Young Children and Nut Allergies: 4 Ways You Can Help Children Stay Safe
As a parent, you want to protect your children at all times, but there are times when you can’t physically be with them. During these times, they have to watch out for themselves. If your child has a nut allergy, these are the times that you worry about. An allergic reaction to nuts is serious and can sometimes be life threatening. During an allergic reaction, symptoms may start out mild, but they can quickly escalate into anaphylaxis, which can be deadly. Since you can’t be with your young child at all times, you have to give them the tools to protect themselves. Here’s how.
Teach your child about their nut allergy using terms they can understand. For example, you can tell them that there are foods that will make them very sick. Refer to foods that can make them sick as unsafe. You can also use the term safe to describe foods that they can eat. If you have difficulty explaining your child’s allergy using language that they can understand, read them a book about nut allergies. There are lots of children’s books that have been written to help children understand this condition.
Take a moment before each meal to review foods with your child to see whether they’re safe. If they can read, show them how to scan the label for ingredients that may be harmful to them. If they see you reading labels before you eat foods, they will be more likely to emulate your behavior. Basically, you can teach them to be cautious by being cautious yourself.
If you want your children to know what foods are safe and which ones aren’t, you have to involve them. Take them to the grocery store with you and ask them to pick out foods that are safe and unsafe. If they’re actively involved in choosing and shopping for their own foods, they will be able to make those same decisions when you’re not around.
Some kids are afraid to speak up when they’re feeling ill. Encourage them to tell an adult any time they are feeling ill. Talk to them about symptoms they might experience during an allergic reaction. They will know that they’re having an allergic reaction before their teacher notices, so they should not be afraid to speak up.
Having a child with a nut allergy can be scary. However, you can teach them to manage their own allergy so they will be safe when they’re not around you. Talk to your pediatrician for more tips.