Should I Count Styrofoam as a Protein?

The good news is that styrofoam is not a toxic material and I do not need to be concerned that Becca took a few bites of it. The bad news is that I walked into the living room this evening to see Becca merrily chewing away on a block of styrofoam.

I am continually amazed at Becca’s ability to zero in on the most dangerous items in any room she enters. It is as if she does a quick scan of the room and quickly determines all of the items that are likely to be off limits. She then crawls as quickly as she can to reach them before they are whisked out of sight. If she should reach the item before I do (which happens more than I would like to admit), she will pause to look me in the eye before she tries to place it in her mouth. She can spot a dime wedged between the floorboard and the wall from about 50 feet and tonight was no exception.
I had placed Becca in our living room/dining room area while I set the table for dinner. I had purposefully surrounded her with toys so she would be happily entertained while I moved in and out of the room. I remember feeling so proud of myself for distracting her and enjoying watching her play (why is it that my most confident mommy moments always seem to end in a crisis?).

I was just finishing up when I noticed that Becca had a HUGE grin on her face and seemed to have something clinging to her face. She then began waving a piece of styrofoam around and started laughing. At this point, a foam of styrofoam bubbles fell out of her mouth. I was stunned!

I quickly grabbed her and started sweeping her mouth for the styrofoam. At first it was difficult to get my finger through her clenched teeth and around the chunks. I was able to do a few finger sweeps and then Mr. O came in and finished the job. For some reason, Becca thought Mr. O sweeping her mouth was hilarious so that made the situation a little easier.

From the looks of it, she had taken a few bites out of the styrofoam and it looked as if we managed to get most of it before she swallowed it. Who knew that there was an upside to her annoying habit of holding food in her mouth for hours?

Ironically, the styrofoam piece was part of the packaging for the baby gate that Mr. O installed. Although he did a great job on the installation, he fell short on the clean up. As a result, the styrofoam piece wasn’t properly disposed of and little miss Becca managed to get her hands on it.

Shortly after her styrofoam appetizer, Becca sat down for dinner and happily ate and swallowed most of it. After dinner, I put in a call to Poison Control just to confirm that styrofoam wasn’t dangerous to digest. The woman assured me that it wasn’t considered a toxic substance.

This reminded me of how important it is to know the number for Poison Control (800-222-1222) as well as the website (
M. Kate



Filed under health, Solids

7 responses to “Should I Count Styrofoam as a Protein?

  1. Donna Restivo-Ging

    I found this article to be very informative…and quite similiar to my situation. Of course my child didn’t find the humor in mom sticking her finger down her throat in order to get as much of the styrofoam out as possible.
    I call my child the human trash compactor. She will chew and eat just about anything. Thank goodness this article was there for information on the styrofoam. I now have the poison control number handy myself. Thanks.

  2. Anthony

    Hmmm. Its a touch distrubing that the woman at poison control said that styrofoam is not a poisonous substance. While its not considered a poisonous substance in its expected form, meening that if used as expected and not put in the microwav or melted and ingested its not toxic. But it most certainly is made of toxic substances that can leeech into your food if its put in the microwav and it also should most certainly not be eaten. Under those circumstances it is toxic, and contains cancer causing carcinogens and chemicals.

    I’m sure your daughter is fine. But the lady while probably inocently misinformed essencially lied to you.

  3. Frank C

    Styrofoam is toxic. The lady at poison control is an idiot. Its as simple as researching the following website:

  4. Damn! I was going to blog about this subject. What caused you to come up with this post?

  5. Bada Bing

    I called the number to inquire about the toxicity of styrofoam. The gentlemen just told me that the information is confidential and he could not tell me!? What a number…

  6. My son just got a hold of styrofoam which was hidden behind a flowerpot. We got it out of his hands before he ate it but it did make me wonder, as I recall being told it was toxic as a child. Thanks for this post!

  7. Nicole Stockwell

    Also. from an incident involving a pet that ingested styrofoam, I was told that the digestive fluids can change the foam and turn it into a very hard substance that can cut the intestinal linings. Not to worry, as your daughter was fine!

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