GRANDCHILDREN AND FOOD ALLERGY: 7 Tips for Grandparents👴👵
Are you a grandmother of a child with a food allergy? Do you have questions about how to deal with your grandchildren's dietary restrictions and how to keep them safe?
Small changes in your habits when you are with your grandchildren help prevent an allergic reaction and provide a safer environment.
We've put together a short guide with tips to help grandparents understand how they can care for their grandchildren with food allergies and spend time together safely.
Currently, cases of children diagnosed with food allergies are increasingly common. Among the great challenges that parents of allergic people face, in addition to all the changes in everyday life, is to educate the people around them, to feel understood and supported by their closest relatives and to feel confident in leaving their children in the care of other people, even if those people are the ones who took care of them as children, the grandparents.
The tips below are intended to help grandparents (and parents) feel more secure and confident in dealing with their children's allergies.
Educating yourself, preparing your home, and asking questions is likely to impress your kids so much that they'll leave their grandkids with them much longer!
- Listen, respect and understand!
Listen to the child's parents about their needs. Understand that allergies are a serious health problem. Parents are not being overbearing or overprotective. Your concerns are legitimate and it is important to respect those concerns and always be prepared.
It is necessary to understand that:
- When it comes to a food allergy, one bite (or less!) of the wrong food can lead to an anaphylactic reaction , which happens quickly and, if not treated immediately, is potentially fatal.
- Allergens are not just in the obvious foods, but many foods can be a risk because they have derived ingredients or are contaminated with the allergen during manufacture;
- You don't have to eat to have an allergic reaction. There are children who react to touch, to the inhalation of vapors and dust;
- Food allergens can also appear in products other than food, for example hygiene products, school supplies, plasticine.
- Ask and be available to make changes
A diagnosis of food allergies usually requires some lifestyle changes, namely:
- When preparing, cooking and serving food;
- When storing food;
- When shopping for food, personal hygiene products and household cleaning products;
- When choosing a restaurant.
Remember that parents deal with these situations daily, they had to adapt all their habits to ensure the safety of the child, and for the child to feel included regardless of their restrictions. Ask them about what to do and how to do it, clarify all your doubts with them and make yourself available to follow their instructions.
Making small changes in your habits on the days you are with your grandchildren will make everyone calmer and allow them to better enjoy their time together.
- Learn to read a food label and, when in doubt, ask!
Knowing how to read labels and identify whether or not a food is safe is not an easy task, even for parents. If you're taking care of an allergic child for the first time, don't try to buy new foods that you're not sure are safe.
Ask parents for indication of the safe products/brands they usually consume. Ask parents to teach you how to read a label and identify allergens and potential traces. When you feel more confident, do the exercise of looking in the supermarket for a safe food, try to put into practice what you have learned and validate with parents to confirm that the choice is safe.
When in doubt, never give a food to an allergic person, always ask first!
- Learn to avoid cross-contamination
When preparing a meal at home, it is useless to have the right ingredients and the safest food if the allergen is in your kitchen or on your table and cross-contamination is not prevented. Again, listen to the child's parents' advice on precautions to be taken to avoid cross-contamination when preparing and serving food.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of allergy and prepare to react
Each allergy sufferer has a plan of action in case of a reaction and an emergency medication kit issued by the doctor. Ask for a copy of the plan and hang it in your kitchen.
See and review together with parents, which are the most frequent symptoms, which medications to give in each type of reaction. Learn how to identify an anaphylaxis and practice using the epinephrine pen.
When you are with the child, always keep the medication kit and a telephone with you so that you can contact the emergency line and/or the parents in case of doubt.
- Have safe snacks in your home
Ask parents what their child likes, and always have a safe and convenient snack on hand. At Fidu you will find several safe options free from the main allergens that are a delight for the whole family. From cakes, cookies and pancakes that are very easy to prepare, to chocolates, snacks and ready-to-eat cereals.
A shelf full of safe snacks will impress parents and make a child feel special.
- Make food fun!
Your time together will be more valued, and the child will have fun and feel safe with you and create amazing memories.
All Fidu products are free from the 14 main allergens, gluten-free, lactose-free, made with natural ingredients, without dyes or preservatives.