I accidentally gave my tot cyanide (I know, mum of the year)

Posted in Safety.

There are some things you just know not to do as a mum, and giving your toddler cyanide to drink is definitely one of them. Well you’d think. I had a bit of a mum fail the other day but when I tell you how it happened, I think you’ll understand.

I should reassure you now though that my little guy is fine and I didn’t actually poison him in the end, but I did learn a very good lesson. 

It was meant to be a healthy smoothie

My little Sam is super fussy when it comes to eating his veggies, so I like to get all sneaky on him and slip in nutrition where I can. I puree veggies and add them to pasta sauce, I pretend raw carrots are treats and I also make him drink my special mum-smoothies – which are packed full of fruit and veg.

Sam was perched on the kitchen bench helping me make a smoothie the other day. He loves the ‘putting things’ in the Nutribullet part and I also find he’s more keen to drink the smoothie when he’s helped me make it. After peeling a banana, having him scoop out some frozen blueberries, LSA mix and toss in some strawberries, I found some nectarines on their last legs. Great, I thought. I’ll use these up in the smoothie. There were three and I let Sam pick up the slices of yellow fruit as I carefully cut around the pip.

Mum smoothie

Then I turned my back

These things always happen when we turn our backs, right?!

As I rummaged through the fridge to find a carrot, some baby spinach leaves and a cucumber to add to the shake, Sam must have proceeded to pop the three nectarine pips in.

A loud clunk!

Feeling smug that I was about to get away with giving my toddler baby spinach yet again, I had him cover his ears with his pudgy little hands. Then I whizzed up our concoction.

But there was a mighty noise!

Clunk, clunk, clank, went the Nutribullet. Must be the carrot, I thought. A few seconds latter our mum-smoothie was ready. 

We sat outside, little Sam with a sippy cup and me with a big tall glass of goodness. I hadn’t yet taken a sip when he started complaining that it needed more honey. Typical I thought, heading back inside to grab the honey squeeze bottle. Then after sweetening his drink a little more, he was happy to gulp down almost all if it.

This tastes weird

When I finally took a sip of the smoothie myself I knew why he was complaining. It just didn’t taste right. It was bitter and for some reason really grainy. How much LSA mix did he add? I wondered. 

Then it hit me.

The sound wasn’t the carrot but the nectarine seeds. He must have added these to the smoothie when I wasn’t looking. Ah well, no biggie, I thought. What’s so bad about a bit of seed in a smoothie?

Then I gave a glass to my husband.

“Here, you go, health smoothie for you, sorry about the taste and graininess, but Samby put the nectarine seeds in and then I ground them up in the whizzer by accident!” I laughed.

“Err, is that safe for him? Did he drink any? Let me Google that, I think I read somewhere ages ago that some fruit seeds are poisonous.”

My heart stopped

No, he couldn’t be right. There is no way I would give my toddler poison. Sh!t, I better Google this too, I panicked.

Well, it turns out that nectarine seeds, like other stone fruit seeds do in fact contain cyanide in the centre of the pip. While eating a bit of seed isn’t a problem as the outer case of the pip keeps the bad bit contained, if you ground them up like I did, it releases the poison. Now this isn’t such a big deal for an adult but it’s a different story for little kids, according to Dr Google. 

Panicked mum

Quick, call poison information!

While I wondered if I should rush him to hospital or take a chill pill and stop freaking out, I decided to call the poison information hotline. A few minutes later my anxiety was eased.

Yes, he may have consumed some cyanide, but the lady at the end of the line accessed how much of the drink he actually drank, considering it went three ways and there was some left over, she reassured me that the consumption levels would have been low, even for a toddler. I was advised to observe him for a few hours.

He was fine but I did put him to bed an hour later that day because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to detect if he was OK while asleep. 

The moral of the story is, don’t let a stone fruit pip find its way into the blender! And that mum fails happen to us all. Even the ones who make health smoothies and feel smug about it.


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