Meal time can be a great way for a family to bond and enjoy each other's company. Here are some tips to help make this time enjoyable and safe.
Babies should never be left alone with their bottle propped up. This is a way that your baby could choke. As well, it is not recommended to put your baby to bed with a bottle.
Highchair and Booster Seat Safety
Make a habit out of using the restraining straps on the chair. This should wrap around the child's waist and between their legs. This prevents the child from slipping out of the highchair. The same goes for booster seats - the straps should always be utilized.
Make Sitting a Must
We suggest making a rule that all adults and children are to be seated during a meal or snack time. Climbing or walking presents a danger where a child could become injured by falling or falling with an eating utensil in their mouth or hand. Running or talking could lead to choking as well.
The Right Size
Not only should a child's food be cut into appropriately sized pieces, but the right type of food should be given to the them. Avoid items such as nuts, raw carrots and unpeeled apples as they are a choking hazard.
Young children are not fully able to adjust their mouths to appropriately chew and swallow their food. Foods that are easy to chew and break apart easily are a much safer option.
Any foods given to a child should be cut into cubes that are no bigger than a half inch in size. Very dry or sticky foods are not ideal and should be avoided entirely.
Allow toddlers to use child sized utensils to enable them to learn how to properly use them at meal time. Teach them how to use them appropriately.
Foods To Be Wary Of
Grapes - these will need to be cut up into quarters. Left alone, without cutting makes them the perfect size to block a child's airway. Cherry and grape tomatoes fit into this size category as well.
Hotdogs - kids may love them, but they should always be cut up. These too are the perfect size to block an airway when cut into the wrong size. They should be cut lengthwise and then into little bits.
Marshmallows should be cut up into small pieces.
Fruit and vegetables with the skin on them. Peel these so that the child can easily masticate them. The peels may be too difficult for their new teeth to cut through.
Peanut Butter - this can be difficult to swallow for little ones.
Meat takes longer to break down by chewing, so it should be ground meat that is well done cut into little pieces.
String Cheese - this can be a little too hard for new chewers. It's best to be cut up into tiny pieces.
Gum or Hard Candies - neither of these are a good idea for young children. They offer no nutritional value and children won't typically hold a candy in their mouths long enough for it to dissolve. Hard candies could harm new teeth.
Fruit Snacks - there are companies that produce these especially for young children, as some can be a bit too hard to chew. Look for products that say they are made for younger chewers.