If you have a young child with food allergies, you might be wondering how to talk to them about it in a way that is helpful and informative without being overwhelming or frightening. The good news is there are several tips to help communicate with your child in an effective way that will help keep them safe.
Make Sure Your Child Knows Safe Foods vs Unsafe Foods
In their younger years, it is best to keep rules around food as simple as possible. Let them know that there are foods they can have that are OK to eat as well as foods that they can’t have because they will trigger their allergy symptoms. You can call them safe foods and unsafe foods, or yes foods and no foods, depending on what’s most understandable.
Tell Them to Only Accept Food from Certain People
Another simple instruction to help keep your child safe is to tell them that they can only have food if it is given to them by you or another approved adult who you know is aware of your child’s allergies and knows what to do during an allergic reaction. This can be another parent, family member or babysitter that you trust. Tell your child that any food given to them by other people not be safe and is not allowed unless they ask you about it first.
Make Sure Your Child Can Identify Their Food Allergens
As your child gets older and they spend more time away from you, like in school or over at a friend’s house, it becomes important for them to be able to identify their allergens on their own.
While children can be allergic to any food, research shows that the foods responsible for 90% of adverse reactions are:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts
- Fish and shellfish
- Crustaceans and cephalopods
Take them with you when you go shopping at Worcester Public Market to point out foods that contain their allergens. It’s also important to teach them how to read labels as they get older, as many common allergens are in foods you may not initially consider.
With the right knowledge and treatment plan, children can understand their food allergies and stay safe and live normal, happy lives.
If you would like more information or to schedule an appointment with an allergist, call ENT Associates of Worcester today.