Has your child discovered your bottle of Tums®? Don’t worry. While these products may cause mild stomach upset, a one-time dose will not have lasting harm.
Tums is an over-the-counter antacid that contains calcium carbonate. It is sold as a chewable tablet, gummy, or soft chew. There are many different brand name and generic forms. The active ingredient, calcium carbonate, is used to treat acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion by neutralizing stomach acid. Some formulations have an added ingredient simethicone which helps to break up gas bubbles.
Children frequently eat antacids because they like the taste of the tablets or gummies – remember they look like candy to them! Often they will eat as many as time allows before an adult intervenes to stop them. A one-time ingestion of Tums is not usually a problem. There can be minor stomach upset, and maybe diarrhea or constipation.
If you notice that your child has ingested Tums, it is important not to panic. Take the product away from the child and wipe their mouth out with a soft wet cloth. You may give them some water to drink and a snack. Do not try to induce vomiting.
Note: There are many other kinds of antacids. Ingredients can vary and may include aluminum hydroxide, and magnesium hydroxide and calcium carbonate. Antacids are different from medications such as Zantac® (H2-blocker) and Prilosec® (proton pump inhibitor) which also help to reduce stomach acid.
After you have removed your child from the situation, immediately call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Treatment recommendations are often determined by the amount ingested. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions and our team of medical professionals will help to walk you through the next steps.