What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies in Toddlers?

By April Lee
Precious Toddler image by Mary Beth Granger from Fotolia.com

On average, food allergies occur in about one out of 18 toddlers. The most common food allergies in toddlers are from foods like milk, peanut butter, soy, wheat and eggs. Most of the symptoms of food allergies in toddlers are mild, but severe allergic reactions can cause serious medical problems and possibly death. Toddlers should be watched carefully for signs and symptoms of food allergies.

Skin Problems

The most common signs of food allergies in toddlers are skin related. Sometimes eczema, which is a red, scaly, itchy rash, is the only visible symptom of a food allergy and will disappear once the food is removed from the toddler's diet. Toddlers also can develop welts and hives, and experience itching, tingling, redness and swelling around the lips and throat.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Food allergies in toddlers can cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms include excess gas, constipation and nausea. An allergy to cow's milk often can cause blood or mucus to appear in the stool.

Cold-like Symptoms

Food allergies in toddlers can create symptoms that resemble a cold virus. Toddlers experiencing an allergic reaction may have watery eyes, respiratory problems, stuffy noses, ear infections and asthma attacks.


Food allergies can cause colic in some toddlers. Colic is categorized by excessive fussiness, crying and an oversensitivity to stimulation. Toddlers with colic may clench their fists, draw up their legs and have distended stomachs.

Anaphylatic shock

Anaphylatic shock is a severe allergic reaction that occurs within two hours of the toddler eating a food she has developed an allergy to. Anaphylatic shock is categorized by swelling, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Toddlers also may have a rapid heartbeat, become extremely pale or red and lose consciousness.Toddlers experiencing anaphylatic shock should be taken to the emergency room immediately.

About the Author

April Lee started writing professionally in 2009. She is the marketing writer for an independently owned cheese business. She attended the University of North Texas and majored in English.