ZocdocAnswersWhy does my 2 year old eat string?

Question

Why does my 2 year old eat string?

She bites the string off of a towel and she eats it

Answer

Infants and toddlers can behave in ways that seem puzzling to adults and even concerning, and parents often wonder if their child is normal. However, most of the time, there is nothing to worry about and the child is acting in a completely appropriate manner for his or her age group. If you are particularly concerned about a certain behavior that your child is exhibiting, I recommend making an appointment to meet with his or her pediatrician to discuss further. Having said that, two year-olds often put things in their mouths for two main reasons. One, as their baby teeth come in, they become accustomed to this change by practicing chewing and eating motions with objects in their environment. Putting things in their mouths is also a way in which young children explore their surroundings. They can use it to gain information about the world around them and what is dangerous and benign. Because taste has been a way for humans to test the toxic nature of potential food for centuries, toddlers in our day and age also use this technique to gain understanding of the world. It becomes concerning if they choke on these objects or if they do ingest something toxic, in which case you should immediately seek medical attention. It will also be important for you to take non-food objects out of the child's mouth both to prevent harm (as above) and also to teach him or her what is and what is not food. Again, for specific questions regarding your child and his or her behaviors, I recommend making an appointment to speak with his or her pediatrician.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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