Doctors warn hot snacks can be harmful to children

Doctors are warning parents about a popular spicy snack that could result in your child ending up in the emergency room.

Steven Tamayo says he remembers being a kid and munching through hundreds of bags of spicy snacks. Tamayo is one of the many people who enjoy the taste of spicy snacks.

"You would have your hands stained for the rest of the day and everyone knows you have hot snacks for breakfast that morning," said Tamayo. 

He says he now enjoys the snack in moderation. "I know if I personally eat too big of a bag myself I'm going to have some stomach issues," said Tamayo.

Doctor Carla Laos from Saint David's Children's Hospital has treated a number of patients ranging from 3 to 7-years-old and says snacks like these could be doing serious harm to your kid's digestive system.

Doctor Laos has seen children with complaints ranging from burning of the mouth, chest pain, esophagus and sometimes irritation of the stomach. The results of those symptoms can sometimes lead to serious conditions such as gastritis or ulcers. "It can cause irritation from anywhere from the mouth until the food leaves the body. We've seen children with complaints of burning from the mouth chest pain, esophagus sometimes irritation of the stomach," said Dr. Laos. 

Mariah Tinney says she doesn't allow her son to eat the spicy snacks but instead offers a healthier choice. "It is just red fingers and it's all over the face and then their licking fingers that's what it is every day.  For instance we do a lot of celery and vegetable and fruits at our house I think those are always going to be better options."

Frito-Lay, the manufacturer of hot snacks and a number of spicy chip options, says: "At Frito-Lay, we aim to delight our consumers and food safety is always our number one priority. Flamin' Hot Cheetos meet all applicable food safety regulations, as well as our rigorous quality standards. That said, we realize some consumers may be more sensitive to spicy foods than others and may choose to moderate consumption or avoid spicier snacks due to personal preference."

Tomayo admits the spicy snack can be too much of a good thing.

But says there are worse foods that kids can get their hands on. "I mean a whole pack tide pods were the big rage there are worse things out there. But obviously if their bodies aren't responding well to it maybe they should consider cutting out of their diet or at least put it into moderation," said Tomayo.