A young girl is so addicted to eating harmful objects that she ate an entire lightbulb.
Natalie Hayhurst, 3, is at constant risk of poisoning herself because of a rare condition which gives her cravings for inedible objects.
In February she nearly died after eating a lightbulb that she tore from a bedroom night-light.
While her favorite delicacies are rocks and sticks, Natalie has been known to wolf down almost a whole brick, ‘like it was a chocolate chip cookie’.
Her mother Colleen, 31, says every day is a constant battle of wills as she tries to stop her daughter eating something that could kill her.
Colleen said: ‘She doesn’t try to eat glass so much since it hurt her, but she will try and eat rocks and sticks she finds in the garden.
‘I have had to call this poison helpline so many times that it’s on my speed dial. You name it Natty’s tried to eat it. Once when Natty took a bite out of a house plant at my mothers house and again when she ate a brick.
‘She can eat a brick like a normal person would eat a chocolate chip cookie.
‘She knows these things are bad for her, me and my husband David have discussed how harmful it is with her.
‘But the cravings are too much for a three year old to handle. She will actively seek out this stuff even though she knows not to.’
Natalie has Pica, a condition characterised by an appetite for non-nutritive substances.
Colleen, of Terre Haute, Indiana, revealed the moment her daughter’s disease nearly killed her.
‘I had put Natty to bed and I was in the kitchen doing the washing up,’ she said.
‘Suddenly she walked in and held up a small piece of wire. Her mouth was bleeding and instantly I knew what had happened.
‘Natty had eaten an entire lightbulb – everything but the wire. I was terrified, all I could think of was that glass inside her body and what it was going to do.
‘We rushed to a walk in medical center where they were very concerned about what had happened. The doctor sent us to St Vincent Children’s Hospital to have her treated. When we got there they raced her into surgery to have the glass removed.I was so scared, my husband was at home with my son so I was totally alone. Natty was my first child to have an operation and I was so worried that something would happen to her. But she was OK. She stayed overnight and we were home the following evening.
‘I don’t dare think what could have happened if we’d left her. She could have died.’
Since the accident Natalie is watched around the clock by Colleen, David and brother Andrew, 5.
Colleen, an office manager, said: ‘Some days are better than others.
‘On good days she’ll only try to eat something dangerous once. But on bad days she’ll go for things constantly.
‘I always know when she has something because she’ll turn her back to me.
‘We are all very aware of it now and Andrew is a big help, even though he is only five.
‘My big worry is that one day she’ll eat something poisonous and we won’t be there in time.
‘My husband is wonderful but he has never had to be as vigilant as me because I’m always there.
‘I’m scared that one day I won’t be there. I’m not sure how to deal with it, I never heard of it before Natty was born.’
Crazy! What would you do if your kid had an appetite like that?