Forbidden Baby & Toddler Foods

Infants and young children have trouble chewing completely, so certain foods pose a choking hazard until they reach age 4. Check out our list of foods to avoid giving babies and toddlers -- plus tips for worry-free, healthy eating.

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Avoid: Whole Hot Dogs

Greg Scheidemann

Avoid: Whole Hot Dogs

Smart Solution: The University of Michigan Health System suggests buying safer nitrite- and nitrate-free hot dogs and cutting them into noodle-like strips.

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Avoid: Large Chunks of Meat, Cheese, or Fruit

Avoid: Large Chunks of Meat, Cheese, or Fruit

Smart Solution: With a little more preparation time, meat, cheese, or fruit can be fine for children to munch on. Cut meat into pieces no larger than the length of your fingertips. Cheese can be sliced into the same size or shredded. For fruit, serve well-cooked apple or chunks of very ripe pear.

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Avoid: Whole Grapes

Avoid: Whole Grapes

Smart Solution: Babies can eat thinly sliced grapes (not just cut in half). Or take an extra precaution and puree fruits before mealtime.

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Forbidden Baby Foods

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Avoid: Hard, Gooey, or Sticky Candy

Avoid: Hard, Gooey, or Sticky Candy

Smart Solution: Candy is too small and slippery for your little one, but KidsHealth.org recommends trying French toast without the egg white as a healthier sweet snack.

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Avoid: Globs of Peanut Butter

Avoid: Globs of Peanut Butter

Smart Solution: Sticky peanut butter is especially dangerous for children younger than 2. The Mayo Clinic's tip for satisfying a toddler's sweet tooth is to give your child fat-free pudding instead.

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Avoid: Popcorn

Avoid: Popcorn

Smart Solution: For a dry food that isn't as tough for babies and toddlers to chew, KidsHealth.org suggests a 1/2 cup of low-sugar breakfast cereal as an easy alternative.

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Avoid: Raw Vegetables

Avoid: Raw Vegetables

Smart Solution: While babies are learning to chew or gum their food, skip crunchy raw vegetables and give them soft-cooked peas, beans, and carrots.

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All content, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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