In addition to challenges with picky eating or food aversions, another issue parents are often concerned about is food allergies. Depending on the severity of the allergy, exposure to certain foods can be life-threatening. The last thing you want to do is put your child in a dangerous situation. May is Food Allergy Action Month, so we’re taking a few minutes to review helpful strategies for managing food allergies.
First and foremost, know your child. Work with their pediatrician or allergist to determine exactly what they are allergic to and what foods to avoid. Also educate yourself about ingredients to be alert for and check labels on foods and medications. Your child may not have exactly the same reaction as another child, so learn the warning signs. It’s a great idea to have them wear a medic alert bracelet identifying their allergy.
Educate others your child spends time with. Let them know what foods are safe and what to avoid. Teach them how to respond should your child have an allergic reaction to something. Do they take Benadryl or have an EpiPen? What hospital should they go to? Also work with their school to create an action plan or have a 504 plan in place to provide a safe, allergen-free environment.
Teach your child about their food allergies and to question what is in foods, especially those not in their original packaging. Reinforce the fact that they should not eat anything they’re unsure about. It is better to be safe. They should be familiar with what ingredients and foods to avoid.
Make your own food for parties or activities. Find out what is being served and create allergy-free versions that your child can enjoy so that they don’t feel left out. Keep some safe snacks on hand just in case so that you don’t get stuck in a situation where there are no safe options.
Awareness and education are key. As your child gets older, help them to advocate for themselves and cope with a variety of situations. Always be vigilant about paying attention to your surroundings and what your child comes in contact with.
PediaPlex creates a safe environment when working with children who may have food allergies and is sensitive to these concerns. In addition, there is a feeding therapy program that supports children in exploring a variety of foods and food textures while also facilitating self-feeding skills.
Does your child have issues surrounding food? Check out PediaPlex’s feeding therapy program.