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Can Toddlers and Kids Eat Sushi? Is It Safe?

Many parents love sushi, and even love going out for sushi. If you’re into it, then you understand how much of a treat it can be for the family, and a healthy option when going out to eat. It can be expensive, but it’s worth it.

But the game changes once you have a small child involved in the family outings, you have to make sure where you go out to eat has kid-friendly options. On top of that, your child has to like what you’re going out to eat for.

Do kids like sushi? Can they even eat it, and if not what age is safe for children to eat raw fish or sushi? Parents who are avid sushi lovers have to keep these questions in mind when they’re going out for sushi.

If not grabbing some sushi to go, or, going for a date night for sushi when your children are at the babysitter’s is always a way to keep your sushi date night alive with your partner.

What Is Sushi?

For anyone who hasn’t had sushi before, its ever-growing popularity in the United States might be what brought you to this page. Many people are truly beginning to love sushi, and some wish to give it to their children.

Sushi is usually raw fish, veggies, all wrapped up in shari (sushi rice). The common theme between all prepared sushi is sushi rice, while the raw fish included in the sushi dish can change often, but the rice remains the big hit of the dish.

The rice is prepared in vinegar, sugar, and salt. Many people love sushi because of the beautiful colors, and style of the dish – the variations of raw fish coupled with sorts of veggies is appealing to the eye.

The History of Sushi In Japan and How It Became Popular in the United States

Originally sushi was created in South Asia, at that time it had a different name than today.

Sushi in its original form was called narezushi, it served a great purpose at a time when refrigerators were not readily available for all households in South Asia.

The rice and fish were combined in vinegar to be fermented and stored for months at a time. This helped people keep fish on the table all year round since it was possible to keep it good for so long.

At that time the rice would be discarded but the fish was eaten by civilians.

Over many centuries, plus many more evolutions of the raw fish and rice dish, it eventually was added to the Oxford Dictionary meaning that it was a part of the American culture by the year 1893.

Since then it has grown tons of popularity and is eating today all over the United States. It is served at many different price-points, so any family can enjoy it regardless of wealth status.

restaurant serving sushi

How Is Sushi Served In The United States

It’s no doubt that sushi is rapidly becoming loved by families across the United States, it’s everywhere.

Find it in four-star restaurants, supermarkets, college dorms, and being served at weddings. You can’t miss that sushi is becoming one of the most popular foods for all types of people across the states.

While it is served with vinegar rice, raw fish of your choice, and a side of dipping sauce or wasabi. It’s fairly customizable, sushi bars provide rotating trays of sushi, that contain any type of seafood thought of from crab to raw salmon.

American Sushi vs Japanese Sushi

If you’re in America, you will find that Japanese sushi is much better than American sushi – it’s made with actual fresh fish. The fish is delivered to the restaurant daily, served within hours. American sushi is not as good, but continually getting better.

If you’re out with the family, definitely look for a Japanese sushi bar within your price range.

How much do you love Sushi

Everyone has a price point but, some are higher than others. The biggest price ever paid for tuna was $83,500 and the longest sushi roll ever made was 4,381ft.

Now just how much do Americans love sushi? You tell me…

At What Age Is It Safe For A Toddler To Eat Raw Fish?

In the United States feeding raw fish to your children is generally not acceptable, the concern lies in the potential for children being particularly susceptible to worms, parasites, and other bacteria that is potentially in uncooked fish.

The advised age to wait to introduce raw fish to your child is 5-6 years old at the youngest, and if possible wait until they are even older to give them any type of sushi.

If You Choose To Feed Sushi To Your Little One, Follows These Guidelines

Some parents, especially those who hold beliefs from another culture from another country – might wish to feed their children sushi since it is a part of their culture.

For these families, it’s best for them to find sources in the United States that do not pose as much risk to being infected with worms or such.

You can find a reputable source by looking online for the best sushi sources in your state.

Be sure to do the research necessary to feed a child sushi, as shellfish poisoning is a possibility from restaurants that do not have clean hygiene or order their fish from poor sources.

You can call the sushi house plan on visiting to ask where they order their fish from if you’d like to. Owners are generally upfront and kind of about their sources, especially if it’s very fresh.

sushi tray

The best type of sushi to order for children

Some of the common fish included in sushi are:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Octopus
  • Crab
  • Swordfish
  • Scallop
  • Trout
  • Eel
  • Flatfish
  • Squid

There are also other fish in sushi. You should be sure to ask your waiter what type of fish is in any of the dishes that you see. If you aren’t sure what to order for your child, you could always go with one of the most loved fish like, salmon or tuna.

Many people are just starting off with eating sushi begin with a dish called sashimi. It would be the best dish to start your child out with because it has thin slices of fish, not bigger chunks.

Your child also has the choice of the California Roll which is just a paste of cooked fish inside. So there is no risk of shellfish poisoning involved with eating it.

Are There Vegetarian Options At a Restaurant That Serves Sushi

Yes, often there will be a vegetarian option of a roll to go along with the sushi bar experience if you don’t eat fish. You can get a roll that resembles a sushi roll. That’s really only filled with vegetables like cucumber, carrots, with a bit of rice.

Don’t be shy! Ask your waiter if your toddler can try a few of these as a warmup to the real deal. If they see the display first and like it, they will be more likely to graduate to the fish version next time around.

If You Don’t Want Your Child to Have Raw Fish Ask For Tempura or Breaded Cooked Fish

Take your time to look over the menu ahead of time. Most restaurants offer menus online.

This way you can see if there are any dishes that say ‘tempura’ this means that it is lightly cooked. The fish in a tempura dish is breaded and then deep-fried lightly. Kids love this option.

Since most kids have eaten some form of fish sticks at home, they generally like to eat breaded fish while at a sushi restaurant. Many families love to go out to sushi for the experience, not just the food.

Is Wasabi Good for Children? It’s A Common Side At Sushi Restaurants

If you’re not sure whether to let your daughter or son dip their sushi roll in a bit of wasabi, look no further.


Wasabi is okay to give your child in very small portions, and not all the time. It should be introduced after a toddler has been eating solid foods for a long time.

When introducing a food such as Wasabi, give a very tiny amount first to see if your toddler can manage the flavor. If they love it, great! If they don’t, encourage your child to rinse it down with water or juice and continue eating.

Wasabi has an abundance of health benefits for children including antimicrobial properties, anti-inflammatory properties, prevent cavities, boosts digestion, and naturally sanitizes the body.

Do Babies In Japan Eat Sushi At A Young Age?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), sushi doesn’t have to be technically delayed any longer than 4-6 months of age.

So it is seen as safe to introduce at a very young age. In Japan, like many other countries babies will eat what mom and dad are having, a lot of the time this means sushi.

As long as a baby is healthy, there is no serious risk in introducing shellfish or raw fish to your baby. This is the case, no matter where you are in the world.

In fact, a baby’s first meal is a major celebration in Japan, called Okuizome (first eating) and it’s a beautiful dish with a variety of fishes and sticky rice.

They offer the baby a biting stone to encourage healthy tooth growth and eating habits for the baby. The first meal of raw fish is prided in Japan and a tradition in families.

It really is up to you as a parent to decide when your baby or toddler is allowed to eat raw fish.

Whatever you feel comfortable with is fine, you can introduce it before one year or wait until school age. As long as the dish does not pose a choking risk, your baby can eat it.

Keep These Safety Tips In Mind When Offering Your Baby Sushi

Going out for sushi with your toddler is meant to fun, relaxing, and special. And you should do your best to enjoy yourself and not worry about negative possibilities.

But, there are certain things to avoid taking an extra step in the right direction. To avoid shellfish poisoning and mercury poisoning.

Limit mercury intake and opt for fish that is low in mercury

If your child will be eating sushi often, then be attentive to limit the high mercury foods to less than 12oz a week.

The type of fish that are high in mercury include; shark, sea bass, tilefish, as well King Mackerel all contain noticeable amounts of mercury.

Bluefin, “Big Eye,” and white albacore tuna contain the most mercury and should be completely avoided for kids.

raw shellfish

Don’t partake in raw shellfish

This is one of the riskiest of raw fish to eat, it could be potentially contaminated with foodborne illness more easily than the other options as well. Be sure to ask if raw shellfish are included in the dish you order if you’re unsure.

In Conclusion

It’s very much up to each individual family when their young child will have sushi or raw fish. The American Association of Pediatrics does not advise against it, stating that there are potentially no safety concerns.

Yet, parents still have concerns due to their own research on the topic. You must do what feels comfortable for you in the end. Make an informed choice, and don’t push your toddler to eat raw fish if they don’t want to.

There is plenty of ways to enjoy a sushi outing with your family while leaving out the raw fish for your younger children. The experience is always more important than the food consumed when going out with your child.


Sushi – Wikipedia

New To Sushi A Simple Guide To Eating Sushi for Beginners

Sushi in America

Health Benefits Wasabi Children

When Can Your Child Eat Sushi and Raw Fish