Skip to comments.Snow eating now endangered kid pleasure
Posted on 03/04/2008 1:53:50 PM PST by NormsRevenge
PITTSBURGH - To the list of simple childhood pleasures whose safety has been questioned, add this: eating snow. A recent study found that snow even in relatively pristine spots like Montana and the Yukon contains large amounts of bacteria.
Parents who warn their kids not to eat dirty snow (especially the yellow variety) are left wondering whether to stop them from tasting the new-fallen stuff, too, because of Pseudomonas syringae, bacteria that can cause diseases in bean and tomato plants.
But experts say there's no need to banish snow-eating along with dodgeball, unchaperoned trick-or-treating and riding a bike without a helmet.
"It's a very ubiquitous bacteria that's everywhere," says Dr. Penelope Dennehy, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee on infectious diseases. "Basically, none of the food we eat is sterile. We eat bacteria all the time."
Children practically bathe in bacteria when they go to the playground, and Dennehy says they won't get anything from snow that they wouldn't get from dirt.
"We eat stuff that's covered with bacteria all the time, and for the most part it's killed in the stomach," says Dr. Joel Forman, a member of the pediatric academy's committee on environmental health. "Your stomach is a fantastic barrier against invasive bacteria because it's a very acidic environment."
There are exceptions. "Tiny kids on formula a lot of times don't have the acid in their stomachs," making them more vulnerable to bacteria in general, says Dr. Lynnette Mazur, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical School. Also, Forman and Mazur say that Pseudomonas can be a threat to people with cystic fibrosis.
The study, published last week in the journal Science, didn't examine the effects on people. And "I can say that I'm not aware of any clinical reports of children becoming ill from eating snow. And I looked," Forman says.
In any case, because of ordinary air pollution in snow, it's probably wise not to eat a lot of the stuff, pediatricians say. For parents in search of guidance, Mazur offers this: Licking a little snow off a glove is probably OK. "A meal of snow" is not.
Some parents say they are not going to worry about their kids eating snow that looks clean.
"My snow-eating concerns are generally more of the dirt-urine variety," says Kristin Lang, 37, of Maplewood, N.J., whose 2-year-old son Charlie has swallowed his share of snow.
"When I heard bacteria, at first I went 'eew,'" says Tricia Sweeney, a mother of three in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. But as long as the kids eat snow as it's falling, "I think it's OK. I tell them not to eat it if it's on the ground."
This is old news. Been known for many, many decades. Sheesh.
Watch out where the Huskies go, don’t you eat that yellow snow.
Huskies + yellow snow = ick.
“Basically, none of the food we eat is sterile. We eat bacteria all the time.”
slow news day. ;-) bon appetit
Oh my gosh you mean there’s BACTERIA all around us?!?!?!?
what about watermelon snow?
This may be one of those areas where knowledge is a dangerous thing, or what you don’t know can’t hurt you. My mother spent a bazillion hours admonishing us on the downside of eating snow. It didn’t take. I, and nearly everyone of my childhood buddies, ate snow by the barrel. I don’t think I EVER heard of anyone getting sick from it.
OT but, My dog loves to eat fresh snow... he must like the sensation of the cold?
The saddest change is that kids can't just walk outside and play anymore because of all the sick and twisted b@stards out there.
When I was a child I pushed off the blackened, polluted snow on top so that I could get to the good, tasty white snow underneath. Somehow I've made it to the ripe age of 39.
There's some speculation that the reason kids are allergic to everything under the sun these days is because their parents are trying to raise them in a "bacteria-free" lifestyle and their bodies aren't building up immunities the way they should.
Quick - lock your kids in a padded room until they turn 21!!
Don't pee on electric fences in any kind of weather.
It was The Moops.
used to be for fear of nuke test fall-out that folks might have been advised to be more cautious,, these days, maybe it’s crud from china and india,, the old adages still apply .. and nope, never got sick here either..
My big dog likes ice cubes. He thinks they’re treats because they come out of the freezer! I also freeze his treats, sometimes, because he gets to chew more and he likes that.
Dogs eat snow. Rabbits eat snow. Moose eat snow. Birds eat snow. That’s not all they eat, especially the dogs—you don’t want to know.
What? No fallout worries anymore as of 50 years ago?
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