Cure sought for March girl who eats carpet
A four-year-old girl is literally eating her parents out of house and home due to a rare medical condition that makes her eat carpet underlay and sponge padding from chairs.
Jessica Knight suffers from Pica which causes the sufferer to develop an appetite for non-food substances.
Her mother Kelly first discovered something was wrong with Jessica when she started eating a faux leather child’s chair bought for her when she was two.
Jessica also began eating cement chips from pavements and sand from play areas as well as the filling from her little sister’s rocking horse.
Worried Kelly, 36, warned Jessica that what she was doing could make her ill but as a result the youngster became more secretive about her habit.
She then noticed the carpet in her daughter’s bedroom was loose and found Jessica had eaten half of the sponge underlay.
Kelly, who lives with her two girls and their engineer father Chris Knight, 40, said she has no idea what to do because she claims doctors refuse to help until Jessica is six.
Kelly, of March, said: “I was really shocked when I realised just how much she was eating.
“If you lift up the carpet in her room now you can see there is no underlay left.
“We are at our wits’ end. We try to keep her busy so she doesn’t do it but if we try to stop her she will find a way to do it.
“Doctors always said it wasn’t a problem and it’s taken two years for them to finally listen to me.
“The GP sent Jessica to a paediatrician and we have been referred to two others since – but she hasn’t had any help.
“We have been told that they can’t help her until she is six and has reached the appropriate cognitive development.”
Desperate Kelly now allows Jessica to keep a small purse filled with sponge from her carpet which she eats at certain times, to help them control her intake.
People suffering from Pica frequently crave and eat substances with no nutrition, such as dirt, paint, ice, sand, glue and chalk.
Picky Jessica refuses to eat foods with any sauces and Kelly is limited to giving her plain sausages, cheese strings, rice pudding, bread, Weetabix and fish fingers without bread crumbs.
But because Jessica eats so much dairy she is constantly lacking in iron because it forms a barrier to the mineral in the body.
Jessica has just had blood tests at Doddington Hospital which show she has an iron deficiency.
Kelly will find out this month if Jessica is also autistic – a condition related to Pica – after doctors noticed she had an extremely high IQ.