Watching your baby take their first mouthful of food is a milestone moment no parent will forget. As they progress through their food journey, they become increasingly confident and happier to try new flavours and textures. Even if things are running smoothly, keeping baby safe during mealtimes and beyond is always at the back of a parent’s mind. We’re here to help with some easy baby food safety tips as your little one takes their first foray into the delicious world of food!
One of the scariest things about watching a toddler eat solid food is the risk of choking. When it comes to baby food safety, you should always stay with your child while they’re eating. It’s best to encourage toddlers to eat sitting down and be relatively still as running around whilst eating has a much higher risk of food accidentally getting where it shouldn’t be and blocking a windpipe. Most parents would know not to give young children hard foods such as boiled sweets or whole nuts, but babies can choke on something as small as a grape so it is essential to cut things like grapes lengthways into quarters to make them as easy to swallow as possible. Open cups, like our Babycup First cup, are an excellent way to get drinks into little ones but if they are still young enough for bottles make sure you are in control of the bottle. Never prop the bottle into your babies mouth as they may not be able to stop the liquid flow. It’s generally a good idea to hold both your baby and the bottle so you can easily and immediately see if there is a problem.
Watch out for curious tots!
A toddler who is willing to experiment with food is a dream. No stressing about getting all the right food groups in, figuring correct levels of vitamins or feeling like you must trick them into even opening their mouths! But baby food safety extends beyond the kitchen, and this curiosity does mean parents potentially need to be more aware of the risk of a
food-curious toddler getting their hands on something that looks tasty when they shouldn’t.
Medicines are the cause of nearly three quarters of hospital admissions for poisoning in under-5s. Painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen are the most common offender. With this in mind it is easy to see why it is so important to keep all medicines, both adults and children’s, well out of reach and preferably in a locked container. Do not rely on the fact that medication is often closed by ‘child resistant’ lids, these are designed to slow children down in their attempts to get inside and are not completely child proof.
Similarly to medicines, laundry detergents and cleaning products in both the bathroom and kitchen need to be kept out of reach. Look out for cleaning products that contain bittering agents which makes them taste nasty in the hope children are less likely to swallow them and keep liquid capsules out of sight as they are often in bright coloured packaging which appeals to children. Any products kept at low level should be stored in cupboards with locks so children cannot easily access them. With the increase in the use of e-cigarettes hospitals have seen a sharp rise in nicotine related poisoning. E-cigarette refills should be treated like cleaning fluids and kept safe as ingesting nicotine can be very dangerous for babies and young children.
Be aware of what’s in your garden
Although many of us are aware of the dangers of detergents and medicines, something that is often overlooked is natural poisons. A large part of baby food safety is about teaching your child what’s safe and what’s not. Teach children not to eat anything they may find in the garden or whilst walking in areas such as parks and woods, even if looks similar to something they may recognise, like a tasty berry or a mushroom. Check your garden for poisonous plants and remove them. If removal is not an option, make sure everyone knows not to eat them and try and supervise children around them as much as possible.