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4-Year-old dies after eating cinnamon

A Kentucky family is grieving after their 4-year-old son ate a handful of cinnamon and passed away. Even though the common spice isn’t dangerous in small amounts, eating a large amount can have fatal consequences.

Brianna Radar says her little boy climbed up onto the stove, grabbed the cinnamon container and tried to eat a handful. While preschooler hands are pretty small, it was unfortunately enough to do serious damage. He was unable to breathe after putting it into his mouth, and it cost him his life.

We all know to keep our cleaning supplies locked away where children can’t get to them. You wouldn’t keep a container of bleach within easy reach, but you might not consider that a simple kitchen spice could kill your child — and you wouldn’t be alone.

Radar probably thought the spice was pretty harmless considering many of us add it to foods on a regular basis — and it’s quite delicious too. Cinnamon, however, can send up dusty puffs into the air, which you may notice even when you sprinkle it onto applesauce. You may have heard about the “cinnamon challenge,” a trend where teens make videos of themselves eating the dry spice without water and uploading the results online. While it may seem like a fun game, you can imagine what would happen if you gagged on it while eating it and the spice entered your lungs. This terrible result is what little Matthew experienced in his final moments, and it serves as a warning to the rest of us.

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If you have spices — any spices — within reach of your small children, move them up right now. Matthew was probably familiar with cinnamon, which may have been why he was tempted to eat some, but any spice has the potential to be put into the mouth, choked on and inhaled, especially by a little one who doesn’t have the life experiences we have.

In addition to a potential risk of inhalation, many spices are dangerous in high amounts (particularly in the pediatric population), so it’s vital to keep them away from where little hands can get to them. Consider also the fact that kids can move chairs to reach items on countertops, or in Matthew’s case, the stove. And kids are fast — faster than you can believe — and in a moment a disaster can unfold in your own home, even with something you’d just added to your family’s dinner an hour before.

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I’m heartbroken that this family has to go through this horrible tragedy, but I believe we can learn from their experience so hopefully no other family has to learn the hard way that cinnamon — and other spices — can be extremely dangerous.

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