Cure for a bitten tongue: an icicle

Brian’s just given us the excuse we’ve been looking for to suck on an icicle!

The other night at dinner my little girl accidentally bit the daylights out of her tongue, and the standard owie-remedies were not cutting it. Impromptu solution: Run out to the porch and snap off an icicle for her to suck on. Yeah, it’s not perfectly sterile, but in the past we’ve had to tell her not to lick the cat or drink her own bathtub water…so how bad could an icicle be?

Related: A better way to ice burned fingers


  1. says

    I’d be more concerned about her getting the idea that it’s ok to touch the icicles and bringing down 200 pounds of ice on top of herself than a few measly germs in the ice itself

  2. LB says

    We use popsicles for bit tongues and hurt lips – a little more sanitary.. (we make our own from fruit juice.) We learned this trick when our daughter was riding on a bouncy playground toy at an amusement park in the middle of summer and accidentally touched her lip to a hot metal part. We took her to the medical tent and they gave her a popsicle to suck on. It made her lip feel better, cooled her down, and was a yummy treat! Best medicine ever!

  3. I suppose your child eats off the floor, also says

    An icicle will contain the runoff from bird droppings, squirrel droppings, dead animals, bugs, decomposed leaves, and other matter unsuited for human consumption. Quit treating your child like a piece of garbage, spend a dollar on a ice tray and use it to freeze orange juice for such situations.

  4. LB says

    Ok I’m sorry but that’s a little harsh. A piece of garbage? We all ate icicles when we were kids, I don’t think my parents treated me like garbage. Jeez.

  5. says

    I don’t live near icicles, but can’t guarantee that I wouldn’t have given it a try.

    I keep a small bag of frozen fruits in my freezer for these occasions. When my son hurts his mouth, I grab a fruit and pop it into a Munchkin feeder for him to suck on and eventually chew up if he wants. I also keep that feeder in my diaper bag, and it’s come in quite handy; most recently at the airport when my son fell and hit his mouth. I went to a restaurant, begged off a couple of small cubes of ice and handed him the feeder. Works like a charm everytime.

  6. says

    To “I suppose…”,

    If that’s performance art, you’re awesome.

    If it’s not a joke…uh, so if liquid that runs off the roof contains all of those awful evil POISON things, what is ending up on the lawn, pray tell? You know, the lawn that the kids are supposed to be playing on?

    Quick, get those kids off your lawn! Enbubble them before they ever touch a bug!

  7. says

    Aside from the nastiness of sucking on what is essentially frozen runoff rain, I would find it so much easier to go get an ice cube from the freezer. Having to go out and break off an icicle would be a PITA. Popsicles and ice would be MUCH more convenient.

  8. Jean says

    Ew, gross!
    Unless you have food-safe shingles?

    I don’t eat off of asphalt that *hasn’t*
    been pooped on…
    I don’t even want to think about the stuff
    collected in the gutters… No amount of rain
    or snow can wash that off.
    And then there’s the old lead paint.

    As a child, my parents let us ride with no carseats
    or seatbelts, go weeks without bathing or brushing
    our teeth, and play with spilled mercury from
    “broken” thermometers… Thank god for progress.
    mercury from “broken” thermometers,

  9. Sarah says

    Jeeze, people, take it down a notch!
    “Quit treating your child like a piece of garbage”.
    Is that really necessary??
    Think about the feelings of the poster, who was just trying to help others. You probably discouraged him from ever writing in again. If you don’t agree, don’t take the advice, no one is forcing you.

  10. Zed says

    Icicles are super yummy, if you ask me. Especially the ones that hang off the branches and leaves of the plants.

  11. Zed says

    Zed again.
    I should explain that those ones are particularly yummy because they are really thin, and that’s the way I like ‘em. I wasn’t trying to suggest that the plant flavors the icicle.

  12. Julie says

    Another vote for popsicles. An added bonus, if you use red ones, your kid won’t be freaked out by the sight of their blood.

  13. says

    I’m more worried about the asphalt shingle (especially old ones that are degrading) than the bacteria – though I ate my fair share of roof-hanging icicles as a kid. It was standard practice in Colorado – knock them down with snowballs, eat them.

    My kids eat garden dirt, too. Not encouraged (specifically) to do so, but … you know, there’s huge amounts of dead bug in garden dirt, probably way more than in a roof-cicle. The hygiene issue is not the big deal, to me – we’ve got allergies in the family, my kids were outright encouraged by the allergist to get grubby and *not* worry about it getting in their mouths (train the immune system to fight germs, not pollen!). They actually asked me if my kids ever ate dirt – and wanted to hear me say YES.

    Still, I prefer the plant-hanging icicles for the lack of petrochemical aftertaste (okay, ingestion at all). Plus they’re smaller, and less likely to make a puddle in some unexpected place when they melt (if you didn’t get it away from them first).

    ice cubes work, but are hard to hold onto, plus seem like a choking hazard. I’ve had those wrapped in a paper-towel for mouth injuries, but the bloody marks on the towel might freak some kids out (I thought it was fascinating unless there was a lot).

    We don’t have popsicles (dietary issue – no fructose-heavy foods, try finding ones that fit our diet – and making them has so far been so-so). So… yeah, I’d probably have reached for an icicle. (I can remember the taste of tar in the house-cicles as a kid… and the taste of car exhaust/pollution in the first snowfall’s snowballs, too. Bleah.)

    Next time, reach for a plant-cicle. They’re not as big, but they’re probably better than the garden dirt for safety (no lead risk, either). Just consider the plant (Lessee… maple and birch are reasonably non-toxic, spruce tips are made into syrup and jam so they’re probably safe, I’d skip holly and anything with berries…)

  14. Katherine says

    What a great hack. Ikea has ice cube trays with long thin grooves that would make good “icicles”, for those of us in warmer climates. My nephew liked them when he was cutting molars.

    And I wish I could convince myself that “I suppose…” was performance art. Comments like that take a lot of joy out of parenting. Parents of young children already suffer higher rates of depression and anxiety than other adults, and being told you’re “treating your child like a piece of garbage” is like a kick in the stomach to someone who’s already anxious about how they’re parenting. Give the holier-than-thou business a rest.

  15. Amy says

    Ohhh, Julie is brilliant! Red popsicle = ice for injury + blood disguise! This is why I love this site – one good idea leads to more good ideas.

  16. Keith says

    Try this: Fill a clear glass jar with some of the whitest snow you can find. Bring it inside and take a look at it after it has melted. Disgusting.

    Now would you drink it?

  17. Nancy says

    Heh, this thread is one of the main reasons I love this site – the holier-than-though attitudes toward what’s usually a decent idea. I think it’s a great idea, and yeah, we ate icicles and snow as kids all the time. The only rule was stay away from the yellow snow!

    Germ-phobic parents are one reason antibiotics are less effective these days. Expose those immune systems, people!

  18. Beth says

    The poster said that the “standard owie remedies were not cutting it.” Popsicles, cool drinks, frozen foods, and ice are fairly standard owie remedies for sore mouths. This mom showed creativity in a moment when her child was in pain. Part of the reason the icicle worked was probably because of the NOVELTY of it, the child was distracted a little from her pain. This would suggest sucking icicles is not a regular occurance in this household. Therefore, I think we can all take a deep breath and relax a little bit about the possible exposure to toxins/bacteria/whatever.

    And, a mother who is trying to alleviate the pain of her beloved, injured child is NOT treating that child like garbage.

    Thanks for the tip, original poster. I hope you can disregard the more judgemental comments. You’re doing a great job.

  19. Beth says

    Oops – just realized this tip came from the dad, not the mom. Sorry that I assumed it was the other way around in my comment.

  20. says

    Well, now I’m hurt.

    I had no idea those lovely icicles hanging off the roof were sinister death-spikes harboring the plague, Ebola, leprosy, scurvy, hemopoopalitis AND cooties. Not to mention the ever-present impalement danger.

    As I alluded to in my submission as noted at the top, my kids are typical. Typically filthy, that is. They see the cat licking itself clean, they want to help out. And so forth.

    In addition to the evil evil toxic icicles, my kids also enjoy the heck out of maple syrup on snow – or as you germophobic posters might put it, viral vichysoisse with growth medium drizzled on top.

    Bon appetit!

  21. catmom says

    It might be helpful to remember where generations upon generations of people got and used ice before the freezer was invented. Communities would get together to chop it off the surface of a pond or lake, then store it in underground caves. True, I don’t know if anyone directly ingested this ice, or if it was just used to preserve other food. But pretty much anything that has ever been outdoors and remains unboiled would share in the “contamination” that comes from being part of exposed, excreting, decomposing nature.

  22. monera says

    Keith and all those worried about germs you should watch Survior Man, he drinks his own pee, and some really foul looking water, all the time. At one point he was boiling water in a water bottle and it melted in the process and the water was still tan, and he lived. I think he was in the amazon, think of the germs in a place as gross and yucky as the Amazon—-anaconda poo, malaria.

    I do let my child eat off the floor, hello 5 second rule.

  23. says

    Brian, you have some style, man.

    For the good, the bad, the scary, the uplifting, and the astonishing on eating dirt and other outside stuff that we’re TOLD not to eat:

    Favorite quotes from this:

    “The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that children in the United States consume, on average, 200–800 mg of dirt per day.”

    and (for the more profound statement):

    “Early infection of children with some mycobacteria may promote strong immune systems, a normal sense of self, and a normal defense of that self. Mycobacteria are found in large numbers in dirt. And animals (probably including humans) kept from this dirt may lose the ability to recognize certain dangerous organisms as a threat, lose the ability to discriminate between self and not self, and lose the ability to distinguish the fatal from the innocuous.”

    That’s microbiology poetry, that.

  24. Jass says

    This is a great idea! I do like the idea of getting them off of plants too. The petrochemicals from the roof tiles concern me more than any hidden germs. In a way, I feel sorry for the kids of “I suppose.” Think of the experiences they may miss (when she’s watching anyway!), and the immune systems that are weakened from disuse, and probably exposure to an excess of cleaning chemicals on every surface of the house to kill those nasties! Not to mention growing up afraid of everything icky. Now, I know we all do the best we can, and hopefully she meant well.

    And yes, my kids DO eat off the floor. I know my son needs a snack when he goes foraging under the high chair for dropped Cheerios! (And I know I’m not the only one!) It DOES gross me out when my daughter tries to pick up dropped food at a restaurant. Those are other people’s germs, and other damp foods may already be hiding under the table that she might like to try. Now that’s yucky! However, she has succeeded at this a time or two, before I could stop her. I corrected her, but didn’t feak out. She never got sick from it.
    Our bodies are made to coexist with millions of “germs,” many of which we actually need. They are also made to fight off the germs that aren’t good, and just like with your muscles, the more they’re used the stronger they get!

  25. seriously says

    seriously, i can’t believe that people are getting in such an uproar about icicles. i ate icicles as a kid, and guess what?! i turned out perfectly fine. it’s not like they’re going out and eating truck loads full of them, one every once in awhile. if your child is busting their lip more than every once in awhile, then perhaps their are greater issues at play than a few roof germs.