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Are Marshmallows dangerous?

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive June 2004: Are Marshmallows dangerous?
By Children03 on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 12:25 am:

Have you heard of marshmallows being dangerous for children? A twelve year old girl choking to death on a marshmallow seems impossible. Choking while playing a game at school makes it seem ridiculous. However, recently on Oprah two parents told the sad story of this happening to their daughter. Now the parents are determined to warn as many adults and children as possible of the dangers of playing "Chubby Bunny."

Chubby Bunny is a "game" wherein kids stuff as many marshmallows as possible into their mouths as they say Chubby Bunny. They are not allowed to swallow. The game ends when the child can no longer stuff any more marshmallows into her mouth without gagging or saying Chubby Bunny.

As parents we constantly warn against the dangers of choking on food. "Don't talk with your mouth full. Don't laugh while eating. Don't run with food in your mouth." Who would have thought we needed to warn our children about such a game as Chubby Bunny?

The danger with Chubby Bunny experts (as seen on the show) say is that the marshmallow melts as it warms in the mouth. The melting marshmallow begins to seep down the throat covering the airway until it seals it off and there is no way to extract the marshmallow. Warn your children not to play Chubby Bunny or any game involving food consumption.

By Cocoabutter on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 12:36 am:

It seems like a big *DUH* moment to me, but I would not have been thrilled with the game because it is disgusting. Who wants to encourage kids to cram more food in their mouths than they can eat? AND, who wants to watch them spit out the food after it has been in their mouths for who knows how long?

As it is with our 7-yr-old son, he is more interested in getting done with dinner so he can go back to playing with his friends or his toys, etc. He occasionally stuffs two or three bites in his mouth at one time. Not only is that dangerous, but it's poor table manners as well. AND- he has gagged on his food because he takes too many bites and can't chew and/or swallow the food.

Too bad it takes a death AND an appearance on Oprah to get the message out that the game was stupid, and the adults who "supervised" it lacked the common sense to see potential danger.

By Tink on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 12:53 am:

I remember playing this several times as a child and teen and it was often at church camp or youth group. The idea of choking never occured to me and I never thought about the risks of feeding these to my kids. I don't think any of them had these when they were very young but I don't remember seeing them on any of the list of dangerous foods. How tragic for these parents.

By Children03 on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 06:41 am:

I watched this particular episode on Oprah a few years back and it was awful. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The way the paramedics said there was nothing they could do to get the marshmallow out. I never buy marshmallows for my children because of this story. I know this "Chubby Bunny" game was dangerous in the first place, but the fact that a marshmallow can get hot enough to expand and basically suffocate you is scary enough to keep me from touching one. I ate them as as child and I remember gagging on them sometimes.

By Amecmom on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 08:14 am:

I guess the answer to your question is, no, marshmallows are not dangerous. However, Chubby Bunny can be and should probably be discouraged. I've never heard of the game until today, so I can't really comment on it, except to say that it sounds gross.


By Happynerdmom on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 10:30 am:

One of the problems is that marshmallows get "slimy" when they're wet, and can slide down your throat easily. This is not a problem if you're eating them "normally."

By Melanie on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 10:39 am:

I remember hearing a long time ago they are dangerous because they can expand in your throat making it impossible to dislodge. I have allowed my kids to eat the big marshmallows that they have to bite pieces off of but not the little ones because of that.

By Dana on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 11:03 am:

I never let my daughter have marshmellows when younger. she is allowed the mini type now.

Yes, they are on the list of dangerous foods. They are not just dangerous w/ the game but simple eating habits as well.

I worked w/ Healthy Start for several years which is a program for pregnant moms and new babies. There are many studies showing the concern of children choking on marshmellows.

Also, I believe it may be WIC, they list it as a dangerous food as well. Just like hot dogs are listed. They are just the right size to fit into a tiny throat and get stuck. For safety sake, you are suppose to remove the skin from the hot dog and cut it into quarters before offering them to a child. Grapes, too. Never serve full, always cut in half.

By Mommyathome on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 09:16 pm:

Yes! Marshmallows can be dangerous. I have read many articles about the dangers of marshmallows.
My kids eat them. But, I didn't let them when they were little.

By Cheekymama on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 04:48 am:

Was this an "supervised" classroom game or was it a game the kids were playing on their own, say, at lunch or recess? It doesn't sound like a game a teacher would organize, but I can totally see kids playing something like this on their own.

By Andyjoy on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 12:58 pm:

I've been at multiple youth group events where an adult organized the game of "chubby bunny." I always refused to play and warned everyone of the proven dangers. No one really took the warnings seriously because many teens have that "it won't happen to me" mentality. I think the leaders finally got tired of listening to me say I'd be standing by the phone ready to call 911 if necessary, because after a while they stopped letting teens play this.

Forced-fast-eating games have always bothered me. When I was 19 I was a leader at a youth camp. The director organized a game that involved teens grabbing an item out of a bag and eating it as fast as they could in a relay race. The teen couldn't see the item until it was pulled out. Some of the items were pickles, green olives, baby food carrots, etc. I was horrified. Not only can these pose choking hazards, but most of the teens ended up puking (especially the ones eating baby food). All the other adults seemed to think it was funny. I wonder how many of the teens were horrified too, but didn't admit it for fear of being teased. The camp director and I had a heated argument over this issue afterwards.

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