Avoiding allergens can be harder than you think.
Here are my tips to keep your child safe:
Ensure that you have the support of a medical team if your child has a food allergy, and seek support from a qualified children’s dietitian for diet advice.
Food Labels – Within the EU food labels should clearly list foods that are considered one of the 14 commonly found food allergens, and they should therefore be highlighted in bold or italic writing. Be cautious however if you are out of the EU as labels may be different.
May contain / made in a factory containing …… – you may see packaging state this, which means there is a potential risk of cross contamination, however not all children need to avoid these foods, and you should ask your Dietitian.
Assess what your child can reach and put in their mouth around the home.
Depending on how severe an allergy is, you may need to discuss your child’s needs in depth with your childcare provider, for example are other children eating allergens, or putting toys in their mouth after eating them? Are children all using the same blown toys such as whistles? Can the childcare provider provide meals according to your child’s dietary needs?
When eating out, call the restaurant ahead to check whether they have suitable options and are aware of cross contamination. Check that highchairs provided have been cleaned properly. Ensure staff are aware of your child’s allergy every time you visit, even if you have been there before.
Ensure good handwashing before eating.
Make sure friends and family are aware of your child’s allergy, as some children can react from touching or kissing a person who has come into contact with an allergen.
Be prepared – if your child’s allergic reactions require medical treatment, ensure that these are always with your child, particularly when eating.
Look online for allergen free recipe ideas
Allergy UK is a good online resource for reliable allergy information.
If you have any questions or would like some support, please get in touch or comment.