Plastic tubes filled with luminous chemicals are popular with Iowa trick-or-treaters but they’re also the subject of hundreds of calls to the Poison Control Center every fall. Spokeswoman Joan McVoy says while the glow sticks do help make children more visible in the dark, but they can also cause problems.
“They’re plastic and little kids love to chew on them because it’s soft and kind of like a teething ring and they break it open because it’s not that hide,” McVoy says. “Inside, there’s a chemical that gets in their mouth and the parents panic and call us because their child’s mouth is now glowing in the dark.”
Last year, glow sticks were the subject of 282 calls to the poison center’s hotline. Parents who realize their kid has managed to munch through a glow stick need to act — and quickly. “It that happens, give us a call,” McVoy says.
“The nurse is going to be able to tell you whether it’s going to be a problem or not. If it gets in the eyes, it may also cause some burning and stinging and the nurse will tell you what you’re supposed to do.” While getting that glow stick goo certainly isn’t good for you, it’s probably not going to be fatal to your child.
“It’s poisonous because it can make them sick and cause some symptoms,” McVoy says. “It’s not something that we would send them to an emergency room, but a parent should give us a call and we’ll give them instructions.” The Regional Poison Center number is 800-222-1222.