Peanuts, ask most parents of very young children and they’ll probably say “you shouldn’t give them to them”. But why is this?
Well, are two reasons for this line of thinking:
(1) the most important one, children can choke on whole nuts, so they should be broken up or halved.
(2) An allergy to peanuts can be fatal, so children that seem to be more at risk should not eat them.
The first reason is not in dispute, whole nuts are a choking hazard to children. But in a news story featured on the BBC website, feeding peanuts to young children actually decreased their likelihood of developing an allergy.
The study, carried out at the King’s College London tested over 600 babies of at least 4 months of age. The babies had already developed eczema, an early sign of allergies. The researchers gave them a skin prick test to see which ones had already developed the allergy and which ones had not. Half of the children were then fed peanuts as part of the their diet and the other half were not.
The test indicated that 14% of the children should have gone on to develop a peanut allergy by the age of 5, but this fell to just 2% with the therapy.
It is recommended that if your child is at risk of peanut allergy consult a specialist before feeding them peanuts.