A peanut butter sandwich used to be the standard lunch for many children, but you’ll now find schools forbidding peanut butter due to allergies. Naturally, this can make you wonder whether toddlers can eat peanuts or peanut butter. If you think your child is ready to give it a try, make it as safe as possible.
If your child is allergic to peanuts, it can present a serious problem. A peanut allergy may cause difficulty breathing and, in some cases, death. There is a known genetic link to peanut allergies, according to the March of Dimes, so if there are allergies in your family, you may want to hold off. Otherwise, carefully watch your child for signs of allergy the first time you give her peanuts or peanut butter.
Peanuts are small and hard, which can potentially be a choking hazard for some children. If you plan on giving your child peanuts, serve them out of the shell and watch her while she eats to be sure that she doesn’t choke.
Problems with Peanut Butter
Peanut butter can be a nutritious snack, but it’s also a sticky mess than could get stuck in your child’s throat. You should not serve a big dollop of peanut butter to a toddler. Instead, spread it thinly over bread or crackers. BabyCenter also suggests thinning it with applesauce, which can make a delicious and safe dipping sauce for fruits.
When to Serve Peanuts
Even if you don’t suspect a peanut allergy in your child, she may not be ready to eat peanuts. Watch the way that she eats other types of foods and check her bowel movements for large chunks. You want to see that she’s properly chewing food before swallowing, which can signify that she’s ready to chew peanuts.
If you’ve given your child peanuts or peanut butter, watch for signs of an allergic reaction. This might be difficulty breathing, a rash, cramps or diarrhea, tongue swelling or a tingly sensation on the tongue and throat. Your toddler may not be able to tell you that there’s a problem, so you need to keep a watchful eye.