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Childcare Tips: How to Keep Your Child Safe from Food Allergies

Kids are energetic, unpredictable and curious. Whether they are under the care of a small in-home provider, a large child care center or even in their own home, countless dangers are around every corner. However, one of the most common risks for children is food allergies. 

Food allergies are on the rise and have been for some time. It can be frightening to see a child’s face swell and realize that they are having an allergic reaction. The reaction is a result of the body’s immune system thinks that a particular food product is harmful. When someone has a food allergy, the body reacts by releasing chemicals, including histamine, when exposed to that food. These chemicals trigger allergic symptoms which range from mild to life-threatening. 

You have spent their early years protecting your child from allergy-causing foods. However, as they grow and become more sociable, you will realize how challenging it is to keep your child away from food allergies at school or camp. After all, you can’t be with your child 24/7. 

If your child does have food allergies, the idea of sending them to childcare centers can make you feel scared and nervous. Therefore, it is essential to choose a child care facility that knows how to deal with food allergies and can recognize a reaction since some children don’t know how to explain what is happening to them. 

What foods often cause allergic reactions?

A child can be allergic to any food. However, the most common food allergens include eggs, cow’s milk, peanuts, wheat, fish, shellfish, soy and tree nuts. Peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish are usually the most life-threatening allergies that cause severe reactions. Some schools even implement “Peanut-free” policies to avoid the grave implications of peanut exposure to peanut-allergic students.

There is still no medication to treat food allergies. All you can do is avoid the foods that trigger the allergic reaction. However, avoiding the allergen altogether is not always possible, especially when caring for young children. 

You can treat mild to moderate allergic reactions, including diarrhea, eczema and hives with antihistamines or topical steroids. For severe reactions, such as loss of consciousness, shortness of breath and chest pain, inject epinephrine to keep the blood pressure up. If an epinephrine injection is necessary, but the child does not have an epi-pen take the child to an emergency room or call 911 immediately.

5 Ways to Protect Your Child from Allergic Reactions 

Anyone working with young kids should know about the basics of allergic reactions. If you are entrusting your child to a childcare center, make sure that your chosen provider knows how to identify and respond to an allergic reaction. Of course we would rather there be no allergic reaction in the first place, so here are five ways to avoid an allergy trigger:

Read the label

When grocery shopping, it is essential to read the label of every product you buy, especially as a parent or a caregiver. The innocent-looking fruit roll up might have trace amounts of common allergens, so check the ingredient lists and advisory statements like “may contain peanuts” or “processed in a shellfish facility.”  Moreover, if you encounter a product without an ingredient list, do not buy it – it is not worth the risk.

Make a list

If your child has food allergies, make a list of what they can and cannot eat. You can also request a letter from your child’s doctor that outlines their food allergy triggers, ways to avoid these allergens, along with medications and treatments in case of an allergic reaction. Having this handy list can be a lifesaver, especially if your child is in a childcare center. 

Determine the symptoms of food allergies

Since no two people react the same way to foods, it is challenging to determine food allergies. What’s tolerable to some might be a nightmare to others. Therefore, knowing the traditional symptoms can go a long way. If your child experiences diarrhea, hives, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, swelling of the mouth, tongue or lips, or  sudden blood pressure drop, it’s time to take them to the nearest doctor. 

Talk to school staff

Another way to protect your child is by reaching out to the school’s administration, nurses and teachers about their condition. This should happen at the beginning of the year to ensure that everyone is on the same page and protocols are in place. 

Always keep an emergency medication on hand 

If your child starts having severe allergic symptoms, give them an epinephrine auto-injector right away. In addition, carrying an over-the-counter antihistamine for your kid can also help treat mild allergy symptoms. But remember that antihistamine is not a replacement for the epinephrine shot. 

Taking care of kids with food allergies is a challenging responsibility. At Discovery Village Center, we make sure that every child gets the nutrition they need in a safe manner. We keep strict records of all food allergies and intolerances. If your child requires a special diet, we will work closely with you to make sure that your little one gets the nutrition they need and deserve. Call (914) 631-1009 today!

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How to Get Your Child Eat Healthy with a Childcare Provider in Sleepy Hollow

Kids either love or loathe veggies – there is usually no in-between. Most parents experience an uphill battle with feeding their little ones due to peer pressure and TV commercials. Once you factor in their hectic schedules it is no wonder that their kids’ diet includes takeout food and meals with little nutritional value. 

Food is a vital part of life, especially for kids – a time to nourish their bodies and minds. But what’s the harm a burger or fried chicken? And what’s wrong with keeping a pack of chips or even crackers in the cabinet? While these choices might seem harmless, it turns out that poor eating habits tend to stick with kids as they grow up. Thus, it is essential to teach your kids how to make healthy food choices at an early age.

If you’re a busy parent with loads of tasks on your plate, childcare is a fact of life — and this is where a childcare provider in Sleepy Hollow comes into play. When parents choose trusted people to care for their kids in their absence, they are valuing their child’s early development. Nutrition should be as vital to parents since your kid may never outgrow poor eating habits.

How Healthy and Nutritious Food Benefits Your Kids

It is challenging to feed children nutritious food. Then if you have a picky eater on your hands that challenge becomes even greater. They tend to refuse foods based on color or texture that doesn’t seem pleasing to their eyes. 

However, children need to receive the necessary nutrients in their body for growth and development. When your little ones start a life with healthy meals, they can avoid several health issues. This can have a massive impact on both their childhood and adulthood years. 

Aside from avoiding health problems, children under a balanced diet also see benefits in brain development. A child who is not receiving an adequate amount of iodine and iron may experience both motor development and cognitive delays. 

5 Ways to Promote Healthy Eating Habits 

Is your kid hooked on junk food? Does your little one turn up their nose when they see the salad and casserole on the table? They would probably ask for macaroni or chicken nuggets. As you tear open the bag of frozen chunks, you ask yourself: “What can I do to get my child to eat nutritious foods?”

Whether you’re a childcare provider in Sleepy Hollow or a frazzled parent, you need a few tricks up your sleeve to get your kids to eat healthily. Here are five simple tips on how you can get your child to eat better without turning mealtimes into a battlefield: 

Sneak in some greens

If you’re tired of arguing with your child about eating vegetables, you can sneak in servings of greens without them knowing it. If they love eating pizza, you can make your version and spice it up a bit by making the tomato sauce even healthier by adding unseasoned pumpkin puree. You can also make homemade french fries by baking the potato instead of buying them deep-fried from fast-food chains. 

Talk to them about eating healthy

You can talk to your kids about eating healthy even if they can barely understand it all. By teaching them where the food they’re eating is coming from, how to make and how to grow them, they can develop a frame of reference about making healthy choices. In addition, give your kids praise and encouragement when they try new foods.

Involve them in food choices

When you’re grocery shopping, make it a habit to involve your child and create a healthy food shopping list with them. You can also present them with some healthy snack ideas and have them pick the ones they want (avoiding unhealthy options). By doing this, your kids will acquire the habit of searching out and selecting nutritious foods.

Please don’t force it

As you expose your children to different foods and flavors, always encourage – not force — them to eat healthy food. Pressuring or bribing them to eat a particular food will do more harm than good in the long run. 

Be a role model

We all know that learning does not only happen inside the four corners of the classroom. If you have a picky eater, you can be a positive role model by eating nutritious and balanced meals as well. Drink water with your kid, eat your greens and try new foods with a smile on your face to encourage them to do the same. 

Now that you have an idea of how to get your child to consume healthier foods, put them into good use. Childcare providers should prioritize children’s health and wellness. Children under care should have regular healthy meals, snacks, and fluids while at the same time enjoy positive meal experiences. So if you’re looking for a childcare provider in Sleepy Hollow, let Discovery Village Center help you in getting your little one to eat better. We support families in the process of ensuring good health for future generations. Call (914) 631-1009 today!