For adults, Valentine's Day is known as a day to show your love. But for kids, it's nothing more than a way to rack up as much candy as possible. If you think about it, Valentine's Day is kind of like a smaller version of Halloween in the eyes of most children (and some adults, too). Since my niece is at the age where she recognizes the holiday, my sister and brother-in-law want to make sure they sending the right candy to her daycare in goodie bags, which is why wondering if candy hearts are safe for toddlers is on the top of their list right now.
Although there are a few different brands who make candy hearts, NECCO is the original maker of the candy hearts, with the first round being produced back in the late 1800s. Even with longevity in mind, one still has to question if consumption for toddlers is safe or not.
According to BabyCenter, you shouldn't introduce your child to hard candies until they are 4 years old. Hard candies can easily be a choking hazard, because children are not able to properly chew them and they slip down the throat easily. Since candy hearts are considered hard candies, straying away from these would be your best bet when it comes to giving them to your toddler. The site also noted that parents shouldn't be introducing sweets and sugary sodas into their child's diet until after the age of two. Children need healthy diets to help fuel their speedy growth and inserting too many empty calories can harm that.
Another thing to note when deciding if you're comfortable with giving your toddler candy hearts is if they have a peanut allergy. Since most brands are produced in a facility where nut based products are also manufactured, you'll want to ensure you've researched the product's process. As for NECCO's candy hearts, Snack Safely noted that while the candy hearts are produced on a nut/tree nut-free line, they are manufactured in a facility where nuts are processed. In this case, candy hearts wouldn't be safe for your child to consume.
So, if you're thinking of looking to make some goodie bags to send with your toddler or if you're expecting them to receive them this Valentine's Day, be sure to remove all of the hard candies. And yes, that includes the heart candies, too.