She might want a sucker, her teeth don't.

When Can Toddlers Have Suckers?

by Kathryn Hatter

When your toddler is melting and you're at the end of your rope, it's hard to resist the urge to give him a sweet treat. As tempting as it is, toddlers and suckers do not play together well. The risk of choking is too great, so find something else as a satisfying treat.

1. Choking Risk

Suckers are on the list of foods frequently associated as choking risks for little kids. Any candy that is smooth, hard and round carries a significant risk for choking. Suckers fit that description. In fact, the Kids Health website recommends that kids under age 4 should not have suckers and hard candies because of the risk of the candy becoming lodged in the child's throat and cutting off oxygen.

2. Walking While Sucking

Another danger of suckers is the stick attached to the hard candy. If you allow your tot to toddle around with a sucker in her mouth, the chance of her falling on her face is high. She is a toddler, after all. If a toddler falls with a sucker on a stick in her mouth, the sucker stick could go down her throat. Enough said -- this could be a devastating injury for a little person.

3. Sugar Woes

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine cautions parents against giving candy and sugary treats to toddlers. In fact, the recommendation is that toddlers shouldn't have candy at all at this age because it can lead to tooth decay even at this young age. It's not always easy to brush your kid's teeth, right? He's probably far too wiggly and energetic for you to do a good job brushing. This means that the sticky residues from sugary treats stay on his teeth, contributing to cavities.

4. Safe Treats

Shape your toddler's food preferences by giving her a variety of safe and nutritious foods instead of potentially dangerous candy. Try cut-up strawberries, small chunks of pineapple, wedges of soft peaches or bits of melon when you want to give her a sweet treat. Even graham crackers, crunchy cereal or animal crackers would be better than suckers and hard candies. She'll have plenty of time to suck on a sucker once she reaches the grand old age of 4.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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