Archive for the ‘Kitchen Safety’ Category
It has been reported by the National Center for Health Statistics that 1 in 4 children will face a food allergy sometime in their life. While it may seem scary at first, allergies are very common, especially in younger children as their immune system develops, and most children will grow out of them before they reach age five. There are several types of foods that spark an allergic reaction in children, today we will go over a list of these foods, recognizing the wide range of symptoms that are accompanied by eating these foods, and what you can do to protect your little one in the case of a reaction.
Common Food Allergies
Allergic reactions are caused when your body comes into contact with a substance that it cannot tolerate and it produces an immunoglobulin antigen to the substance. The immunoglobulin antigen binds to the food, and then the body’s histamines and other chemical reactions take over, causing the itching, sneezing, swelling, rash and redness that are common symptoms of food allergies. Food allergies are different from food intolerance, like lactose intolerance, because in the cases of intolerance the histamine reaction is not produced.
Several types of foods can cause allergies in young children. Here are a list of the most common:
- Cows Milk
- Tree Nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews)
- Shellfish (shrimp, lobster)
Allergies can also be caused by other foods such as vegetables, meats, legumes and seeds, but these are less common and usually less severe. The common allergens offer less of a chance for outgrowth by your child, but can be easily maintained by avoiding the food item, and having an antidote ready in case of contact. Reactions to perservatives and chemicals added to foods can be mistaken for allergies, but actually being allergic to a specific type of chemical is very rare.
Some of the symtpoms that may occur when your child is exposed to a food that they are allergic to are:
- Redness of the skin
- Excema type rash
- Difficulty Breathing
- Stomach Upset
- Loss of conciousness
Although some of these symptoms may seem pretty bad, the most extreme cases are rare, and if you keep an eye on what your child is exposed to you should have a pretty good idea of a problem before anything serious happens. As always, consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about foods that your child consumes, and make sure that any issues you may have are followed up on. There are a series of tests that your doctor can perform to diagnose any allergies that your child may have, including shots, topical application, and even just munching on a possible allergen. It is recommended that you keep a food journal to track your childs exposure to different foods and possbile reactions.
When an allergic reaction does occur the first thing to remember is to nnot panic. It could be possible that your kid comes home from school or daycare swollen like a water balloon, and itching uncontrollably, but you have to keep it together for their sake. If your child has already been diagnosed and your doctor has prescribed you a medication to suppress the histamine reaction, administer the dose immediately, and keep an eye on your kid for a return of the symptoms. If the medication does not work, or you feel the symptoms are too severe, like difficulty breathing, take your child to the closest emergency room, where they can administer a series of shots to stop the reaction and combat the symptoms. A very serious allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis, and requires emergency medical assistance.
Now you might be feeling that Mommy urge to put your child in a bubble, and never let him eat anything except water and crackers. While this may work in some third world countries, it isnt healthy or appropriate for your child. Exposure to a wide range of foods is healthy and normal, and most allergies dissappear by the time they reach kindergarten. Kids that eat a wide variety of different foods and easily try new things learn to adapt better as adults and are generally healthier. Avoiding foods that are possibly dangerous to your child isnt always easy, but there are some steps you can take to help:
- Talk to your child about the certain foods and explain why he or she can’t have them. Most kids will avoid anything that chronically makes them feel bad, and teaching them about all of the different allergens that they might be exposed to is a good way to make them more aware of what they put in their mouth.
- Let your child’s teachers, daycare staff, and school nurses know about the allergies. That way if anything happens and you are not around they will have a good idea of what to do in the event of a reaction.
- Try not to have the items in your pantry. Its tough when your husband or other kids love peanut butter, but your baby feels left out because of an allergy. There are a lot of substitutions you can make for certain foods, so experiment and see what everyone can compromise on.
- Teach everyone in your house, immediate family, and anyone who your child may come into contact with, like play groups, friends houses and church groups, what to do in case of an exposure. Make sure they are aware of what your child can and cannot have, and give them the name and number of a doctor to call in case something happens.
Dealing with allergies is tough, but if everyone works together it can be alot easier than battling it alone. Encourage your child to eat right and try a little of everything, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
In even the most organized house the kitchen can be a dangerous spot for kids to play. Sharp objects, hot stoves, boiling water, and slippery floors are but a few of the hazards your little ones may encounter. But instead of limiting your children to the play room or their bedrooms while you cook, they can easily be included if you follow some simple and easy to follow guidelines.
Be sure that all knives, sharp scissors, food processor blades and grating equipment is kept out of reach of little hands. Remember that just because it is on a counter does not mean that your child can’t pull it down. A wooden knife display not only keeps your kitchen clean and functional, but allows you to keep your little ones safe and injury free. Make sure that when carrying a knife from one counter to another you are aware of the blade and where your little one may be.
Cooking requires heat. Since the days of the cave men that has been a well known fact. But by turning pot handles away from the end of the stove, using oven mitts when handling hot trays, and boiling water on the back burners only can save both you and your little one from serious harm. Splattering grease or frying oil can be dangerous too, make sure that your deep fryer is well away from the edge of the counter, as kids are at eye level with it. Make sure that little ones who are just learning to walk are kept away form the oven door, as the door, unit and handle could be very hot, and when you’re youngest starts to fall they could reach out and grab it or lean up against it. If they can’t let go it could result in a very nasty burn.
Kids are naturally curious. It is their job to touch, try and taste everything. Unfortunately, that includes items that are out of their reach. If you have an appliance that is being used on the kitchen counter be sure to tuck the cords out of reach of little hands. Try not to use table cloths or place mats that dangle within reach, because before you know it your whole dinner and all of the place settings will be all over your child and the floor. Keep harmful or possibly irritating substances like lye, baking soda, and harsh chemicals stored either up high or in a locked cabinet. Baby proofing your kitchen cabinets is very easy to do and has become very inexpensive. If you can not do any of these things a baby gate at the entrance to your kitchen is a welcome addition when thinking of your child’s safety.
Teach your children the dangers of a hot stove, a sharp knife, and a heavy mixer. Always require proper protective clothing and gear when in the kitchen, such as a mesh glove for slicing, oven mitts for hot cookie sheets, and a heavy duty apron for splattering sauces. Use a cooking thermometer to properly gauge the temperature of meats and baked goods, and show your child just how hot your oven can get. Explain to them the dangers of burns and lacerations, and keep a first aid kit fully stocked close to your kitchen.
Using these simple steps can keep you and your kids safe and make the kitchen a creative and enjoyable environment for everyone, from your baby beating your pots and pans on the floor with a wooden spoon to teaching your oldest how to make his first souffle.