It depends on the type. Because crackers are common choking hazards and tend to contain high amounts of sodium, it is best to wait until after the first birthday to share soft crackers (styles that melt in the mouth or easily crumble when gently pressed like Goldfish crackers, Ritz crackers, Saltines, and water biscuits, among others). Hard, brittle, or sharp crackers should be reserved for when a child has more advanced eating skills, typically around 24 months of age. Before serving any cracker to a baby or toddler, first make sure it is not stale, as the consistency of stale crackers can heighten the choking risk.
Note: Crackers often contain common allergens like dairy, egg, sesame, soy, tree nut, and wheat, and may contain honey, which should not be offered to babies under 12 months of age as it is associated with a risk of infant botulism.
Make sure to serve crackers in an age-appropriate way, as they are named as a potential choking hazard for babies and toddlers.
Crackers are consumed worldwide in many forms, such as crispbread, graham crackers, kropek (prawn crackers), matzah, oat cake, and papadum. Some are leavened with baking soda, while others are unleavened. Some cracker varieties are “docked” before baking, which means they are poked with holes so that they don’t puff up too much in the heat, helping them stay flat and crispy. Crackers can be made of almond flour, puffed rice, wheat flour, and much more. Many are served with a cheese or spread, while others are offered on the side of a meal for dipping.
Kalani, 7 months, eats mashed peas spread on a teething rusk.
Anjani, 14 months, eats a Ritz cracker.
It depends on the type. Teething rusks and other infant crackers and biscuits are generally safe, but offer very little nutritional value on their own. Consider serving infant crackers or biscuits with nutrient-dense spreads and dips to boost baby’s fat and nutrient intake.
Depending on the type, crackers can offer various B vitamins, folate, and a dash of iron into a toddler’s diet, and when they are made with whole grains, they can offer lots of fiber for digestive health. However, many crackers contain honey, which should not be offered to babies because it is associated with a risk of infant botulism.
Yes. Crackers are a common choking hazard, and most styles are firm and sharp, which can make them more challenging to chew and more likely to scratch or poke a child’s mouth. To reduce the risk, serve age-appropriate styles of cracker to baby, make sure the crackers are not stale, and make sure the child is seated and focused while eating. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of the child during meals. For more information on choking, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.
Yes. Crackers are commonly made with wheat and other gluten-containing grains, and may contain other common allergens such as dairy, peanut, sesame, soy, tree nuts, and others. Read any ingredient label carefully before serving.
Prior to sharing crackers with baby, it is important to introduce common food allergens and rule out an allergy before serving those allergens together in a prepared food. This way, you’ll be able to identify which allergen is responsible if baby has a reaction. Then, when you are ready to offer crackers, you will be confident that the child has already safely eaten any common food allergens in the food.
As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
Hold off on serving thicker-style puffed rice cakes until 18 months of age and the child has more mature eating skills. That said, babies can have thin-style puffed rice cakes as soon as they are developmentally ready for solids, around 6 months of age, since these soften readily on contact with saliva, which reduces choking risk. When possible, look for thin, soft multi-grain cakes. Note that any kind of puffed rice cake can become more challenging to eat when stale.
No. In general, crackers tend to be low in fiber, which slows the processes of digestion and pooping. Remember that pooping patterns can vary significantly from baby to baby. If you have concerns about baby’s pooping and digestive function, talk to your pediatric healthcare provider.
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience.
Opt for teething rusks and other styles of crackers or biscuits that are made for infants, and avoid crackers that are harder, sharper, or very high in sodium. Infant crackers are safer for babies because they are thin, lack sharp edges, and tend to melt in the mouth as baby eats. Make sure that they are not stale, as the consistency of stale crackers can change and become more challenging. You can also offer thin-style puffed rice cakes, but hold off on thick rice cakes until baby is older, as they pose a higher choking risk. Consider serving infant crackers with nutrient-dense dips or spreads such as mashed avocado, hummus, or pureed beans to boost baby’s nutrient intake. Hold off on serving other styles of cracker at this age due to choking risk.
Serve soft crackers that do not have sharp edges and soften on contact with saliva. These include cream crackers, oyster crackers, papadam, and water biscuits, among others. Crackers in the style of Goldfish crackers, Ritz crackers, and Saltines also work for this age. Some crackers can be quite high in sodium, so aim to serve these in moderation. Hold off on serving hard, brittle crackers and biscuits with sharp edges at this age due to the choking risk.
Serve soft crackers like cream crackers, papadam, water biscuits, crackers in the style of Ritz, Saltines, and Goldfish, and others that melt in the mouth to minimize the risk of choking. Many toddlers enjoy dipping, so consider serving crackers with a dip. Wait to offer hard crackers with sharp edges like bagel chips, tortilla chips, Triscuit crackers, Wheat Thin crackers, and others until the toddler has developed more mature eating skills (including taking manageable bites, thoroughly chewing food, and safely swallowing). Make sure the child is seated in a safe eating environment, as eating while distracted, talking, running, or playing greatly increases choking risk.
Toddler demanding only crackers and snacks? See our guide on Toddler Food Refusal.
2 c (480 ml)
Always check for potential allergens in ingredients listed on the labels of store-bought processed foods, such as teething rusks. Added ingredients may include honey, which should not be given to babies younger than 12 months.
Rinse the beans to remove excess sodium.
Zest and juice the lime.
Chop the cilantro leaves and their stems.
Blend the beans, lime zest, lime juice, oil, cilantro, and cumin. A high-powered food processor or blender speeds up this step. If you don’t have one, mash and mix the ingredients by hand. A little texture is okay as long as there are no whole beans.
Spread a thin layer of dip on a teething rusk for baby. Season the rest of the dip with salt to taste for yourself and enjoy with your favorite cracker.
Serve the Dip
Offer the teething rusk and let the child self-feed.
If help is needed, hold the teething rusk in the air in front of the child, then let them grab it from you.
Eat dip alongside the child to model how it’s done.
To Store: Black Bean Dip keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 2 months.
Pediatrician & pediatric gastroenterologist
Pediatrician & pediatric allergist/immunologist
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Pediatric registered dietitian & nutritionist
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