Feeding peanut products to babies may prevent the development of peanut allergies, according to new guidelines from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.\nUnder the new guidelines, parents should introduce peanut products to children as young as 4 months old to help build immunity to the allergy.\nThe guidelines are a departure from older recommendations to parents: In 2000, many doctors advised parents to wait until their children were toddlers before introducing peanut-based products into their diet.\nRELATED:\u00a0The First Year: Vaccination Schedule for Babies\n\u201cReally, since 2008, the guidelines have been that you don\u2019t need to delay [introducing peanuts into your children\u2019s diet],\u201d Todd Green, MD, of Children\u2019s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC\u00a0said. \u201cWe really want parents to feel like they can forge ahead.\u201d\nAllergies to peanuts are among the most common food allergies, causing symptoms that range from mild to life-threatening. The allergy often develops during childhood and persists through adulthood. Babies who experience severe eczema\u00a0or\u00a0egg allergies\u00a0are most at risk.\nDr. Green said doctors at Children\u2019s Hospital conduct \u201cfood challenges\u201d for babies at high risk of developing peanut allergies. The testing method is the most accurate way to determine if a child has a food allergy.\nDuring a food challenge, doctors feed babies a serving size of a particular food and monitor them for an allergic reaction. If no reaction takes place, the child may be able to eat a larger portion of that food type.\n\u201cWhat we\u2019ve found is that you\u2019re probably doing more harm than good by delaying peanut products,\u201d Dr. Green said.\nDr. Green, director of the Food Allergy Center at Children\u2019s Hospital, said most parents can begin introducing peanut-based products to babies around 6 months of age. Actual peanuts may be a choking hazard, and parents should consult with their pediatrician on the appropriate age to first feed them to children.\nFor more, visit the website for Children\u2019s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.