WARNING: Graphic images
Parents are being warned to be aware of the dangers of sour lollies, after a young child suffered horrific burns to their tongue from eating the treats.
Safety and first aid service CPR Kids shared the shocking image of the child’s injuries, which showed layers of their tongue burned off from the lolly’s high acidity.
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It is not known which brand of lolly the child consumed, but Warheads and TNT are among those popular for satisfying a sour fix in Australia.
“Sour candy packaging often stipulates that children under four shouldn’t eat the sweets and that consuming multiple lollies quickly can cause ‘temporary irritation to sensitive tongues and mouths’,” CPR Kids said.
“We understand that the labels come with warnings, but dentists say the lollies should be avoided altogether due to the acidic coating (regardless of age).”
Australian Dental Association’s Jonathan Teoh echoed this, saying the lollies can be “very dangerous” due to the high level of acid or PH that can cause chemical burns.
Screaming in pain
Chemical burns from sour lollies are not unheard of.
Melbourne mother Kristy Wright shared her daughter’s painful experience last year after little Willow snuck into her brother’s sour lollies and was met with a nasty surprise.
The four-year-old ate around 10 Warhead lollies when she started to feel a searing pain.
“She came to me screaming ‘my tongue is so sore’,” the four-year-old’s mum told Tiny Hearts Education.
“They had burnt her tongue, she was beside herself.”
The little girl suffered a chemical reaction and was left with a large hole on her tongue where the skin peeled off.
“I was so worried,” Wright said.
What damage can sour lollies cause?
Consumer advocacy group Choice found that 20 sour lolly brands available in Australia could increase the risk of irreversible tooth decay when consumed.
The oral damage is likely to be temporary, but dental issues could pose a bigger problem, it said.
“Symptoms like bleeding, ulcers and layers of skin peeling away are very unpleasant … but the symptoms tend not to be permanent and the soft tissues of the mouth will usually repair without much problem,” the report stated.
“The more insidious issue with sour lollies is their increased potential for irreversibly damaging teeth.”
Dentists encourage limiting young children’s intake of damaging sweets as the best way to preserve their oral health.
“While a lack of nutrition plays a large role in their damaging properties, what makes these candies far worse than others is their high levels of acidity,” Pediatric Dental Group in Hawaii said.
The high acidity of sour candies erodes enamel and interferes with the mouth’s natural strengthening process, the PDA warned.
Are sour lollies safe for kids?
Impact Confections, the US-based manufacturer of Warheads, says the issue of whether tastebuds are able to handle sour candy varies between individuals, but said it did not recommend the sour lollies for children younger than four due to choking hazards.
“Some people’s mouths are more sensitive to acids in food (pineapple, citrus) as well as to sour candy,” it says.
The sour lollies come with a warning on each package that “eating multiple pieces within a short time period may cause a temporary irritation to sensitive tongues and mouths”.
The products include ascorbic, citric, lactic and malic acids but “meet all US Federal guidelines for PH levels and ingredients”, Impact Confections stated, adding “when eaten normally, consumers enjoy them with no issues”.
“If your mouth experiences any irritation, sour candy is probably too extreme for your tongue.”
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