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Nurse reveals five things you should ‘never’ pack in child’s lunchbox

Nurse reveals five things you should ‘never’ pack in child’s lunchbox

Some foods have proven to be a choking hazard for children

If you're a first-time parent preparing your little one to venture off to school, you might be struggling to determine what you should be packing into their lunch box.

Striking the perfect balance between feeding your child what they want to eat and which foods have the highest nutritional value can feel impossible.

And with doctors, paediatricians, nutritionists and health experts each offering up a vast variation of their 'professional opinions', distinguishing between fact and fiction - particularly when it comes to you youngster's wellbeing - is tricky business.

That being said, a concerned nurse has this week come out with a controversial statement regarding which foods are best AVOIDED in a child's packed lunch.

According to paediatric nurse and founder of health charity CPR Kids Sarah Hunstead, there are actually only five items that you should say 'no' to your child about if they ask for them, on the basis of their ability to cause a blockage in the throat.

Writing for Kidspot, Sarah revealed that the first of these questionable snacks is...

Sarah believes popcorn should be left out of children's lunchboxes.


Whilst you may argue that this sweet/salty treat is surely soft enough for children to eat without a parents' supervision, Sarah argues otherwise.

"Although it's a beloved snack for movie nights (and school), popcorn can pose a significant choking risk for young children, particularly those under the age of 4," she writes.

Instead, she opts for popcorn alternatives like cheese crackers, pretzel sticks, rice cakes or corn cakes.

Whole grapes

While nutritionists are constantly advising parents to find creative ways to implement more fruit and veg into their children's diets, Sarah doesn't believe that youngsters should be given small circular foods that can easily get trapped in their tiny windpipes, including grapes.

"It's best to slice grapes into smaller, more manageable pieces before packing them in your child's lunchbox - lengthwise and into quarters - NOT halves," she writes.

And for the same reason she doesn't recommend grapes, the paediatrician also believes parents should rule out...

Apparently grapes should only be included in lunchboxes if they're chopped up nice and small.
Peter Dazeley/Getty

Cherry tomatoes

"Cherry tomatoes are small and round, making them a choking hazard for young children," she explains.

And again - similar to the grape situation - she suggests slicing the tomatoes into quarters in order to 'mitigate this risk' of choking.


Sarah also doesn't believe that sausages - whether sliced into thin circles or left whole - should be included in your kids' lunchboxes.

Though this may be a handy means of getting rid of leftovers from last night's portion of bangers and mash, or this morning's breakfast butty, the tough and thick casing on some sausages mean it can be hard for tiny teeth to bite through.

Because of this, the risk of them choking is higher, so she advises parents to dice up the sausage meat nice and small.

The thick, tough skin on sausages can prove difficult for little teeth to break through.
Getty/Achim Sass


This brings us onto our next prohibited snack, nuts. Not only are these succulent snacks a choking risk for many youngsters, but they're also one of the most common allergies amongst kids.

So much so, that even products that contain small traces of nuts can be fatal to a little one suffering with an allergy.

"It's best to avoid packing nuts in your child's lunchbox altogether (please check your child’s school policy)," Sarah advises.

"And opt for safer alternatives like nut-free granola bars."

Seasonal treats

At this time of year especially, it's common for parents to surprise their kids by sneaking some Easter treats - including Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs - into their packed lunches.

Mini chocolate eggs can prove a choking hazard for kids.

But Sarah is advising celebrating mums and dads to wait until the young children are at home, in the safety of their company, before giving them these chocolatey delights.

"These treats, while delicious, can pose a choking risk, particularly for young children who may not understand the importance of chewing thoroughly," she penned, before suggesting another springtime alternative.

"If you include Easter treats in your child's lunchbox (or need to donate choccy eggs for school activities and the like) opt for larger, hollow eggs!"

Featured Image Credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images/kidspot/CPR kids

Topics: Food and Drink, Parenting, Health