Why Do Kids Eat Glue: Decoding the Behavior

Why Kids eat Glue? Kid eating glue

Recently, I was visiting my sister, and out of nowhere, my nephew had just started eating glue. He’s been doing that for a while. I began thinking, Why do kids eat glue? This may also be a question on your mind. Here are some reasons why he or she might be doing so.


Eating glue is their way of defiance. It’s not uncommon for children to act out in defiance, and most likely, this is the same reason they are eating glue. The child may feel like the cool thing to do is to eat glue, or it could be something else in their life that has upset them, and they have acted out by eating glue.

Attention Seeking

The other reason is for attention. Babies and toddlers crave the spotlight. Therefore, they get jealous when they have younger siblings and have to share their attention. For attention, children will do strange things, such as eating glue.


As their discovery of the world is usually through their senses, when a child comes across something intriguing, he or she usually puts it in their mouth to see what it tastes like.

Additionally, Kids use white glue for most activities, and when you dip a stick into it, the glue spirals in and out of the tube. The texture of a glue stick looks very much like a cheese stick, so why wouldn’t a kid eat it?


Pica is an eating disorder where people chew or swallow un food objects. The word pica comes from the Latin word Picus which means magpie, a bird that eats anything. Pica can happen in children and adults, but it’s most common among children aged 2 to 4. It’s one of the most common pediatric eating disorders.

Difference Between Pica and Normal Childhood Eating Habits

Pica is different from curiosity, which is children’s natural curiosity about their environment. If a baby consumes a significant number of items that are not considered edible regularly, then that person is more at risk for developing stomach pains, intestinal infections and blockages, lead poisoning, and other serious health problems.

Children (or adults) with Pica may crave these non-food items;

  • Paint chips
  • White Paste
  • Chalk
  • Glue
  • Super glue
  • Clay
  • Fingernails
  • Paint
  • Hair
  • Dirt
  • Rocks
  • Paper
  • Poop
  • Ice

Pica Cure

Thus, pica in kids can be easily avoided if the potentially hazardous substances are out of the way, so parents can keep their kids healthy and safe.

If a child has pica symptoms due to malnutrition, doctors can diagnose the deficiency of vitamins and prescribe nutritional supplements.

If a child eats non-food items because of high stress, a psychologist will study the nature of their distress, which can be derived from a mental illness such as OCD or schizophrenia.

Signs of Malnutrition

Several health practitioners believe Pica may be a sign of malnutrition or anemia, which the body is trying to correct. It may also be caused or aggravated by the following:

  • Issues related to mental health
  • Challenges in development
  • Anxiety

If that is the case, you should seek medical advice from a professional

Steps to Stop Your Child From Eating Glue

Your child may be bored or defiant, so if you want to make your child stop eating glue, try these other tips if you haven’t noticed any other signs of pica.

Give Your Child Attention

It can be tempting to neglect our children when busy with work and other commitments. But a lack of attention can lead to unwanted behaviors, such as eating glue. When you give your child attention, they feel important and appreciated and are less likely to engage in negative behaviors. The easiest way to show them how much you care is by spending time with them daily. Ensure you’re giving them quality time, not just checking off items on a list.

Strict Monitoring

It is important to closely monitor your child using glue to prevent them from eating it. Moreover, if you catch them eating glue, you can gently reprimand them and reinforce the idea that it’s unhealthy. It’s important to consider a healthy alternative to eating glue, such as an apple or crackers.

If your child is at school, discuss the problem with their teacher so that they will keep an eye out for your child since you can’t be there.

Change the Glue Brand

We know it can be scary when your baby starts eating things that are not edible, but there are ways to prevent it. If you think your child might be eating glue, try changing the brand of glue you’re using. Glue is a two-part mixture; some brands have more attractive substances to children than others.

Implement Child Discipline Techniques

If a child eats glue because of defiance, it may be necessary to reprimand him. Actions you can take are time out, loss of privileges, etc., on occasion. When children behave a certain way, it’s not always necessary to speak sharply to get their attention.

Remove or Lock-up Glue

To stop your children from wanting to play with the glue and spoiling your paper, you should put it in an area out of their reach. That way, even if the child wants to play with it, he or she won’t be able to find it.

Talk to The School Teachers

Many grade schools require glue, but if your child eats glue, make sure your child’s teacher is on board with curtailing the behavior.

Get To The Root Cause of The Behavior

The cause of pica can vary. It could be due to a mineral deficiency, or the child might like the taste. Determine what’s driving your child to eat glue and solve the root cause.

Take Your Child to See a Child Psychologist

Knowing what happens when a child starts eating glue or other substances is difficult. It could be a lack of stimulation, food allergies, or even the child being bored. One thing you can try is taking your child to see a child psychologist and getting them assessed.

Tips For Safe Handling Of Glue With Kids Around

  • For best results, switch glue brands and opt for nontoxic glue
  • Keep glue out of reach when not in use
  • Children should only be exposed to non-toxic children’s glue
  • Stay away from glittery, fruity adhesives that may attract children
  • Put glue sticks on your desk if your child prefers eating the liquid form of glue, and vice versa
  • Ensure you are always supervising kids using any glue, including when they use glue to paste

FAQs on Kids Eating Glue

Is Eating Glue Dangerous?

Most glues like Elmer’s or pastes with similar formulas are non-toxic, depending on whether a child consumes or tastes it.

When consumed in large amounts, Elmer’s glue paste or sticks can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Eating a lot of the adhesive has also been shown to cause dehydration, malnutrition, headaches, and dizziness.

The really dangerous thing is that your child might consume a strong industrial adhesive, like Superglue. This can be extremely damaging to health.

Can you Describe The Taste of Glue?

Most prior glue eaters describe it as vanilla ice cream; plain glue sticks are bland, but it’s highly advisable not to eat glue or taste it.

How Can I Satisfy My Child’s Pica Cravings?

Pica requires professional help rather than simply satisfying your child’s cravings. However, you can supplement your child’s treatment by providing healthy snacks throughout the day.

Encourage them to eat, but don’t force them. Model healthy eating so they can learn from you. Be sure to contact your baby’s doctor if your child has pica. This is not medical advice.

What Happens If you Swallow a Little Bit of Superglue?

Swallowing fresh superglue can cause serious problems. It can block the gastrointestinal tract, causing stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. Taking large amounts can cause a severe blockage of your mouth and throat, which can cause asphyxiation and death.

Can Children Use PVA Glue?

Children under three should not use PVA glue.

Is PVA Glue Poisonous if Ingested?

PVA glue is poisonous if ingested. If your child has been eating glue, seek medical attention immediately. A doctor or poison control center can determine your child’s best course of treatment. In some cases, a stomach pump may be necessary to remove the ingested glue from the body.

Ultimately, it is important to understand that eating glue is a serious health risk and should be avoided at all costs. If you have concerns about your child’s health after eating glue, seek medical help immediately.

What are Some Glue Products That are Safe for Toddlers?

Toxic ingredients commonly found in glue include ethanol, toluene, acetone, and more. Taking these substances could make it more difficult to breathe, give you nausea, lead to feelings of anxiety, or cause you to seize up.

You should always ensure that your child’s glue is non-toxic. Elmer’s School Glue and most glue sticks for children are generally safe. Check out Ukkie, Tesa, Onyx, and Green glues for those who want to go further. These brands make safe glue for kids.

What is The Purpose of My Child Eating Glue?

The behavior is especially prevalent among children whose parents are occupied with their siblings. Kids who do this would rather eat glue to grab their parents’ attention and regain the upper hand. Children eating glue has become very common today, causing almost every mother to feel disturbed and tense.

What are The Dangers of Consuming Glue?

An excessive amount of glue swallowed may obstruct the gastrointestinal tract (from the stomach to the intestines), resulting in nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. However, if a child consumes toxic glue, That can be dangerous. You should immediately contact poison control if your child consumes industrial or toxic glue.

Wrap Up

If your child ate glue, that would scare the crap out of you, which is natural since you care so much about your child. Hey, it’s not a failure; they love exploring and driving us crazy.

More than likely, it is not as bad as you might feel. Consider the issue from different points of view. Some kids like to eat glue, and it’s not that big of a deal. So long as you pay attention and try your hardest, this problem can easily be fixed.