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Can a 2-Year-Old Have Popcorn? Age Guidelines for Safe Consumption

This blog is about one of the oldest snacks “popcorn.”  This popcorn was discovered almost 5,000 years ago. In the olden days, popcorn was eaten as breakfast by adding some milk and sugar to it. 

Nowadays, popcorn comes in a variety of flavors and is loved by people of all ages. Introducing popcorn to toddlers can be a great way to make them different flavors and textures beyond conventional baby foods. 

However, before introducing any new food to a toddler, we must consider the safety and health hazards of that particular food. Here in this blog, Let us explore the potential risks of consuming popcorn and which is the optimal age to get introduced to a toddler.

Before that, let’s have some facts and information about toddlers and popcorn individually.

Facts About Toddlers

Facts About Toddlers

The 2-year-old is a crucial stage in a child’s life because it is the time when the kid usually gets exposed to various things and objects. Two-year-old kids are usually referred to as “toddlers”. The word toddler is derived from the word “ to toddle ” which means learning to walk firmly and confidently. They not only learn to walk at this stage but also to play, jump, run, and start to get into other mental and physical activities of their own. For toddlers, we usually give homemade foods like porridge, rice, fruits, and vegetables that are good for them. Offering them harder foods slows down their process of digestion. It is always preferable to give them easily digestible foods.

Information About Popcorn

Information About Popcorn

Unlike the other foods, popcorn is usually made from corn kernels. The corn kernels are hard and strong substances that are rich in fiber. These corn kernels are mixed with some amount of water and oil, and then they are heated up. This process makes the kernels pop up, and we get delicious popcorn to eat.

This popcorn is loved and celebrated by people of all ages. Most of us would love to munch popcorn while watching our favorite movies and shows. Even a boring movie can be managed with the help of having popcorn by our side. Popcorn is handy so that we can snack wherever and whenever we wish to have some.

Air-popped popcorn is considered to be a healthy one and is rich in fiber and antioxidants and low in calories. They may be great snacks for a diabetic patient and people with heart-related problems.

Reasons for Avoiding Popcorn to Toddlers

Reasons for Avoiding Popcorn to Toddlers

Despite all these nice things about popcorn, we cannot offer this to a toddler. Yes, because popcorn is very hard outside and cannot be digested easily. When it comes to a toddler, they may not be able to chew the food properly. This is the reason why we tend to offer them easily chewable and digestible foods.

1. Choking Hazard

We all know that the popcorn is harder to bite. So, when we give popcorn to a toddler, they may not chew it properly, and most of the time, it might get stuck in their throat. This might tend to cause choking in children. Choking (which meansstopping breathing) will always be fatal in the case of toddlers. Why do we have to risk a child’s life for a snack? It is not advisable to introduce popcorn at the age of two. Maybe they can start eating the snack at any later years of age.

2. Bloating

As we all know, toddlers may not tend to chew any food properly. In such cases, when we offer them popcorn to eat, they will swallow the unbroken particles of the food directly. Hence, this may lead to indigestion, which in turn develops gas inside the stomach and leads to bloating. Bloating is the swelling of the stomach. There are also other signs that are caused by bloating, such as cramps, constipation, and diarrhea. Although popcorn, which is a healthy diet among elders, may cause these adverse effects to the little ones.

3. Increase in Blood Pressure Level

You might get this question: “How can popcorn increase blood pressure levels?” We have a justification for that. Yep, this snack contains a high amount of salt, which in turn will impact the blood pressure levels. The salt and butter in the popcorn are the tastemakers of this snack. When we give a two-year-old a high quantity of popcorn, then they will encounter a spike in blood pressure levels.

4. Allergies

Allergies are very common among little children. Many children have allergies to consuming nuts, coloring agents, milk, fish, and much more. There are few toddlers who would develop allergies by taking the corn. This allergy can cause skin rash, nausea, runny or stuffy nose, asthma, and sneezing. Anyhow, we should check whether the child has an allergy to corn before offering the popcorn. Some of the allergies may be fatal, too.

5. Gets Stuck in The Teeth

The little ones in our home are always busy with their own chores. They do not like to spend their time, especially when it comes to eating. They chew randomly and swallow it. By doing so, the food sometimes gets stuck in the teeth. Popcorn is hard to chew and swallow for their age. When the pieces that are not swallowed properly get stuck in between the teeth, they tend to create a toothache for them. This upsets the toddlers and gives them mood swings.

Other than these health hazards, this highly fibrous corn can have adverse effects on toddlers. High-fibrous foods are not encouraged for kids below two years of age, as they slow the digestion process and can lead to either constipation or loose stools.

Interesting News

We have found an article and wish to share some eye-opening news online. The news we brought here is dated 5 years back, which happened in the United States of America. (News courtesy – USA Today)

Let me give a detailed view of the article

This Incident Was Dated Back on March 15, 2019

On a Saturday evening, a family of three children and their parents snuggled up for a movie. No movie is fulfilled without having popcorn, and they are not an exception. After the movie night, while returning home, they felt that their 2-year-old youngest son had choked and was running out of breath. They tried all ways to ease the choking, but it was in vain. This alarmed them, and they quickly rushed to the nearest hospital.

The doctors initially thought it was pneumonia, and after getting to know the choking incident, they did a bronchoscopy (a procedure to look at your lungs and air passage). It was shocking to have discovered that the toddler had six pieces of aspirated popcorn in his lungs. Eventually, the child was saved, and the family had a great lesson to not to offer popcorn to the toddlers.

These are very alarming for us, right? So, let’s always avoid the snacks that put our kids in danger. Many other snacks can be given as an alternative to popcorn.

Few Alternate Snacks for The Toddlers

Few Alternate Snacks for The Toddlers

1. Chips/Nachos

Chips or nachos can be another alternative for popcorn. Toddlers usually imitate the elders, so when we munch on popcorn, they, too, want to munch something. In that case, these chips and nachos can be a better option to munch on. Yet, they are not healthy, but we can offer them occasionally.

2. Fries

French fries are an easily available snack everywhere. It is a far better snack for children when compared to popcorn. These are made from potatoes and are deep fried; we should not introduce too much of this to toddlers. They will not cause a choking hazard in toddlers as they are soft and easily chewable. They are fried ones; they are considered to be an occasional snack that can be introduced to the kids.

3. Cookies

Nowadays, we can find a wide variety of cookies for toddlers. The cookies are usually made with oats, nuts, and Choco chips. These are good for health, and at the same time, they are good for munching too. The cookies are loved and enjoyed by the toddlers, too. This can be one of the best alternate snacking options.

4. Fruits

Wow, one of the healthy and nutritious alternatives. The only hassle is we must choose the fruits of your toddler’s choice and take it wherever you want to go. Yet, this is the best food and is a highly recommended option for kids under 2 years of age.

5. Cauliflower Popcorn

A cauliflower popcorn may sound weird. Yes, there are popcorns made out of cauliflower, too. This cauliflower popcorn is made by keeping on roasting the florets, which brings out the natural sugars in vegetables. It is purely a healthy one, and it cannot cause a choking hazard. The taste may differ from popped corn and cauliflower popcorn, yet we can offer this without worries.

6. Protein Bars

Another munching snack option could be this protein bar. This snack is also a healthy alternative. These bars are made of puffed rice, oats, and some nuts and coated with chocolate. Unless your child is allergic to some nuts, you can give these protein bars to the toddlers instead of popcorn.

These are a few of the alternate options that we can avail of instead of sharing popcorn among the toddlers.


From the above article, it is clearly seen that the highly enjoyed and preferred snack, popcorn,’ is not advisable and encouraged by the doctors and medicine industry for children at the age of two due to the health hazards.

We can choose any of the alternative foods that we have mentioned here in this blog to avoid health hazards. Maybe children after five years of age can start consuming some amount of popcorn when they learn to chew and swallow their food.

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Emily Davis
Emily Davis

A Richmond native, Emily Davis combined her love for her city with her passion for parenting to create As a mother of two, Emily understands the joys and challenges of parenthood and established the site to connect, support, and inspire local families. When she's not sharing valuable parenting tips, Emily is exploring Richmond with her children or diving into her hobby of photography.

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