What To Do When Your Kid Eats A Glowstick (Yes Really)

My parents have Sunday dinner at their house and January through March there are several Sunday dinners that include birthday cake. The last Sunday dinner that included birthday cake also included glow sticks.

The candles were lit and we were ready to sing that familiar tune. Suddenly, my Mom came running around the corner for a bucket. My niece was gagging and said she was going to throw up. Did you know there is a touch of the bug going through the second grade? My niece is in kindergarten, but whatever.

Apparently, my 5 year old niece started to chew on the glow stick and cracked the plastic. Some of the liquid seeped into her mouth causing her to gag/dry heave and spitting out something pink. No sooner did my Mom yell “get the bucket,” we found a chewed up glow stick with pink liquid glowing on the ground. When we came to the realization that she ate the glow stick; panic and chaos ensued.

Between scrambling for the ripped package of glow sticks to read what to do in this situation which said “Ages 5+” and not to ingest them) someone screaming “I don’t care what you do just call poison control, call 911 just call somebody.” My brother called her pediatrician and I called poison control. Thank G for cell phones with internet! My heart racing as the woman on the other the end of the phone calmly asked me questions. “Why was she so calm? This is an emergency!” She asked me for my name, town, and phone number as my sister-in-law yelled “Get me milk, somebody get me milk, you drink milk for poison.” Later, my grandmother a former RN said never to ingest anything after ingesting something that could be poisonous until you know that it’s safe.

We figured out several useful things about what to do if a similar situation happens to you, and a few useful facts thanks to several poison control websites…

1. Don’t panic. Stay Calm. Just breathe!

2. The former RN in your home might be of some use.

3. Have a list of important numbers somewhere accessible to everyone.

4. Both Poison Control and the Pediatrician were more concerned about the child swallowing or choking on the plastic and if she was having a reaction.

5. There are chemicals in the tube specifically Dibutyl phthalate, but they are supposedly non toxic (if it’s possible for chemicals to be non toxic) Referred more specifically as “Non-Deadly” Dibutyl phthalate is also found in nail polish…I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t drink nail polish. Just saying!

6. Still call poison control or your pediatrician just to be safe as everyone has different reactions to things and chemicals.

7. Irritation of the throat may occur and stomach ache. If it persists contact a professional.

8. Rinse and wipe out the mouth, wash any exposed skin.

9. Poison Control gets calls like this all of the time (more specifically an influx of calls on the Fourth of July, and Halloween) “It’s a very common call,” is what she said to me.

10. Water, milk or ice cream: are things that they suggest you drink/eat to flush it out of the system, because it may cause irritation, and the liquid inside tastes nasty.

11. Your child’s tongue or lips may glow for a short time.

12. If a child is in a public school there is chance that they’ve caught whatever is going around 2nd grade. Even if they’re in kindergarten. #Germs

13. Just don’t eat the glow sticks.

14. If you do…”Get The Bucket!” & “Get the milk!”

For More information about Glow Sticks and the dangers click here or here.

Poison Control


Photo courtesy of Enjoying Life With 4 Kids.