Family's wish for 'safe haven' for toddler with dangerous eating disorder

  • Video report by Matthew Taylor

A family from Carlisle are trying to raise money to create a 'safe haven' for their toddler, who has a dangerous eating disorder.

Three-year-old Tommy Warnock has a condition called pica, which means he craves things that he shouldn't eat - like grass, soil and wood.

The family experienced first-hand the dangers of the condition when Tommy almost choked to death after trying to eat a pound coin.

They are hoping to transform their garden at home into a safe area, as their current yard is too dangerous for him to play in.

His dad, Ryan, told ITV Border: "You can't not watch him. You have to be with him 24/7.

Tommy's Grandad's garden (right) is much safer for him to play in, with no soil and artificial grass. Credit: ITV News

"He'll go from one thing to the next and before you know it he can be up on the side and tip the sugar pot over, or he'll be in the fridge, or he'll be up the stairs running himself a bath.

"You don't get two minutes to yourself, you're running all over after him. So at least if we get the garden done for him he can come outside and we'll know he's safe."

His grandad, Geoff, has transformed his own back garden into something much safer, with artificial grass and composite decking. 

He said: "If he's out playing you can see it on his face. He'll come to the garden through the back gates and he won't go in the house he'll run straight into the garden whatever weather."

The family are trying to raise £5,000 to transform Tommy's garden into a safer outdoor space for him to enjoy.

He is unlikely to grow out of the condition, so they hope that a new garden will give him the chance of having some normal playtime in safety for the rest of his childhood.