Here is a guideline of foods to avoid giving a small child, age 1-2 years. Even with extensive training and child care experience, be sure to provide your Au Pair some direction as to what food is and is not appropriate for your child based on his or her age.
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Foods to avoid: 12 to 24 months
Low-fat milk: Most young toddlers need the fat and calories of whole milk for growth and development. Once your child turns 2 (and if he doesn’t have any growth problems), you can start giving him lower-fat milk if you like. (If your child is at risk for obesity or heart disease, however, the doctor may recommend introducing low-fat milk before age 2.)
Choking hazards to watch out for
Large chunks: A chunk of food larger than a pea can get stuck in your child’s throat. Vegetables like carrots, celery, and green beans should be diced, shredded, or cooked and cut up. Cut fruits like grapes, cherry tomatoes, and melon balls into quarters before serving, and shred or cut meats and cheeses into very small pieces.
Small, hard foods: Hard candies, cough drops, nuts, and popcorn are potential choking hazards. Seeds may be too small to choke on but can get stuck in a child’s airway and cause an infection.
Soft, sticky foods: Avoid chewing gum and soft foods like marshmallows and jelly or gummy candies that might get lodged in your child’s throat.
Peanut butter: Be careful not to give your toddler large dollops of peanut butter or other nut butters, which can be difficult to swallow. Instead, spread nut butter thinly on bread or crackers. You might want to try thinning it with some applesauce before spreading it.
More choking prevention
- Avoid letting your child eat in the car since it’s hard to supervise 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.
- See a printable checklist on how to reduce your child’s risk of choking.