As your child grows, he’ll tend to have food from your plate, and you’ll be careful to add variety to his diet. But you need to place good care that not all foods are safe for your child at every age. Some might expose him to a choking hazard.
Foods to avoid: 12 to 24 months
Low-fat milk: Most young children need the fat and calories of the full cream milk to grow up and develop. Once your child turns 2 without any growth problems, you can start giving him lower-fat milk if your child is having some obesity risks.
Choking hazards to watch out for
Large chunks: Large food chunks can get stuck in your baby’s throat. Meat, cheese , and solid vegetables, like carrots, celery, and should be cut into small pieces, or cooked. Cut fruits even the small ones like grapes, cherry tomatoes, and melon balls into quarters before you give to your toddler.
Small, hard foods: Hard candies, nuts, and popcorn can be possible choking hazards.
Soft, sticky foods: Avoid chewing gum and soft foods like marshmallows and jelly or gummy candies that might get stuck in your child’s throat.
Peanut butter: Be careful not to give your toddler large portion of peanut butter or other nut butters, which can be difficult to gulp. Instead, spread nut butter thinly on bread or crackers.
More choking prevention
- Avoid letting your child eat in the car since it’s hard to watch him out while driving.
- If you’re using a rub-on teething medication, keep a close eye on your toddler as it can numb his throat and interfere with swallowing.
Foods to avoid: 24 to 36 months
Choking hazards: Even though your child is becoming a more advanced at eating, there’s still a chance he’ll choke on his food. Continue to avoid the choking hazards listed above, and discourage your child from eating while walking, watching television, or doing anything else that might distract him from his meal.
Foods to avoid: 3 to 5 years
Choking hazards: Your child is a very competent eater now, but you should still be on the lookout for pieces of food that he could choke on. Keep cutting his food into small pieces, especially things like grapes and pieces of hot dog that could completely block his airway if inhaled. Continue to avoid popcorn, whole nuts, hard candies, and chewing gum. And discourage your child from eating when distracted.
The latest on children and allergies
Doctors used to recommend waiting until age 1 or even much later to introduce solid foods that are the most common allergens, especially with kids at risk for allergies. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has changed its tune because studies show that these delays probably don’t help keep allergies from developing.
For toddlers, it’s not necessary to introduce new foods gradually, unless your child is allergic to other foods. If your child already has a known food allergy, it’s still a wise idea to wait several days after each new menu item to make sure your child doesn’t react badly to it. And check with his doctor to determine the best strategy for introducing the top allergenic foods like eggs, milk, peanuts, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.