Some foods to avoid giving to babies and small children

Starting a baby on solids can be such an exciting time for all parents. But not all foods are good for babies under 1 year of age as they are considered to be potential choking hazards or health risks for small children. Knowing which foods to feed your little one can be a very powerful tool to avoiding unnecessary trouble in the first place. On this page we talk about some common forbidden foods that every parent should be aware of before introducing solids to babies.

Foods to avoid giving to babies under the age of 1 year

Honey, Corn syrup and maple syrup

should never be given to babies under 1 year of age as they may in very rare cases cause Infant Botulism. Infant Botulism is a paralytic illness which happens when a baby ingests the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum through food stuffs such as honey, corn syrup and marple syrup. These bacteria produce a toxin known as Botulinum Toxin in an infants imature intestine. Symtoms of botulism include constipation (usaully the first symptom), lethargy and a weak cry. Although infant Botulism is very rare,it is best to avoid giving babies foods that may put them at risk of infection during their sensitive first year of life.

Foods to avoid - Some Fishes

Fishes such as mackerel, shark, swordfish and tuna should never be given to babies under the age of 1 year as they may contain high levels of heavy metals such as mercury which can easily cause damage to a babys nervous system. For those living in Scandinavia that would mean avoiding fishes from certain lakes and the Baltic Sea.

Homemade baby food recipes

Raw Eggs

Foods to avoid giving to babies also include raw eggs. Raw eggs may contain the bacteria salmonella which can cause severe food poisoning. Foods such as homemade icecream and mayonaise should be avoided. Eggs can also cause allergic reactions, so consult your doctor before introducing egg to your babies diet. Eggs should never be offered to babies under the age of 6 to 8 months and especially not to those who have other types of confirmed allergies or have a family history of food allergies before consulting a Doctor for medical advice.

Peanuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts and other nuts

Nuts especially peanuts can cause serious allergic reactions and apart from that present a potential choking hazard to babies and small children. Consult your childs Doctor before introducing any kind of nuts to your childs diet especially if you have a family history of food allergies. Whole peanuts and other nuts should not be given to children below the age of 5 years.

Too Much Salt

The kidneys of children younger than 1 year of age are not developed enough to cope with high salt levels. Ready made foods that are meant for adults usually contain high amounts of salt and therefore should never be fed to Babies. Soy sauce, sausages and bacon are some of the foods that normally contain quite high amounts of salt.


Sugar is simply not good for your babies teeth and health. Babies get enough sugar from breastmilk, milk formulas and fruits. A babies teeth are more vulnarable to tooth decay than an adults teeth. Avoid giving babies sweet foods such as cookies to avoid encouraging a sweet tooth in the first place for healthier milk teeth and future permanent teeth. Contrary to common beliefs, diluting juices does not make them less harmful, diluted juices still contain amounts of sugar enough to still cause tooth decay, so try limiting sweet juices to mealtimes and snacktimes only.

Foods to avoid - Some Vegetables such as Spinach, fennel, beetrot, lettuce, and nettles

These vegetables are likely to contain high levels of nitrates . When babies ingest nitrates they are quickly converted to nitrites because very young babies lack the stomach acids that help keep nitrates at check. The nitrites disturb the bloods ability to transport oxygen leading to Blue Baby Syndrome, i.e. low oxygen levels.

Foods to avoid giving to children under 3 years of age - potential chokers

  • Whole grapes: Grapes are quite firm and can therefore easily get stuck in a little ones throat. Peel, stone and chop up grapes before offering them to your baby.
  • Small Pieces of hard fruits or other hard foods: Babies and small children can easily choke on small hard pieces of fruit or vegetables
  • Popcorns and whole olives with stones: The size and hardness of these foods makes them really likely to choke an infant.
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