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Why do some toddlers eat sand?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I know two 2yo boys that compulsively eat fistfuls of sand. Is that normal??? My son never did.
post #2 of 15
I think it is more exploring a new texture. but if a person "has" to eat non food items...sand, clay, ice, cornstarch, paper etc it could be considered pica
post #3 of 15
My son never hesitated to taste sand. It was an interesting texture plus it's a surefire way to get a reaction out of people.

My daughter just doesn't put things in her mouth like my son did. Different kids are just different!
post #4 of 15
Jackson likes to crunch it in between his teeth, it makes a horrible sound!!
post #5 of 15
My 1 year old loves eating sand.
post #6 of 15
I think it's the crunching, my daughter does it, too. I've gotten some sand in my mouth this summer and it is taste-neutral with that unusual sensory quality of gritty crunch in your teeth. It makes sense to me that they'd try it.
post #7 of 15
My DD ate beach sand when she was younger- I think because it was her first experience of saltiness Playground sand has never appealed to her, and now I just let her eat salty foods instead of seawater. And sandy poopy diapers were really gross.
post #8 of 15
My 1yo eats sand/dirt. My older dd never did.
post #9 of 15
tasting is normal. Compulsive *eating* is not. It can be a sign of a mineral deficiency. Many many kids taste sand or dirt several times a day, or will enjoy crunching a bit around in their mouths. Kids who treat it like FOOD are often in need of minerals. Sand eaters tend to need more magnesium.
post #10 of 15
My oldest did this last summer. He would repeatedly grab and eat handfulls of sand every chance he got. I researched it and learned about pica. From what I read they said not to worry unless they're over 24 months (he was only 16 months) since its normal for them to explore by putting things in their mouths before then. And most people around me laughed it off too, but it just didn't sit right with me. I talked to his ped about it, and she ran some blood tests and it turned out he was severly anemic. He was on iron supplements from 17-24 months. His levels are great now, and he hasn't even tasted sand this summer. It can definitely be a texture/exploring thing, but I feel it is also worth checking into if it just doesn't seem right. HTH.
post #11 of 15
My DD1 never put non-food things in her mouth. My DD2 is uber-dainty, but did try licking ant hill once or twice. Totally surprising, funny, and gross all at once. I think it's normal. At least it appears to be....
post #12 of 15
Because they're toddlers! That being said, by two I might be a bit concerned about compulsive *eating* of sand, although I'm not sure what you can do, other than keeping them away from it. Certainly saying, "No, sand isn't food. It's yucky" while making a face might help. I dunno. My dd2 ate sand pretty compulsively when she was a very young toddler (under about 14 months or so), but while she is still pretty oral as 2 yr olds go, she no longer does so. Maybe a taste now and then, but she is becoming aware of things that are socially acceptable to eat and things that aren't. I'd probably keep an eye on it. If it's the only weird thing they do, I'd just chalk it up to todderhood, but if they eat other non food items or such, I might mention it to the doctor.
post #13 of 15
ds loved to eat dirt and i thought it was just a normal kid thing. when he started eating his butt paste too my sil pointed out that it was probably a mineral deficiency. i started giving him a multivitamin w/ minerals (i really like carlsons for kids) and no more eating dirt.
post #14 of 15
My 2 yo son ate so much sand at the park one day he pooped out a sandcastle
post #15 of 15


sand is very bad for young children, dont let them eat it
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