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Good Nutrition for the Highchair Set

(page 3 of 5)

A separate line of products is marketed for babies over one year old. These are commonly referred to as "toddler" foods. Chunkier than infant foods, these help your baby transition to regular table food. Unlike infant foods, the sodium content of some toddler foods has not been significantly reduced. The National Academy of Sciences has set 325 to 975 milligrams of sodium as the safe and adequate daily dietary intake for children one to three years old. Yet some products marketed for this age group have 500 to 700 milligrams of sodium per serving, so that a child eating more than one serving a day might get an excessive amount of sodium. The FDA has been encouraging manufacturers to reduce the amount of sodium in these products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates the meat products that compose the majority of "toddler" food lines, is also working with manufacturers on this problem.

Because children under four years old do not have a full set of teeth and therefore cannot chew as well as older children, extra care is needed when giving them toddler foods such as meat sticks and biscuits. The same precautions should be taken when feeding them "finger" foods, such as hot dogs, nuts, and raw vegetables.

In response to these concerns, the following was added to the labeling of toddler biscuits:

"For Your Information: Biscuits, cookies, toast and crackers should be eaten in an upright position - never while lying down - to reduce the possibility of choking on crumbs."

The following has been added to the labeling of toddler meat sticks:

"This product is intended for children with teeth. To reduce the possibility of choking, serve these sticks only to toddlers who have learned to chew solid foods properly. It is important the mealtime and snack time of small children be supervised. They should be fed in an upright position and never during vigorous activities."

Despite these few problems, commercially prepared baby and toddler foods offer an adequate and safe alternative that most parents prefer to home-prepared foods for babies. The FDA continues to monitor these foods and shares parents' concern that the food their babies eat be as safe and nutritious as possible.

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