Food Safety For Infants

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Seeing your child choking on a piece of hotdog, carrot or anything else for that matter is a very stressful experience for any parent. Here’s a few tip on how to avoid child choking. The subject of food safety also includes how we prepare food for specific groups who may encounter problems swallowing the food correctly if it’s presented to them in the wrong way.

Never feed a child anything that is hard and round always cut into strips lengthwise. Cutting this way will in no way disturb training your child how to chew corectly. This is particularly important if your child was born with a weakness of the jaw muscles or any other type of bucal cavity disorder, tongue disorder or other disorders of the oesophagus, larynx or pyloric stenitis. Some problematic types of food which demand special attention for toddlers include: hotdogs, sausages, carrots, cellery, cucumbers, olives, cheries, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, small beets, small Parisienne potatoes, melon balls, large whole beans, etc. Children may also encounter food which is difficult to swallow such as peanut butter on bread, boiled egg sandwiches and the like, so always have a glass of water on hand to help to wash those pasty dry foods down should the need arise.

Do not feed your children hard candies, boiled sweets, jelly beans, toffee, mentos, gob stoppers, wine gums, chewing gum or any tye of peanut, hazel nut, almond, macademia nut or pistachio until they are at least 7 years old. Prefer fudge, jelly babies, marsh mallows or any other soft and non round sweet.
Do not feed your children buscuits made out of fine corn starch because this can form a glue like mass that can clog the back of the throat. Likewise do not allow your child to eat any fruit with large pips and/or seeds before you take the pip or seed out.

It is also not advisable to feed children any type of fish that may contain bones until they are at least ten years old. All fish products for small children should be ground into a paste.

Common sense is the rule of thumb in preparing food for toddlers. It is not enough to think how to cut food so that it will be small enough to chew, it is also necessary to think of how to cut food so that it will not cause an obstruction of the wind pipe. A responsible attitude and forward thinking work to prevent unnecessary stress for both parent and child and can even prevent what amount to unnecessary tragedies in quite a few cases. Keep food safety in mind when preparing food for your children.

NB. Round objects in a childs mouth can be mistaken for a bolus of food which can cause the mouth’s sensory organs to become confused and to send the object to the throat cavity. By being too large to swallow the epiglottis tries to eject the foreign object from the larynx which leaves the object hovering over the open trachea. The natural instinct to take a deep breath can cause the object in question to be drawn into the wind pipe where it causes an obstruction to air flow. In the following educational film clip you will be shown how to perform safe rescue techniques on children and infants. Every parent should become familiar with these techniques.

About Andrew Routledge

Andy has many years of experience in food preparation, Food Hygiene, Catering and staff Training

5 Responses to “Food Safety For Infants”

  1. Andrew Routledge

    In addition to my previous comments I would like to add the following which is something that I did with my kids. When you decide that they are old enough to eat peanuts, nuts, seeds, M&M’s, chocolate raisins, or anything else that is round and could block the wind pipe tell them to hild it in their hand and bite it in half and then chew it and then to show you the chewed peanut or whatever else it may be. Also, when first trying kids on peanuts or for that matter any other kind of nuts, be prepared for allergies. Have antihistamine drops at hand and most importantly make sure that you are not outside a reasonable time response of emergency medical assistance (2-3 minutes). Nut allergies can be can be very severe. Be particularly wary if you know of any history of allergic responses within your family group or that of your spouse’s family.

  2. Andrew Routledge

    I believe that Kids should not be given unground nuts until they are five or six at least. This should include, peanuts, macademia nuts, hazel nuts, almonds, pecans, wall nuts, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whole chickpeas, pistachios, whole fried soya beans or peas (as in salty snacks), cashews etc, etc. If your husband wants her to enjoy the peanut taste, restrict him to peanut butter but in great moderation because it is very salty and fattening. About the unswallowed peanut, take her to the emergency unit to get it checked out. You don’t mess around with peanuts with toddlers!

  3. Margaret

    My 3 year old swallowed half of a peanut . She did not choke. She told me she swallowed it without biting it. She says she can feel it in her throat and that it did not go into her stomach. Later she told me it went into her stomach and now again she said it did not. She is talking and breathing fine. I don’t hear any obstruction in her breathing or whistle sounds etc… I do not agree with giving her peanuts, but my husband thinks I am paranoid and gives them to her cut in half. Should I be worried? Should I take her to the doctor? My husband thinks she is fine because she did not choke and again thinks I am being paranoid. Thank you for your advice.


  4. Andrew Routledge

    Normally the problem with cherry pips is one of choking, if that did not occur (obviously), then the pips should pass through in a couple of days or so. However, I strongly urge you to pay your GP a visit and inform him or her as to exactly what happened. He might send you for an ultra sound just to make sure that the pips are progressing normally along the small intestine and have not become lodged anywhere that the shouldn’t. He could also prescribe some liquid parafin (parafin oil) just to speed things along a little. Again, that’s up to his judgment or the judgment of a gastroenterologist.

  5. polin

    my four years old child swallowed 3cherry pits I desperatly waited that she will get rid off them What happens if they stay in her stomach or appendesites what step should we take I am werry worried Please help

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