Cooking for children can be difficult especially if you have a fussy child when it comes to food. This can double up if your child is unfortunate enough to suffer from food allergies. The following is to help guide parents with allergic children to keep them as safe as possible.
There are 8 main food allergens that you should be aware of,
- Tree nuts (almonds, chestnuts, walnuts)
- Shellfish (Lobster, Crab, Shrimp)
Naturally, you want to know if your child is allergic to any of these foods before they try them. Free allergen testing for children is available through the NHS and, if you haven’t already, this should be your first step.
So, with your child’s health in mind, here are a few food safety tips for allergic children,
- Use the NHS - If you haven’t had your child tested for allergies then it’s important to spot symptoms of reactions and take appropriate measures. Most allergic reactions are uncomfortable but ultimately harmless (rash, itchiness, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, tingling in mouth or throat) and can be dealt with by seeing your local doctor. However, if your child is also struggling to breathe, this might be a sign of Anaphylaxis, in which case you should contact 999 immediately.
- General Food Safety - Young children are more susceptible to food poisoning from bacteria spread across foods which can be easily forgotten in the rush of supermarket shopping or preparing a family meal after a long day at work. It’s little things that all add up, such as correctly storing food in your fridge and the order in which you do your shopping, meaning that cross-contamination doesn’t happen before making it back to the house.
- Communication - If your child is allergic to certain types of food then it’s important to make sure they understand this as early as possible. Whenever he/she is left in someone else’s care (nursery, pre-school etc), it’s vital to inform that person of those allergies. Most child-care services will have some kind of form that you fill out with your child’s details and will include a section where you can list allergies but it’s always best to double-check.