Monday, August 11, 2008

This Kid Is Trouble With a Capital T

Sunday I lost track of Pebbles for all of two minutes. I noticed she was no longer in the kitchen with me, and I went to check the foyer, where she likes to hang out and play with shoes.

She was in the foyer all right. Holding a ripped-open package of flower seeds I'd put out there in my "freecycle" pile. She had that naughty grin on her face that says, "I've got something in my mouth." She'd ripped open the package herself.

Sure enough, when I opened my hand and ordered her to spit into it, she produced a good dozen seeds. Sweet pea seeds.

Now, I know that morning glory seeds are supposed to be poisonous (but from these accounts of kids trying to get high, I'd say that "poisonous" is a bit strong of a term), and sweet peas look just like morning glories. I Googled it, and sure enough, they are also alleged to be poison.

Surprisingly, the sticker with the poison control number was actually affixed to a visible spot near the phone. The guy at poison control said they could cause an upset stomach, or paralysis if consumed "in large amounts." I doubted she had swallowed any, but of course I didn't know for sure. And neither of us had any idea what "a large amount" constituted for a 19-pound child.

He told me to watch her for unusual sleepiness, loss of balance, etc., and he'd call back in a few hours. He called back as scheduled, and we reported that she seemed fine. Actually Epu talked to him because I was out at the store with Nutmeg.

Everything I can find online suggests that poisoning occurs when people are eating the seeds of plants related to garden sweet peas as grains. In times of famine, when people rely too heavily on porridge made of the seeds, there have been poisonings. In a study of feeding common garden sweet pea seeds to rats, only the rats that ate them as more than 12.5% of their daily diet showed any ill effects. That makes me feel a little better.

Here's the weird thing: Poison control guy said that we should watch for symptoms in four to eight weeks. After doing a little research, I have no idea where he got that -- unless what he was reading said that symptoms might appear after four to eight weeks of eating the seeds as meals.

So, yeah. Pebbles needs to be watched like a hawk at this age. But no, I'm not expecting her to suddenly show ill effects from this little incident a month from now.

1 comment:

Patois said...

And it's highly unlikely she'll start growing any usable plants in her tummy.

Glad she's okay!