Why should babies and toddlers avoid sweet snacks, including fruit, in the evening?
If given too close to bedtime, sugary snacks can affect sleep patterns, explains Dr Natalie Epton, a specialist paediatrician and neonatologist.
They can also lead to behavioural problems, ranging from hyperactivity, inattention to crankiness, in many young children.
Babies should not take any food with added sugar – including gummies or any kind of sweets – until after they turn 12 months old at least.
Even then, be careful not to give them too much processed or refined sugar.
Look out for “hidden” sugars on product labels, such as fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (milk sugar), corn syrup and maltose.
Although fruits are generally regarded as healthy snacks, many contain high levels of fructose.
Children do vary in their response to sugar intake. “My three kids usually have fruits after dinner and are fast asleep around an hour later. It depends on what your children are used to, and their metabolism,” says Dr Epton.
Younger kids are more likely to respond badly, whereas older children are more tolerant. Don’t forget to brush their teeth before bedtime, too.