Not in Your Mouth

Because children are gradually learning their verbal skills, the way that they learn is through touching, smelling and tasting items. It is important that children be curious and learn how to negotiate around their environment. So, encourage their exploring behaviors, but it is very important to supervise their explorations.

It is normal developmental behavior for children to grab an item and immediately put it in their mouth. That is their way of learning about the world around them. Therefore it would be next to impossible to teach them not to put anything in their mouth. It would also stifle their curiosity and learning, if parents said, “NO!” every time their child put something in their mouth.

Offering children particular objects that can be put in the mouth safely allows them to work on this developmental task while teaching them which things should not go in the mouth. Certain toys and items that children chew on when they are teething can be offered. Parents need to make sure there are no small parts on the toy that can come off and possibly choke the child. The toy should be made of non-toxic material, safe to be put in the mouth.

Parents often have strong feelings about when a child should give up his or her pacifier. The pacifier can be a comfort to the child and it is also safe to be put in the mouth.

All products in the home that are potentially dangerous need to be stored in proper containers and kept in locked cabinets. Placing "Mr.. Yuk" (a bright green, round label that has a face scowling with a tongue sticking out) stickers on hazardous materials will help to immediately tell a child to leave this substance alone. You can order these stickers by contacting the poison control center. Placing hazardous products up high does not necessarily secure them. Children can become expert climbers and easily gain access to items stored this way.

The phone number to the poison control center should be placed by the phones and/or on the refrigerator. The number is 1-800-222-1222.

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