Clear communication is the only way to help your child understand their food allergy and how to stay safe. For young children especially, it is necessary that they know about their allergies so as to stay safe when they are away from you but around food.
- Explain to your child that there are some foods that will make them sick. Use words like safe food or bad food/ dangerous foods / unsafe foods.
- Teach them what these unsafe foods are and the different ways they may look. Walk into a supermarket and point out eggs, peanuts, milk etc. if this is not possible, show them photos of these foods
- Teach your children not to accept food from just anyone. Only adults knowledgeable about their allergies should feed your children.
- Finally,your child should know what to do in the event that they do have an allergic reaction.
Understandably, parents of children with food allergies are very fearful of their children getting an allergic reaction while away from them as they can be life threatening. It is important that your child understands the seriousness of their condition, but be careful not to scare them when discussing their food allergies.
- Explain management out loud; for example, before leaving the house ask if your child has their medicine kit. This will eventually reinforce the fact that they should never leave the house without it.
- Prompt your child to speak about their allergies if offered any food
- Involve your child in grocery shopping
- Teach them how to read labels for foods that may be dangerous
- Medicalert; wearing medical identification at all times alerts others of your child’s condition.
1 in 13 American children have a food allergy so your child should not feel different. Help them identify and connect with other children suffering from the same allergies.
Do your children have allergies? How did you explain it to them?
First published at foodallergy.org