Help, My Child Ate An Edible!

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
August 15, 2020
Child ate an edible
Child ate an edible

We all know instinctively that kids eating weed is a bad thing. It’s not something we ever do intentionally or encourage.  No parent wants to have to call 911 and say my child ate an edible.  With the increasing loosening of marijuana laws around the country, we need to be sure we pay attention to “adult edibles” the same way we do with teaching our children about adult beverages.

But the risk remains: What should you do if your child eats something containing marijuana? First and foremost, don’t panic. Then learn the issues, take stock, and take action, if necessary.

If Your Child Ate An Edible:

If you believe your youngster ate something containing marijuana you should treat it as you would if he or she ate any other medication. Watch closely for reactions, and call your doctor immediately, or take your child to the emergency room if there are signs of distress of is acting ill.


But in general, stay calm and do not panic. Marijuana does not result in overdoses, and while generally not recommended for children, you should feel a sense of relief that it’s not necessarily a need for panic.


What to do:

  1. Determine the Amount
    Try to determine how much and of what your kid consumed, that will help you determine the amount of THC was ingested.
  2. Timing
    Figure out how long ago it was eaten, and how much, noting that it takes a bit for the full effects to appear, and that it takes about 12 hours to fully wear off.
  3. Monitor
    Watch for any reactions, particularly any breathing trouble or any reactions that are different or out of the ordinary.
  4. Contact
    You can contact poison control or even your doctor for advice and monitoring assistance, to evaluate if your child should be taken in to the doctor, to urgent care, or to the emergency room.
  5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
    Edibles should be treated like other medications, and kept out of the reach of children, but do not beat yourself up and think you’re a horrible parent. Mistakes happen. Kids are resourceful and seem to be drawn to whatever they can get their hands on, just as they do with other things in the house.


Now that we’re past the panic stage, we can learn from this and prepare for this to not happen. There are basic steps you can take to protect your children and other kids from consuming edibles, or other types of cannabis.

  1. Lock it up. Don’t leave your edibles around. Think of them as alcohol-infused candies. They look like the regular kind of treats, and are enticing to small children, but dangerous, and not meant for them. Put it away, out of reach. Stash your stash.
  2. Go Legal. Most legal cannabis providers include their products in carefully sealed and protected containers, typically childproof. Medical marijuana is medication, and should be treated as such, and stored with other prescriptions, out of reach.
  3. Label. Carefully label the containers, especially for oils, as they can be used for cooking or other purposes, so you don’t want them mistakenly used in place of like products.
  4. Make up small batches. If you’re cooking with cannabis, make sure you use small batches that can be single uses, if possible. That way there aren’t left overs in large batches. If there are left overs, you have to put them away with proper labels, because it’s not just the kids who can get at left overs, pets can, too!
  5. Adult Appetizers. If you’re having a get together and there are kids around, treat any infused edibles the way you treat spiked punch or mixed drinks. Make a rule, and make it known, that these are not kid friendly.
  6. Be Open. Don’t hide your consumption from older kids. That’s sneaky, and kids pick up on that. It also creates a forbidden fruit type situation that will increase their interest, and they’ll seek out your stash.

Regardless of the laws in your states, children are susceptible to additional protections and rules. So you not only SHOULD be careful, you MUST be, or you could be legally liable.