Introducing Young Children To Peanuts: New NIAID Guidelines Published

The NIAID guidelines for introducing children to peanuts now reflect the LEAP study conclusion that early peanut introduction lowers the chance of peanut allergy for high-risk infants.

The LEAP (Learning About Peanut Allergy) trial revealed that babies with severe eczema, egg allergy, or both reduced their risk of peanut allergy by 81 percent with early, regular intake of peanut containing foods.

To help physicians and parents benefit from LEAP findings, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) worked with numerous federal, professional, and advocacy agencies to create the Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy.

Guidelines For Parents and Caregivers

The Addendum Guidelines come with two important caveats:

  1. Because of the risk for choking, never give infants or small children whole peanuts.
  2. Infant’s should be introduced to other solid foods before giving them peanut containing foods.

Keeping the above two provisions in mind, here is a summary of the Addendum Guidelines for parents and caregivers:

  • Guideline 1. To reduce the risk of peanut allergy, infants with severe eczema, egg allergy, or both should be introduced to peanut containing foods as early as 4 to 6 months of age.
  • Parents are advised to consult with the child’s healthcare provider before introducing peanut containing foods, and to follow the physician’s recommendations. A doctor may order allergy testing to determine whether the child can safely be introduced to peanut at home, at a medical provider’s office, or, if the child has already developed an allergy, not at all.
  • Guideline 2. To reduce the risk of peanut allergy, infants with mild to moderate eczema can be introduced to peanut containing foods around the age of six months. However, parents should not feel obligated to do this if peanut containing foods are not a regular part of the family’s diet.
  • A physician should determine whether the infant’s eczema is mild to moderate, and, depending on the child, may suggest the first peanut feeding be done at a medical provider’s office.
  • Guideline 3. Parents can freely introduce peanut containing foods into a child’s diet if the child does not have eczema or food allergies. Keeping family dietary habits in mind the introduction can be done at home in an age-appropriate way along with other solid foods.

Though early consumption of peanut containing foods reduces allergy risk, it does not prevent the development of peanut allergy in all at-risk children. Since peanut allergy can happen to any child, it is vital we continue offering compassion and accommodation to kids who have, or develop a peanut allergy.

Sources: Food Allergy; NIAID; Food Allergy

More Articles

You might have wondered if small amounts of an ingredient can be added to a food product without being declared on the food’s label. The FDA...

Is it possible to eat your way to a food allergy cure? Scientists think it’s...

There are many reasons why you may want to substitute almond flour for wheat flour in recipes. Of course, if you have a...

Not all oils are created equal. Some oils are high in saturated fats or in trans-fatty acids – not good for general health. Some are partially...

It may never be safe to begin feeding peanut butter to your baby or toddler if you have peanut allergies in your family. If either parent or one...

More Articles

More Articles

What is a peanut allergy? It is a reaction that occurs in the body after eating peanuts or peanut...

For those with severe food allergies, flying can be a stressful process. Here are...

Approximately one out of 13 children under age 18 are allergic to at least one food, though many of them will outgrow their allergy by the age of...

Fact 1: Over a third of food allergy reactions happen after the first known oral...

The reason why some people are affected by allergies while others are not begins in their genes. Allergies are passed down from generation to...

Here’s a tip that might someday save your life, or that of a loved one: two to four times a year, review the proper way to use your epinephrine...

Lactose intolerance is the inability to process lactose, a sugar found in milk, caused by the lack of a needed enzyme. Those with lactose...

Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA)

An important part of peanut allergy awareness was enacted on January 1, 2006...

Tomato allergies are very rare. They are a "type 1 allergy," which means a contact allergy. When a person with this type of allergy touches a...

Milk allergies are becoming more common, especially in babies and small children. There is some confusion about what is an allergic reaction and...

Recognizing food allergy in babies or toddlers is not always easy, but there are specific risk factors and signs that parents and other caregivers...

Burlap bags are often used to store and ship coffee beans, potatoes, rice, seeds, nuts, and peanuts. They can be one of the disguised...

People with pollen allergies need to stay away from some foods. If you have allergic rhinitis in the spring or fall, you may not realize that you...

Of course, everyone knows that if you have a peanut allergy that you should avoid peanuts, peanut butter, peanut butter cookies and foods that...

Eating at a nut-free lunch table in school is a safety precaution that causes some students to feel isolated from their peers. Unfortunately,...