A Sydney mother has sent a warning to other parents after her five-year-old son was rushed to hospital after eating a popular snack.

Writing in the North Shore Mums group on Facebook, the woman revealed that he young son became seriously ill after eating three packets of fava beans, or broad beans.

“Ever eaten or given your kids fava beans? Just something to be aware of… my 5 year old is currently in hospital and very sick after eating 3 packets of these this week,” she wrote in the post.

“He’s had a pack or so every now and then , but not as much as he did this week.”

At first, the mother thought that he son was experiencing cold symptoms but on Saturday she noticed that he had turned yellow in colour, his urine was dark and he could barely wake up.

“Took him to doctor and they said straight to emergency,” she explained.

Her son was then diagnosed with a G6PD deficiency – the symptoms of which are triggered by consuming certain things like fava beans, causing his body to break down his red blood cells.


The G6PD enzyme is important in protecting the red blood cells and a deficiency of it affects 400 million people worldwide.

The mother took to Facebook to warn other mums of the deficiency and to be aware of the things that can trigger it.

According to Kids Health, G6PD deficiency is mainly triggered in kids by painkillers and fever-lowering drugs and fava beans.

It is a genetic disorder that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme.

“G6PD helps red blood cells work. It also protects them from substances in the blood that could harm them,” KidsHealth says.

“Without enough G6PD to protect them, the red blood cells break apart.”


Some foods, medicines and infections can trigger the symptoms, which include extreme tiredness or dizziness, dark, tea-coloured urine and paleness.

However, not everyone with a G6PD deficiency experiences symptoms.

The mother concluded her post by saying that thankfully her son is now doing okay.

“Our son will be fine but just thought it was something that was useful to know as we certainly had no idea.”

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