Many people dress up as their favorite characters from movies and costumes during the holiday season and head to the stores for candy and treats. However, for those with food allergies, the season can be frightening. Six of the most common food allergens are in high circulation on Halloween. These include wheat, milk, egg, and soy. Even small amounts of these can trigger an allergic reaction in kids.
Parents need to talk to their kids about food allergies to certain foods, such as candies and treats. They should also discuss strategies to prevent their kids from experiencing an allergic reaction while they’re at parties or trick-or-treating.
Avoiding eating sweets made in different facilities is also essential for kids with food allergies. This can be especially true for snack sizes and miniatures.
The FDA requires all food labels to list the sources of major allergens, such as milk, wheat, eggs, and soy. These labels should also include the common names of these allergens in bold. In April 2021, a law was passed that added sesame to the list of major food allergens in the US. This new law will require all food labels to include this ingredient starting in January 2023.
Some packaging also has a note that says “May contain,” followed by the name of the allergen. This is a better way to ensure that the products are labeled with the correct information. Although this method is voluntary, checking the ingredients list every time a product is purchased is essential. Since many bite-sized candies don’t have an ingredient list, it’s important to check other products’ ingredients online to ensure they’re safe for kids.
Connect with Neighbors
Some people may want to buy candies without worrying about harming kids having food allergies. However, they may not know what to look for when it comes to purchasing them. You can help by providing them with safe treats or telling them what to look for when it comes to buying sweets.
Learn About Teal Pumpkins
The Food Allergy Research & Education organization created the teal pumpkin campaign in 2014 to raise awareness about food allergies. It encourages people to place a teal pumpkin outside their homes to indicate that they have non-food treats that are safe for kids with food allergies.
Teach Kids to Ask First
For young kids with food allergies, it’s crucial to carry candy for them to avoid accidental contact. They should also learn to read the label before eating sweets or food. If unsure, teach them to throw or give the product away. A list of safe treats can help ease kids’ fears of food allergies. Educating your child on safety around their allergy is crucial.
Talk to Teachers
If your child’s class has a Halloween party, you can also play a vital role in preventing a dangerous allergic reaction. Before the event, talk to the teachers and ask them to help organize the party. You can also volunteer to bring a non-food treat.
Make a Plan for Unsafe Treats
Before the event, plan with your child about what to do after trick-or-treating if they get unsafe treats. For instance, instead of just taking away your child’s dangerous sweets, ask them to exchange them for toys or books.
Make Your Traditions
You can also host a costume party at your home instead of giving sweets. For instance, instead of sharing sweets, you can provide trick-or-treating kids with non-food treats such as glow sticks and fake mustaches.
Originally published at JenniferPowersNYC.Medium.com