Dr Mark Rosenthal

MD MB ChB FRCP FRCPCH BSc

Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8832

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

Teaching Children to Manage Their Own Food Allergies

Food allergies in children can be relatively simple to manage when they are young. However, at some point, your child is going to be old enough to go out without you. You need to be sure that they can buy a snack or eat at a friend’s house safely.

teaching-children-to-manage-food-allergies 

Talk About the Allergy It is important to talk about food allergies in children from a young age, so that your child knows what he or she is allergic to and which foods to avoid. You should also teach them what to do if they start having a reaction.

 

Go Food Shopping Together As your child gets older, you should work on the skills that they’ll need when they leave home. Shopping for food is one of these, and it can be a little tougher when you need to consider food allergies in children. Try to go food shopping together occasionally so that your child can practice checking the labels for allergens.

 

Encourage Your Child To Cook Cooking is another important skill, particularly for children with allergies. Get your child involved in the kitchen from an early age and work up to their preparing whole meals. Make sure you discuss food hygiene and cross-contamination as your child may be moving into shared accommodation when they leave home.

 

Help Them To Eat Out Safely You can also take some steps to help your child to eat out when they are with friends or after they leave home. 

  1. Discuss how to make safe choices of where and what to eat
  2. Get them to choose a restaurant for a family meal out using what they’re learned
  3. Encourage your child to be the one who speaks to the staff about their allergy when you eat out
  4. Identify some good options locally so they can know where to go when they’re out with friends

The goal of all this should be to work up to the point where you can trust your child to manage their own allergy when you aren’t there. Your child should be able to make the right choices at the supermarket or when they’re eating out with friends.