Can you eat crayons?

Can you eat crayons?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat crayons?” with an in-depth analysis of crayons, possible symptoms of eating crayons and actions to take when your child has consumed crayons. 

Can you eat crayons?

No, you can not eat crayons. Although crayons are considered minimally toxic, their consumption can obstruct the intestine due to the presence of wax in them and can be a choking hazard. Moreover, if consumed in excessive amounts, crayons can produce a laxative effect. 

What are crayons?

Crayons are also referred to as wax pastels. They are mostly used by children for drawing and colouring purposes. The primary ingredients used to make crayons are paraffin wax and coloured pigments. 

During manufacturing, the paraffin wax is melted and mixed with pre-measured amounts of coloured pigments. The hot wax mixture is discharged into moulding machines. In almost four to seven minutes, the crayons cool down and turn solid. 

Possible symptoms of crayon overdose

Crayons are generally not safe for consumption if consumed in larger amounts. Crayon ingestion can lead to stomach problems, vomiting and diarrhoea. It can cause an intestinal obstruction as it contains paraffin wax.

Most toddlers consume little pieces of crayons that may present a choking hazard. otherwise eating smaller quantities of crayons causes little harm to the body. 

However, excessive consumption of crayons can lead to laxative effects. 

Why do children eat crayons?

Most children are urged to eat crayons. The most common reasons why some children are inclined towards crayons are described below:

Curiosity:

The majority of the drawing tools are designed in a way that most attracts children, allowing the kids to enjoy. For instance, crayons and coloured pencils are scented to imitate certain foods and fruits. Some kids are curious to know if their orange crayon does taste like an orange whereas others take a bite just to see what happens. 

Teething: 

Depending on the age of your child, they might just want to bite down on anything they can get their hands on to relieve the uncomfortable feeling in their gums. You should be observant and see if they are not just attempting to eat the crayon. Children also often eat or chew erasers, coloured pencils, and markers.

Oral fixation:

Children who have an oral fixation constantly desire to put objects in their mouths. It becomes a kind of fascination. The objects can include toys, paper, clothing and everything else they find. Children with oral fixation also tend to be less socially mature than other children, so if your kid has a problem with separation, this may be the reason for their obsession with eating crayons.

Iron deficiency:

Another reason why children eat crayons is that their bodies may lack a sufficient amount of iron. When children suffer from iron deficiency anaemia, their bodies do not have enough iron to produce haemoglobin. This causes some unusual eating habits- that includes the consumption of crayons and other non-edible things like ice, clay and dirt.

If your child is experiencing strange cravings, it could be a sign that their body is trying to make up for low nutrient levels. In these cases, consuming crayons may help them feel satisfied. Some people may even enjoy and crave the flavours and textures of certain non-food items including crayons. 

Pica:

Eating crayons is also associated with an eating disorder known as pica. People who suffer from this eating disorder usually feed upon substances that have no nutritional value such as crayons, paper, ice, soil, tree bark, clay, pencils or other items. 

Pica is a form of compulsion that involves the consumption of non-food items, but just because your child has ingested crayons once does not mean they have this disorder.

Pica is generally applicable to those children who are focused on a single non-food item for more than a month and is commonly observed in patients who have developmental disorders such as schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder or patients who are diagnosed with autism. These patients may develop pica as a coping mechanism.

This eating order mostly affects an estimated 10 to 30% of children between ages between one to six. However, it can also occur in adults. 

What to do if your child has consumed crayons?

  • If you find out that your child has consumed crayons but is not having any symptoms, have them drink a few sips of water and keep an eye on symptoms.
  • If your child is choking on crayons, call 911 immediately.
  • If your child is experiencing persistent coughing, vomiting, or diarrhoea, take him to the healthcare provider as early as possible. 

Conclusion

In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat crayons?” with an in-depth analysis of crayons, possible symptoms of eating crayons and actions to take when your child has consumed crayons.

References

https://www.illinoispoisoncenter.org/my-child-ate/crayons
https://www.reference.com/world-view/happens-eat-crayons-761f8d64521ca19b
https://blog.providence.org/archive/the-psychology-of-eating-crayons

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.