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How many times have you had to scoop out piles of mud, earth or soil from your child's mouth? They won't eat sprouts or healthy snacks but give them a mouthful of dirt and they're happy! It seems crazy, but true!
However, research carried out has suggested that children who eat dirt may actually benefit from cardiovascular benefits in adulthood. It may actually protect them against heart attacks and strokes. The authors of the study, carried out in the Philippines, suggest that early contact with microbes, may actually help protect children in future years. Mr McDade, one of the authors of the study, claims that all our hand-sanitising, washing and disinfecting is contributing to the increase in childhood conditions such as asthma and eczema.
However, the fact remains that dirt is dirty! Park soil can contain all or some of the following, which is a sobering thought!
- chemicals, from chemical or home waste and contamination
- harmful bacteria from sewage or manure
- dead creatures, bugs or part of larger creatures
- parasites, such as round worm from pet or wild animal faeces
Why do kids eat dirt?
They are exploring their world! They touch, feel and experiment and their mouth is the most sensitive place to "try out" dirt!
How much is too much?
"Normal" soil consumption for little ones is up to about 500 mg a day of soil. That's about the size of a 2p coin. If it's much more than that, pop to your GP.
Just keep an eye on them and what's going in their mouth and if they eat any dirt, get it out as quickly and as safely as you can!