|Saturday Spotlight #23|
Just when I think I worry about everything under the sun, I find out about something that I didn't even know I should be worrying about. Something that is commonly available and potentially fatal.
As parents, we try to protect our children from harm. We tell them they can't do dangerous things, we caution them about things that could potentially put them at risk. We talk to them about the risk of using drugs, the dangers of drunk driving.
Yesterday I read an article about a substance that I never even knew could be dangerous.
When my son was about 12, he and his friends held a contest at another friend's house. Like the reality show "Fear Factor," they dared each other to ingest a bunch of gross concoctions; nothing poisonous but odd combinations flavored with hot sauce, soy sauce, etc. When he got home and told me about it, I warned him that these sorts of activities are not wise. I gave him the example that soy sauce isn't meant to be drunk; it has a high sodium content and consuming an unusually large quantity could cause an electrolyte imbalance.
Edible items, when ingested differently than intended, are not always harmless. I have talked with my kids about the dangers of eating mushrooms in the wild, huffing from whipping cream canisters, and eating spoiled food. But, I never knew that I should warn them about swallowing cinnamon.
Sadly, the death of a 4-year old boy named Matthew brought the risk to my attention. Apparently, Matthew climbed up onto a counter, got some powdered cinnamon, began putting it in his mouth, started choking, appeared to be having a seizure, and died. Any mother knows how quickly kids can climb and get into things - few of us have ever locked our spice cabinet. But, perhaps that would be wise.
An online dare called "The Cinnamon Challenge" has circulated among teenagers for a number of years, encouraged kids to try to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon in under 60 seconds. This seemingly harmless prank has led to some severe results. Unfortunately, cinnamon quickly dries up mouth saliva, causes a choking response, and can lead pneumonia, asphyxiation, and even death.
Matthew's mother wants his death to be a warning to teenagers of how dangerous ingesting cinnamon can be. I am honoring his memory by sharing this information here with you.
Natural does not always mean safe. We can't possibly warn our kids of every potential danger that lurks, but pointing out the danger of The Cinnamon Challenge seems like a conversation well worth having.
Have a safe and happy weekend.
Do or did you keep your spice drawer locked to prevent access by small children?