Monday 23 March 2015

Read All About It: Why Toddler Groups Should Stop Serving Juice

Last week, it was reported last week that a third of all five year olds have tooth decay in their milk teeth. Just a week before that it was reported that over a thousand under-twos had to be hospitalised for rotten teeth in 2014. For many of these young children, sugary drinks were to blame.

Sugary drinks such as fruit juices, cordials and even fizzy drinks are given to young children on a regular basis. Whilst most parents are horrified at the thought of fizzy drinks like coke being given to toddlers, many wouldn’t think twice before offering their kids a drink of fruit cordial. A glass of orange juice, which many parents think of as healthy, can contain as many as seven teaspoons as sugar, making it as bad for your teeth as coke.

Experts recommend giving your children only fruit juice and milk until they are three years old, and yet, many of the toddler and baby groups in my local area continue to offer squash as standard. I think they’d be hard stuck to claim ignorance, surely we’re all aware that fruit juices and cordials are bad for teeth now?

So why do these groups continue to offer fruit juices and cordials? I’ve given it a lot of thought, and the only reason I can think of is simply because they always have. And why bother changing in light of new information or discovery? Except of course, that is how we progress. Many groups have already moved away from offering these sugar packed drinks at snack time, and I think it’s time that the remaining dinosaurs did the same.

It is, of course, up to parents how they feed their kids. But information is important, and by offering juices and cordials, these groups interfere with the information provided by health workers, dentists and Sure Start Centres telling parents about the dangers of these sugary drinks. And, just because some kids have cordials at home, doesn’t mean they need to have them all the time. Surely these groups should be aiming for the gold standard as a way of setting a good example, and kids should be offered water and fruit rather than the sadly typical juice and biscuit. The kids are going to enjoy themselves anyway, they don’t go for the juice, they go for the toys.

What do you think, does your local toddler group serve juice as standard? Or is water a given at your local haunts?


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