Boy Dies After Eating Cinnamon: Experts Explain Why The Common Household Spice Can Be So Deadly

A 4-year-old boy died after accidentally swallowing cinnamon powder, a tragic death that is drawing attention to the dangers of the common household spice.

Kentucky resident Brianna Radar said her son Matthew was exploring in the family kitchen when he found powdered cinnamon and tried to eat it. Shortly afterward, he began to choke, Brianna said.

“He started choking, it was like he was having a seizure and just collapsed,” his mother told LEX18.

The boy was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later, with a coroner saying the was asphyxiated by the cinnamon he inhaled.

The boy’s death after eating cinnamon is drawing more attention to the dangers of the common spice. Many teenagers have participated in an online trend called the “Cinnamon Challenge,” where they attempt to eat large spoonfuls of the spice, which is nearly impossible.

Experts say the nature of cinnamon makes it very dangerous — and potentially deadly — to attempt eating it in large quantities. A 2013 report from Pediatrics found that in the span of a year, 30 teens needed medical attention after attempting the “Cinnamon Challenge.”

The incidents sparked many experts to speak out, explaining that cinnamon has the potential to cause scarring on the lungs and even cut off airways.

The Huffington Post explained how YouTube is contributing to the problem.

“Thousands of YouTube videos depict kids attempting the challenge, resulting in an “orange burst of dragon breath” spewing out of their mouths and sometimes hysterical laughter from friends watching the stunt, said report co-author Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, a pediatrics professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“Cinnamon is made from tree bark and contains cellulose fibers that don’t easily break down. Animal research suggests that when cinnamon gets into the lungs, it can cause scarring, Lipshultz said.”

Many of the participants who suffered jarring experiences have turned into critics of the “Cinnamon Challenge.” One teen even started a website called No Cinnamon Challenge encouraging others to stay away from the trend.

“I was laughing very hard and I coughed it out and I inhaled it into my lungs,” said Dejah Reed. “I couldn’t breathe.”

After the boy died from eating cinnamon, his mother has also tried to warn others about the dangerous of the spice.

“To let people know cinnamon can kill,” she told LEX18 about the greater message behind her son’s death. “All these kids to the cinnamon challenge. They don’t think about the fact it can hurt them.”

The boy who died eating cinnamon will help others in another way, his mother said. She decided to donate Matthew’s organs.

[Image via GoFundMe]