I am very concerned about a recent Associated Press article printed in the Tri-City Herald with the headlines “Study Suggests Giving Babies Nuts” and “Peanuts For Babies.” Even in the article itself, “feeding babies peanuts” is recommended.
Under no circumstance should a baby ever be given peanuts or any other type of nut as this is a major choking hazard. For that reason, actual nuts are not recommended until 4 years of age.
What is being recommended is earlier introduction of peanut butter or foods that contain peanut butter (but that are still an age-appropriate texture, such as the peanut butter-flavored “Bamba” puffs from Israel).
This may seem like common sense, but unfortunately, there are some parents who will actually give their babies peanuts after reading these headlines. Please clarify this at every opportunity.
My greatest fear with the new recommendations was this exact issue. In our world of sound bytes and hash tags, this miscommunication may very well end up costing some children their lives. Not from an anaphylactic reaction, but from aspiration of peanuts. Additionally, if there is a family history of peanut allergy, the baby should be tested first before early introduction of peanut butter.
Dr. Aaron Richardson, Pediatrician, Pasco