I am a mother of twins. When they were born, everything seemed like it could possibly be dangerous for them. But still, I never really thought of an ice cube as a threat. I was wrong.
Ice cubes can be very dangerous for infants. Sure, ice melts. But it melts slowly. This means it is a choking hazard for a baby to have ice cubes, or even for a toddler to have ice cubes.
There are times, of course, when you want to cool something down, whether it's a drink or a cup of hot soup or even a piping hot toddler meal. But you don't want to leave an ice cube within a baby's grasp. It is much too easy for a baby or toddler to pop an ice cube into a little mouth and then inadvertently choke.
So, what should a parent do and how can you figure out when a baby can have ice cubes? Here are just a few tips.
- First, young infants should never be given ice cubes. Toddlers may have crushed ice.
- If you have an older toddler who is sick and feverish, it may be okay to provide ice chips. But always check with your doctor or at least the nurse to make sure your baby is old enough.
- Of course, teething often is relieved by something cold. But ice doesn't have to be that something. Instead, think about using a teething ring which can left in the freezer until it is time to provide relief for your baby's sore gums.
When my twins started eating more solid foods from a plate and handling a fork and spoon, I also began cooling their food for them using a little ice. But remember to use very small ice chips, or even better, crushed ice. If possible, use the ice-crushing mechanism in your ice-maker. If you don't have an ice-maker in your refrigerator, think about buying a small hand-held ice-crusher. That's what we did and it worked just great. Plus, the kids enjoyed watching us crush the ice.
Up until your baby turns four years old, he or she could still have difficulty with ice. So, if you provide a glass of ice water, or other iced drinks with ice cubes, then think about serving that drink with a lid and straw. That way, it makes it less likely your little one will swallow, or worse, choke on a large chunk of ice.
Really, for parents, thinking about when to give babies ice, is like thinking about any other small piece of food. Grapes are cut into smaller pieces at first, as are many types of fruit.
Ice may just be frozen water, but the melt time is slow enough that it can be a hazard. What's worse about ice is that it often is also a hazard not typically considered.