Dr. Kristie Rivers is an Attending Physician, Assistant Medical Director of the Pediatric Hospitalist Program, and Director of Pediatric Medical Education at a children’s hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
It’s party time! The 1-year-old birthday party is a major event in your family’s life, even if your baby isn’t quite sure what all the fuss is about. Still, many families love planning and throwing a party for their soon-to-be toddler. Bundoo Pediatrician, Dr. Kristie Rivers, gives some tips to keep the party safe.
Bundoo: Birthday parties are known for cake and candles — how many pictures have you seen of a 1-year-old in a diaper, digging into a huge slice of cake? Is there any real problem with allowing your 1-year-old to fill up on cake for this special event?
Dr. Kristie Rivers: First birthdays are an exciting celebration for the whole family. And there’s no reason for your baby to miss out on all the fun. By one year of age, your baby can eat pretty much whatever you eat, including cake! And while you don’t want to give him or her an unlimited amount, a little bit of cake on the first birthday will do no harm. If you are concerned about all the sugar and other ingredients, you can always make your own “healthier” version using substitute sweeteners like applesauce.
Are there are any fun activities that babies this age enjoy and that would make good (and safe) party activities?
Many parents feel the need to go all out on the first birthday, spending endless time and money planning a few hours of elaborate fun that your baby will never remember. However, a few simple activities are all you need to keep your baby and guests entertained. Block off a central area and put a few age-appropriate toys inside, then set up chairs so your guests can relax and watch all the fun. Set up a foam ball pit and let the kids go. Buy a few bottles of bubbles for hours of fun — bubbles are a hit at any age!
Are there are common party foods that you think should be avoided because they’re unsafe?
At this age, be sure to avoid all of the common choking hazards. Never serve popcorn, marshmallows, raisins, or nuts. Also avoid grapes, cherry tomatoes, and hotdogs, which are extremely dangerous for young children. Be aware that babies under the age of one should not have honey, so if there are younger party guests, avoid all honey-containing foods.
What are some of the really fun party ideas you’ve heard of for the first birthday?
I think it depends on your priorities and lifestyle. Babies will never remember the decorations or cake, so these extras are more for the adults and the pictures. There is nothing wrong with a simple party with family and a few close friends to celebrate this special day. Babies at this age may get easily overwhelmed if there is too much going on. Of course for those who want to go all out, elaborate decorations and dress up characters will create a memorable day, for the parents and guests at least!