I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

23 Jan 2013

10 Things Nannies Should Know About Food Sensitivities

Among the many topics that nannies must make an effort to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of, food sensitivities may be one of the most crucial. There’s far more to food allergies than many who don’t suffer from them may be aware of, leaving an uninformed nanny with no such sensitivities ill-prepared to handle should she have a charge who suffers from them. These are ten of the things that every childcare provider should know about food allergies and sensitivities.
  1. They’re Becoming More Common – According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, approximately three million American children under the age of eighteen suffers from some form of food or digestive allergy in 2007, up eighteen percent from figures collected in 1997. Food sensitivities and allergy rates are definitely on the rise, meaning that there’s a very real chance that a nanny will, at some point in her career, secure a post with at least one charge who is sensitive to specific food items.
  2. Some Foods are Riskier Than Others The Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to list the eight most common food allergens on packaging, as an estimated ninety percent of all allergic reactions from food resulted from milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy or wheat. Introducing these foods to a charge for the first time does present an inherent risk, and isn’t wise for nannies to take upon themselves.
  3. They Can Go Undiscovered for Years – While a child may show marked signs of allergic reaction the first time they’re exposed to an offending food, it can also take years for reactions to occur. As a result, nannies should always be on the lookout for symptoms of allergic reaction, even if no new food items have been introduced to a child’s diet.
  4. They Can Increase or Decrease in Severity Over Time – Just as allergies can take years to appear, they can also increase or decrease in severity with time. A child who once exhibited only a mild reaction to an allergenic food item may have a significantly more severe one later, or could have a much milder reaction than expected after accidental exposure.
  5. Reading Labels is Non-Negotiable – Because the FDA mandates that the most common allergens be listed on the label of food items, it’s imperative that nannies and caregivers take the time to look over those labels carefully. There’s no excuse for feeding a child a new food that could potentially be dangerous to him without first combing through the ingredients carefully.
  6. No Sharing! – Young children can have a difficult time remembering that there are certain foods that they aren’t allowed to eat, so it’s best to institute a strict policy of no food-sharing. This will prevent an eager little one from swapping his safe lunch for a dangerous one at a playdate.
  7. Some Schools Have “Peanut Free” Policies – Nannies who are responsible for preparing kids’ lunches for school should keep in mind that even if their own charges have no known food allergies, they may attend school with a classmate who does. In cases of particularly severe peanut allergies, administrators may even rule an entire school “peanut-free” to protect sensitive students.
  8. How to Administer Epinephrine – Because food allergies can appear at any time and kids aren’t always particularly good at following directions, every nanny should be well-versed in the proper storage and use of epinephrine, and understand the plan of action after epinephrine has been administered.
  9. Restaurants are Tricky – Restaurant menus aren’t designed to list potentially-allergenic ingredients, but to showcase entrees in the most appealing light. Because there’s a very good chance that the bulk of ingredients aren’t listed in the description, it’s important to keep kids’ allergies in mind and to question servers about the possibility of allergenic contamination.
  10. They Can be Deadly – Food allergies may only cause a light rash or a bit of itching. They can also be very swiftly and decisively deadly. A child with a severe food allergy could quite easily die if he comes into contact with an offending food, making it absolutely imperative that nannies of kids with allergies take the time to educate themselves on the subject.
The majority of a childcare provider’s daily responsibilities revolve around ensuring that their charges are well-protected, with their health and safety ranking as top priorities. In order to protect today’s child as food allergy and sensitivity rates climb, nannies must learn to identify the signs of an allergic reaction and prepare themselves to take protective action at a moment’s notice.

Syndicated, with consent, from http://www.fulltimenanny.com/blog/10-things-nannies-should-know-about-food-sensitivities/

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I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life
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  1. Daniel - I strongly suggest getting Livefrye or Disqus. I tried to post a comment and it disappeared when I hit the wrong option in the "Select Profile." You want peeps to be able to do it via Twitter so you get more hits!

    Anyway, my comments was/is that when my boys were young, we had a sheet printed - in plastic - with all the emergency phone numbers, things to do, location of nearest vet and hospital, etc. EVERYONE can panic in a stressful moment - even family members that are looking after your kids!

  2. I'm amazed about what I'm hearing from new moms and dads about food allergies these days. I grew up, like most people my age, loving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a tall glass of milk. Nowadays, mention peanuts or dairy and it's almost like you've used profanity. I don't know what's causing all of this sudden sensitivity, but it just seems strange to me that we're able to handle less and less food.

  3. the no sharing thing is tough for kids to remember as well

  4. Ya, I agree with you Sam.
    Funny how we lose that while growing up...

  5. Hi -
    This is my first time to be here:)
    As a 2X cancer survivor (age 26, 34) I became sensitive to most food additives, preservatives and MSG (monosodiumglutemate). After becoming an avid label-reader by necessity, then researching for my Cancer site, I now know that our food chain and supply has been being altered by the powers that be, for over 20 years. Genetically-modified food (GMOs) are prevalent. In the United States, over 75%of our entire crops are not the original form as our parents and grandparents.
    I am a Creationist, and believe that God made the original seed-bearing food, etc. that was profitable for all humans to benefit from.
    Now, however, the body cannot "read" the food and many times treats it like an enemy invader, causing many illnesses such as allergies and auto-immune disease- just to name a few.
    All I can say is eat as much natural food as you can from the fresh produce category- if something looks too large or odd-shaped or has no taste, I would avoid buying it.
    My best,
    Rann Patterson
    Cancer Editor, BellaOnline.com

  6. Exactly! There was no end to the things that were the "norm" for us that now receives a collective gasp in the room if you even mention. I just can't figure out where the change is coming from; we keep hearing about anti-biotics in meat, but you'd think that would make people HEALTHIER, not less healthy!

  7. I think it comes from the marketing departments of various companies. Let me clarify that before people start to think I'm a conspiracy theory nut. Go to any doctor and ask them if using ear-buds (in America I think they are called que-tips) is a good way to clean your ears. The answer is no. You can do some serious damage to your ears with them. Firstly your ears are self cleaning (our bodies didn't survive all these years without being pretty intelligent). Secondly, the wax is supposed to be there. Thirdly, sometimes we do get a build up, and the way to clean it is to pour a drop or two of baby oil into your ear, then take your finger with some toilet paper and clean your ear. Whether this is true or not, people who sell ear buds need to make money, so they are going to market their product. They don't have to lie to do this. Ear-buds do clean your ears. They just don't tell you the negative side. In addition, when they started making those products, they may not have had the information we have today. In other words they didn't do what they are doing maliciously, they did the best at the time with the tools they had. Now it is their living, and like all of us, they too need money to eat, put a roof over their heads etc. Maybe I should write a blog post about this, as this comment is looking a little long now...