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At what age can a child start eating sushi?

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  • brooklynmasala Nov 22, 2005 02:03 PM
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What is a safe age that a child can eat sushi?

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  1. Technically after one year old. However the US has all kids of warnings about uncooked seafood/meats since food related illnesses impact the very young and the elderly much harder than a healthy adult. Personally I have had no issue with my son eating rare meat or sushi since he started eating solid foods.

    1. What did your pediatrician say?

      1. We took our son to a sushi bar when he was about one year old - figured if he could handle lox, he could handle sushi. He grew up to be an adventurous eater, and at 24, still loves sushi.

        2 Replies
        1. re: LBQT

          Lox is preserved with salt, some sushi is raw - big difference from the perspective of being a good medium for bacteria growth. Of course, a good sushiya would never serve raw items that were going bad - but I would be careful about the shopping market packages that have been sitting there all day. I would also be careful about feeding a person with a less capable immune system (ie, child) raw shellfish, even at a sushi bar - a much higher chance of something bad happening that might not have been detected esp. by an untrained burb dude.

          1. re: applehome

            I agree with everything you said - we're on the west coast and stuck with our tried and true well trained, straight from the old country, professional sushi chef, so risk was minimal.

        2. My 3 yr old will eat a single piece of salmon sushi, then politely wait for her order of 6 dumpums (dumplings).

          1. Obviously I wouldn't order sushi for myself or my son at any place I didn't trust, but, working on the general assumption that shit happens, I hadn't been letting my son have it. My thinking was that while none of us would particularly enjoy food poisoning, that it could be particularly dangerous in a very little one both because of his less developed immune system and because little kids can get dangerously dehydrated so easily.

            That said, at his 4 year check-up, I asked the pediatrician if he could start having raw fish sushi. The doctor hemmed and hawed a bit, pointing out that sushi was never risk free. Then he mentioned that he (the doctor) loves sushi. So I asked at what age he started letting his kids have it and he said around my son's age.

            All of which is a long, roundabout way of saying that 4 seems to be ok. Earlier might be fine, too. I probably wouldn't even think of giving it to a kid younger than 2 1/2 or 3, not out of any official medical advice, but because of my fear of the possible effect of a bad piece.

            But as long as there's no raw fish involved, I think you can start as soon as they can handle the texture of the food. Note that the seaweed sheets used in rolls can be hard for little kids to chew properly and swallow. My son has gagged more than once and he's not a gagger/choker/vomiter. I keep a very close eye on him.

            1. Another caveat - it's not just the raw fish which could cause problems, but the rice as well.

              Rice is notorious for being a carrier of food borne illness and I know from experience. Apparently, when cooked, and then cooled and held improperly, a particular type of bacteria multiplies in huge quantities very rapidly, the name escapes me.

              I had the misfortune of this happening recently and while not from a reputable sushi restaurant, you still never know and I wouldn't want to wish that experience on a toddler.

              Laurie

              1 Reply
              1. re: sivyaleah

                Bacillus cereus, or "B. serious," as we jokingly called it in med school to help us remember it. The reason that I don't let leftover rice sit very long (past cooling overnight, to make fried rice).

              2. I am of the opinion, verified by my family full of doctors, that children should NEVER eat raw fish or seafood.

                It isn't such a great idea for adults either because of parasites and hepatitis C issues.

                I know it is very much the "in" thing, but I don't allow it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Fleur

                  Too bad b/c you're missing out...

                  1. re: Fleur

                    Everything can possibly kill you. Life without raw seafood would be a sad one indeed.

                  2. Your kid is not a skateboard.

                    Don't make him do tricks.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MidtownCoog

                      How is having a child eat sushi equate with making them do tricks? My son loves sushi thru no cajoling on our part. He started with basic rolls like California and shrimp and them moved on to more advanced. Kids eat what they see their parents eat and enjoy.

                      Now forcing a kid to play piano in front of the relatives when they clearly don't want to is beyond cruel...

                      1. re: foodiex2

                        As long as no cajoling is involved, it's cool.

                        That was my concern.

                        We can't keep our 2 y/o away from hotsauce, so these things do happen naturally.

                        She just learned from us.

                    2. just curious: are there any pediatricians of japanese origin out there to weigh in?

                      1. In Japan we start eating sushi as soon as solid foods are able to be consumed. BUT...this is not Japan. My niece started eating california rolls, futomaki, maguro, ikura, ebi, and ika at 1 1/2. She will be 3 in March. We always scored the nori into tiny sections so there was no chance of choking, gagging, etc. Everything else we proportioned into manageable pieces, esp things like ika. We never gave her nigiri whole. Even now, with her full mouth of teeth, we still cut into manageable bites the ika and tako, everything else she can manage on her own. Use your best judgement. Eat at reputable places and if you are nervous about it, skip it.

                        1. The biggest problem i forsee is cost. Starting them at such an early age can be quite costly.

                          1. I have always been a throw-caution-to-the-wind kind of eater, but let me offer you this.

                            This summer, my strapping, incredibly healthy 6'2', 220 pound power-lifter/cyclist husband caught some sort of food-borne (we think) pathogen, and I swear, I thought it would kill him. He was DESPERATELY sick, high fever, high heart rate, unable to keep anything on his stomach, not even water. He lost 20 pounds in 5 days. In the middle of the 2nd night, he woke me up w/ instructions on what to tell the ER if I had to take him in. He was weakened and had GI abnormalities for about 6 weeks afterward.

                            This experience opened my eyes a bit toward food poisoning. IMO, I would err on the side of caution until a child was at least old enough to have some body weight they could afford to loose, and had the verbal ability to tell you if they were in really bad shape. I am convinced that whatever Jeff had, it would have killed a small child or an elderly person.

                            1. I just give my kids (now 5 and 3) any cooked sushi, there are a lot of choices - and they love it. When I asked my son what he wanted to eat for lunch, he said sushi.
                              So their favorite right now is tamago, and they like handrolls, and can eat California rolls and lots of special rolls.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Hungry Girl

                                Of course you can feed them anything without raw seafood preparations. I would consult a pediatrician for any dietary advice rather then getting it from this board if I were you. All the best.

                              2. Ok , i have a one year old and i am also a Sushi chef. i have read a lot of comments (some misguided) on the net about this subject and i think i can clear a few things up. first off Salmon has to be frozen for minimum 48 hours before being served to kill any parasites . Tuna on the other hand often contains parasites that we have to cut out before serving it to customers , the amount of mercury in a few ounces of tuna is negligible. Spicy tuna or ground tuna often comes frozen and is gassed with carbon monoxide to make it stay pink and has to have any excess water removed from after thawing before being served. Most Sush fish i is farmed and is fed antibiotics and steroids.Funny thing is i see very few threads from concerned parents about feeding their kids processed meat full of nasty stuff like hormones antibiotics and steroids . you decide . i don't give my boy meat but i do feed him certain sushi predominantly wild clean fish that i or my sushi chef colleagues prepare .

                                1. I'm not sure I was even a year old when I first ate sushi. Look at it this way, Most if not all Japanese children usually eat their first sashimi by their first birthday and they live very healthy lives.