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Rare condition causes toddler to eat carpet

By Mason White 9:06 AM March 14, 2014
Carpet illustration 

By: Rachel Woronoff
Despite her parent’s desperate attempts, four-year-old Charlotte Cook, can’t stop eating the carpet and sofa material in their home.

Cook of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom, suffers from autism as well as an extreme form of pica. Pica is a rare disorder, related to autism, that causes her abnormal eating habits.

According to Cook’s mother, Nikki, these habits began when the toddler was only a year old. She began consuming a household rug. Once the rug was removed, she simply moved on to the carpets.

“She is digesting a lot of it and she hardly eats any normal food. It’s getting worse,” Nikki said. The family has implemented some creative methods in attempts to stop their child from eating these materials.

“We have tried putting stuff on the carpet, like cherry powder, to try and stop her, but that doesn’t seem to work either,” Nikki said. Pica is a condition that affects adults as well as children, and is most common among small children, children with developmental disabilities and pregnant women.

The condition can affect one in five children, to varying degrees, at some point in their lives.