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The long standing warning from pediatricians and other health care professionals to avoid introducing nuts into your child’s diet until they are 3 years old has recently been changed.  Studies have found that it could be that waiting to introduce nuts into your child’s diet may actually increase their chances of developing a nut allergy.  Only about 1-2 percent of children are predisposed to nut allergies because of a family history.  By introducing nuts earlier children without a predisposition may be much less likely to develop the an allergy.

Recently the AAP (Amercian Academy of Pediatrics) changed it’s long standing policy regarding nuts and is now recommending introducing nuts into a child’s diet as early as 6 months of age if the child has shown no signs of other food allergies and there is no family history of nut allergies.  For many parents, especially those with older children who had to avoid nuts for so long it may be hard to accept the new recommendations.  Nut allergies are scary to many parents and taking that first step and giving your child something that contains nuts for the first time is very nerve-wracking.

When introducing nuts parents should be sure to give their child a very small amount the first time and be careful to watch for signs of an allergic reaction.  Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include: wheezing, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, hives and swelling.  If you suspect an allergic reaction contact your child’s doctor and if the symptoms are severe seek medical treatment immediately.

Be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician about these new recommendations and make sure you have all the facts and information before beginning to introduce nuts into your child’s diet.

Remember it is not safe for children until the age of 5 to have whole nuts.  Any nuts your child consumes before the age of 5 should be in spread form, or ground into other foods.

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