Generally, babies, particularly newborns, have a tendency to eat or munch anything they get their hands on. This can be very hazardous or sometimes fatal if the matter is toxic.

Can someone give me some practical advice on how to prevent toddlers or newborns from putting anything near to their mouths?

  • 1
    If you can figure out a sure-fire way to stop babies and toddlers from eating things they should not make sure you patent or trademark it, you will be wildly rich selling it. My child is 2 now and still puts just about everything in his mouth. Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 18:19
  • 2
    If your toddler can reach toxic materials then you're committing gross negligence. It's not that hard to keep e.g. cleaning liquids out of their reach. Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 18:43
  • 2
    As my pediatrician put it: "Have you ever had a puppy that chews on everything? It's kind of like that. Your son is that puppy. Eventually he'll grow out of it." Until then I just have to use the eyes on the back of my head. Silly me thought that a mouthful of dirt was its own punishment!
    – afrazier
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 22:59
  • Are you concerned about things in your own home? Then Torben's comment is right on! If it is while you are out and about, afrazier is almost there. The last piece of the puzzle is to make sure there are safe things TO chew on available to replace an item you have taken away. Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 1:42
  • Both my sons (4,7) still have to be told not to put stuff (remote controls, Lego(!)) in their mouths. But not that often anymore.
    – SQB
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 18:30

5 Answers 5


You can't really prevent them from putting those things in their mouth. More than that: preventing them such thing is like preventing eyesight from adults, as at this stage the baby "feels" the world through touch and taste more than by eyesight.

The obvious solution to protect them from harm is to always make sure there isn't anything harmful around them and always keep watch and snatch anything harmful if it somehow find its way to their hand.

My two cents from own experience is to always put something safe and familiar in their reach: pacifier, favorite toy etc. Then put new things, not harmful of course, let them take it and constantly explain to them "No, this thing should not be in your mouth" for those other things. At some point they'll start to understand.

  • 1
    It should also be noted, that we don't live in the pristine organic world that our ancient ancestors did. Children now can be exposed to synthetic toxins, which simply didn't exist throughout all of the rest of human history. Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 3:52

Make sure there's nothing dangerous that they can reach and put in their mouth. Other than that, don't worry about it. In fact, there is growing evidence that "eating dirt" is good for kids as it teaches their immune systems what is out there. Farm kids are also known to have a greater number of "helpful bacteria" in their systems than city kids due to a greater exposure to things.

The middle of 5 children once asked her mother how her parenting had changed from child to child. Her mother replied, "When your oldest sister swallowed a dime, I rushed her to the emergency room. When your youngest brother swallowed a nickel, I told him it was coming out of his allowance."

  • I don't think you can say generally that eating dirt is good for kids. It depends entirely on what's in the dirt. If for example, a person lives on old re-zoned industrial land, which is very common, then that dirt could contain extremely harmful toxins. Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 3:48

Shadow Wizard gives good advice. I will add tho that, more generically, you have every opportunity to control their world. You can make it small with baby gates, and filter the stuff that's in that area.

If you gate off the living room (which is usually the simplest) just make sure you don't leave normally adult things laying around... like drinks. oh yes, they'll get it. Remote, magazines, dvd cases, cigarette packs, shoes, pets, they're going to stick it all in their mouths. as long as you filtered it well, you can be reasonably certain they're not going to do any damage while not having to be horribly restrictive.

Oh btw... go get a cheap, colorful, universal remote from target. leave the batteries out and give it to them. It won't take long for them to know which is theirs.


I know this probably isn't the answer you are looking for, and perhaps I should even be asking the same question. My first 2 had no mouthing issues but my current baby puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. The best way I have found to prevent this is the good old pacifier. I see her sticking something else in her mouth and I replace it with something I am more comfortable with her having there.


One extremely common household item that toddlers can easily be exposed to, is batteries.

Make very certain that there are no accessible button cell batteries anywhere in reach. You really cannot be too cautious in that regard.

They're something that's ubiquitous in modern households, and potentially lethal for a toddler.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .