Baking Soda

Julie Weber Is This A Poison

Toxicity:  Small unintentional ingestions of baking soda may cause minor symptoms only.

Expected symptoms:  Stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea can occur after ingesting larger amounts of baking soda.

What to do:  Wipe out the child’s mouth with a soft, wet cloth and then give some water to drink.

Quick Facts about baking soda:

What should you do if your child ate baking soda? Read along to find out!

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has a wide range of uses both in the home and medical settings.  It is used in refrigerators to reduce odors and is added to baked goods as a leavening agent. While it is not very common anymore, it can be used to help calm an upset stomach (reminder: always follow the instructions on the container). In hospitals, sodium bicarbonate solution is given through an IV to keep the body’s pH in normal range.

Although baking soda is helpful in many ways, too much can be a problem. If a large amount of baking soda is ingested, expect vomiting and diarrhea quickly after the ingestion because it raises the sodium levels in the body. Too much sodium in the body can lead to serious symptoms. In addition, when baking soda reaches the stomach, it reacts with the gastric acid causing a rapid formation of gas which can lead to discomfort. If enough gas is formed, severe effects such as stomach rupture can happen.

For most children, the taste of baking soda is not pleasant, so this may limit the amount ingested. However, it is important to take any ingestion of baking soda by a child seriously. If you find your child eating baking soda, do not panic. Take it away from them and wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth to remove any visible baking soda from the mouth. Give your child some water to drink, and then call the Missouri Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222 for advice. Our expert nurses and pharmacists will review symptoms and offer follow up phone calls to be sure your child is safe. Remember, the poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.

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