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."
My kids - age 21 and 15 - have never ever eaten snow.
Of course we live in south Texas. They’ve only seen snow once in their life.
Nanny Staters are relentless in their quest to be sure that NO ONE, ANYWHERE has ANY FUN at ALL.
Here’s to them someday experiencing a snowflake on their tongue tip .. or two, nothing like a good snow flurry to get a good taste. ;-)
Sick and twisted b@stards have always existed. I have yet to see any conclusive evidence that there are more of them around, as a percentage of the population, than in past decades or centuries.
Maybe they’re just more noticeable then, ‘cause I agree with Pietro.
My kids LOVE yellow snow! You start with a nice cup of fresh snow and add a big splash of Margarita mix. It’s great. (Although people do give you some strange looks...)
I once read that part of the reason why kids today have so many allergies is because we no longer have them outside for so much of the day.
In the olden days they were in the fields with their mothers. More recently, they’d be outside playing at recess and getting dirty.
You’re at greater risk of being whapped upside the head with a lead-filled snowshoe than getting sick by eating snow.
According to today’s regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s or even the early 80’s, probably shouldn’t have survived.
Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.
We had no childproof lids or locks on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets.
Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose
and not from a bottle. Horrors!
We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable!
We did not have Play stations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms. We had friends! We went outside and found them.
We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt. We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?
We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out any eyes.
We rod e bikes or walked to a friend’s home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment.
Some students weren’t as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Horrors!
Tests were not adjusted for any reason.
Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.
The idea of parents bailing us out if we got in trouble in school or broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the school or the law. Imagine that!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors, ever.
We had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility — and we learned how to deal with it.
Ah, yes, but remember . . . this is an election year!
My dog thinks rabbit poop is fine dining, better than Scobby Snacks.
It’s a mother’s job to tell a kid not to do something, and the kid’s job to go ahead and do it anyway.
I was a kid in the fifties. My mom would fix snow with sugar, milk and vanilla. Delicious. But being from a large family we didn’t get a whole lot of treats.
That’s the reason we go for walks daily. The rabbits are murdering the shrubs but the dog says that is grade A poop. Ignores moose poop.
What if it’s Jesse Jackson’s name in the snow but it’s Hillary’s handwriting?
Maple sap, boiled down but still hot liquid. That’s what we got once in a while. Once in a blue moon.
And I’ll bet you ate snow too.