art supplies to avoid, and what to do if your child is repeatedly eating inedible objects.
Non-Toxic, Still a Choking Hazard
Almost all children’s crayons are going to be non-toxic. If you’re not sure and don’t have the box at hand, go ahead and search the ingredients and if it’s non-toxic online. Instead of causing a poisonous reaction, your toddler would have a higher chance of being allergic.
Some allergic reaction symptoms to look for that would incite emergency medical attention include:
- Trouble breathing
If your toddler isn’t displaying any symptoms at all, then you can breathe easily. Of course, this also doesn’t mean that crayons are a safe snack choice for toddlers. Crayons can be a serious choking hazard and should not be consumed.
Yet, if the damage has already been done and your toddler is just fine, then simply ensure that they will be supervised the next time they play with crayons. Don’t be too anxious, but also try not to let it happen again as there are more safety factors involved.
Toxic Art Supplies to Avoid
While you shouldn’t shelter your toddler too much, there are some art supplies that aren’t safe for them and should be avoided as much as possible. Toxic art supplies that should be avoided include:
- Tempera paints: can have formaldehyde, phenol, PVC, and highly toxic trichloroethane
- Solvent-based and alcohol-based markers: contain xylene, a toxin that affects the brain, kidneys, and respiratory system
- Instant papier maches: may use asbestos fibers or lead
- Oil-based pastels: can contain lead chromate and toxic pigments
- Any finger paints that use formaldehyde
While there are non-toxic versions of most of these art supplies, always read the fine print to be extra certain that your toddler can handle them safely. It’s always better safe than sorry when it comes to purchasing toys or art supplies for toddlers.
Toddler-Friendly Arts and Crafts
The best way to avoid having your toddler consume toxic products is by only purchasing non-toxic and safe art supplies. Considering how beneficial art time and creativity are for your little one, be sure to encourage this hobby while using safe materials.
The last thing you want to do is swap out an easel for a tablet. Your toddler is going through crucial brain development right now, and embracing their creativity will only help them in the long run. That’s why we don’t recommend that you let the fear of them handling unsafe art supplies stop them from exploring their creative side.
Some completely safe, non-toxic, and fun art supplies you should have for your toddler include:
- 100% pure beeswax crayons
- All-natural paint sets
- Water drawing mat
- Sticker books
- Non-toxic stamps
While purchasing non-toxic supplies will help, it’s always best to ensure that you’re keeping a close eye on your toddler when handing anything that may be a choking and/or safety hazard.
Pica: Signs and Symptoms
While toddlers eating strange things is completely normal, there may be an issue if you notice your toddler repeatedly eating inedible objects. Pica is considered an eating disorder where someone will eat different inedible objects.
Crayons are considered objects that are commonly eaten by those with pica. That being said, if your toddler has only eaten crayons once or twice then there shouldn’t be an issue. If this happens repeatedly, you may want to consider the following causes of pica to see if your toddler may have this disorder:
- Low iron
- Roundworm infection
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Lead poisoning
- Small intestine and large intestine blockage
- developmental problems, such as autism or intellectual disabilities
- Stress due to poverty, abuse, or an unstable home life
Treatment for pica is not invasive and usually simply requires parents to hide any inedible objects their child has chosen to repeatedly eat. However, a full assessment should be done in order to determine if this is the result of any psychological issues. If so, your child may be suggested to see a mental health professional.
If your toddler has eaten crayons without displaying any negative symptoms or reactions, then there’s no need to worry. However, crayons are also a choking hazard that shouldn’t be consumed. Additionally, if your toddler is repeatedly eating crayons, almost as a craving, then you should do further research on pica and if they may have it.
In order to avoid any more scares of toxic consumption, then be careful and read all the fine print on what you give to your toddler. It’s always a safe decision to choose entirely non-toxic arts and crafts supplies to prevent your child from eating something dangerous.
Another safe practice to employ is to keep a close eye on your toddler whenever they’re doing an activity. While you can prevent bringing any toxic chemicals into your home, you can’t entirely prevent your child from facing countless choking hazards. If they can fit it in their mouth, then it’s a choking hazard and should be handled with care.
While there is a fine line between keeping an eye on your toddler and being too anxiously overbearing, parenting is all about finding that middle ground. Let your toddler explore (seemingly) on their own while also ensuring that they are as safe and as happy as can be. Now, go and raise the next little Jackson Pollock or Frida Kahlo.