Popcorn and young children

Popcorn. In minds of many people the mere word "popcorn" evokes happy images of enjoyable times, relaxing with friends a family - perhaps at a movie, perhaps at home. The truth is that popcorn - with its rock-like kernels and course hulls - simply is not right for everyone. Indeed, there are segments of the community that simply should not eat traditional popcorn ever.

Consider for example a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a very stern warning regarding the health risks that popcorn poses to young children. In issuing this important warning, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that young children should never eat popcorn.

The announcement by the American Academy of Pediatrics caused many parents of young children to stop short in their tracks. Historically, hundreds of thousands of parents have fed their little boys and girls popcorn without any thought at all.

The American Academy of Pediatrics undertook an extensive study about popcorn and children. The study revealed that time and time again, popcorn posed an extremely serious threat to the safety of younger children. The popcorn kernel and the popcorn hull both pose a major risk of choking when they are consumed by young children.

Of course, many parents take great pains to remove un-popped kernels from any popcorn given to their children. There are two flaws with this course of action. First, removing un-popped kernels (as anyone who has consumed popcorn understands) can never be done with 100% success. Moreover, it is not just the un-popped kernels that endanger young children. Rather, the risk exists with the kernel remnants and the hull that remain attached to popcorn even after it has been fully popped.

The choking risk associated with popcorn kernels and hulls and small children is so significant that it does lead to death in some instances.

When it comes to feeding popcorn to children, infants naturally should never be given popcorn as a food. This applies even to those infants who otherwise have started eating solid food products. The fact of the matter is that many parents hand off little bags of popcorn to their toddlers. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly condemns this practice. A significant number of toddlers have ended up choking on popcorn, some of these children even dying as a result.

There is not absolute age at which younger children should be permitted to eat popcorn. The size and maturity of a particular child plays a role in making this determination. But again, it is far better to play it safe than be sorry.

There are other solutions available to parents with young children who do seem to enjoy the taste of popcorn. Absent kernels and hulls, popcorn can be a healthy snack. There are some innovative companies in business today that do market to consumers popcorn that does not contain any kernels nor any hulls whatsoever. This type of product does provide a healthy snack alternative, even for younger children.

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