When it comes to your toddler or small child under two, their safety is always foremost in your mind. Ensuring their safety at mealtime can be less stressful if you follow a few simple rules and always pay attention to your child while they are eating.
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Here are 6 food safety tips for toddlers and small children:
1. Foods to Avoid
When feeding young children, it is important to avoid the following foods to keep them healthy and safe. Any raw or partially cooked foods like meats, fish, eggs, and poultry. Do not feed them raw milk or other unpasteurized beverages. Avoid giving children under one year of age honey because it contains spores that can produce bacteria and lead to food poisoning.
2. Be Present
Similar to bath time, never leave a small child alone with food. This is because the child could easily choke and need help. Prepare all of their food before placing it in front of them. Always sit and watch and help your small child at mealtimes. Some children will put too much food in their mouth at one time, which can lead to choking. To avoid this, only place one or two small pieces of food in front of a child that eats with their fingers.
3. Offer Smaller Pieces
Never give a toddler a whole piece of food. This includes hot dogs, sandwiches, fruits, cookies, and any other type of food they like to eat. Always cut food into small pieces and only offer one or two pieces at a time. It may take a little more time to prepare a meal for a small child, but it is worth avoiding a choking hazard.
4. Encourage Slow Eating Habits
When a child rushes during mealtime, they are at a higher risk to choke. It is important to show them how to slow down during eating. Do not allow a toddler or small child to lie down or run around while they are eating. Encourage your child to sit and eat slowly and enjoy their food. This will not only help them now but serve them well for the rest of their life.
5. Practice Food Safety
When feeding a small child, do not feed directly from the jar. Put the food in another container and feed until they are done. If there is any left, it is important to throw it out. When you use a spoon and put it into a container, then the baby’s mouth, transfers germs into the container. The germs can thrive in the container and cause food poisoning.
6. Follow Safety Regulations
Always cook food according to the directions. Make sure food is properly prepared and all work surfaces and cooking utensils are clean. Also wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food as well as when you finish feeding your child.
Being present and teaching your toddler or small child the proper way to eat and enjoy their food will have a lasting effect on their relationship with food.