Is it okay to give my 2 1/2-year-old candy and gum?
When I'm asked when children can have candy and gum, my usual reply is "Why are you in a hurry to offer these items?" They offer no nutritional value and can take the place of more nutritious snacks. They are also a potential cause of tooth decay.
Gum is not advised for children younger than 3 to 4 years of age because of the concern of choking. Even a small piece could be swallowed incorrectly and cause choking. If choking does not occur and your child swallows the gum, it is not harmful in small amounts. However, many brands of gum and some candies contain sorbitol, which can cause abdominal pain if ingested regularly.
If you and your husband have candy and gum often, your child will obviously want to try them. This may be a good time for you to change some eating habits also. Good luck!