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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

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Food Allergies in Children

If your children have food allergies, you spend considerable time and energy worrying about their safety and taking special steps to protect them every day.   You’re not alone.  The CDC estimates that more than three million children have food allergies, with the most common offenders being nuts, dairy, wheat, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish.

Sending kids with allergies to school, summer camp, a playdate or birthday party can be nerve-wracking as you worry that your child will eat something that will trigger a reaction.  You’ll feel more comfortable if you take the following precautions:

  • Communicate your child’s allergies clearly.  Teachers, camp counselors, nannies and other parents need to know exactly what your child can and can’t eat.   Explain safe substitutions – such as soy cheese instead of dairy cheese for a dairy-allergic child.
  • Advocate the importance of reading ingredient labels.  If your child is allergic to nuts, people will immediately understand that he can’t have peanut butter.  But promote the necessity of reading ingredients labels for less obvious culprits, such as baked goods, which are sometimes made with nuts or nut oils.
  • Provide safe snacks for your child.  If your dairy-allergic child is attending a birthday party, send her with a non-dairy cupcake to enjoy while the other guests are eating birthday cake.
  • Explain what to do if the child eats an offending food.  Does he need a shot of epinephrine?  Explain where the device is and how to use it.  Will the child have intestinal symptoms, like diarrhea or vomiting?  Break out in hives? Will their allergic reaction be severe enough that it will warrant a trip to the emergency room?  If your child has severe allergies, write an action plan in case of emergency, and be sure your nanny has immediate access to this information.

With some careful planning and clear communication, you can keep your food-allergic child safe at school, camp and other social activities.

Do you have tips that worked for your family?

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1 comment to Food Allergies in Children

  • We struggled with our Autistic child until we were able to get him on a strict Gluten Free Diet. That was not very easy as the choices are limited and do not taste all that great. However we found a company called Hope Food Sciences and found some delicious items that have made it much easier.

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