Childcare for Celiac: Keeping Your Toddlers Protected Against Incidental Gluten Ingestion
Parenthood is one of the most beautiful and scary parts of our lives. Though parenting is a challenge, most parents are concerned or nervous when sending their little ones to kindergarten or daycare for the first time. This concern is multiplied if their young one is suffering from celiac disease.
However, it is only after a diagnosis that parents research as much as possible about what the diagnosis means and learn how to deal with it. Since Gluten-Free Jio is on its mission to empower celiac patients with information on how to live daily deal with the condition, we’ve brought you a quick guide on how to keep your toddlers protected against incidental gluten ingestion.
This guide will include necessary information you should provide to any caregiver on how to avoid cross-contamination or consumption of products that have hidden gluten content.
1. Start Your List with Wheat Containing Supplies
You must make it a habit to check the ingredients list of both food and school or crafting supplies that you buy from the supermarket to avoid wheat-containing products. As young children have a habit of putting things in their mouths, you need to look closely at some items you would never have thought of. Here are a few things which you must avoid unless the packaging specifically says it is gluten-free. Even with that phrasing, you should be careful. Depending on your location or country, labeling may show gluten-free if it has a very small amount of it, such as the US FDA’s regulation of 20ppm or less. Some areas may have no regulation in place.
- Bird Seed
- Craft Paste
- Finger Paint
- Play Dough
Stressing over the health of your young ones is natural, especially when they have an unusual condition that only around 1 percent of the global population has. When it comes to skin care and sun products, this often causes many people to choose a sunscreen that contains gluten elements.
While you must take care to protect your children from harsh UV rays, applying gluten-containing sunscreen can also be a problem for your young one. Gluten may be present in sunscreen and can be accidentally ingested, causing serious health complications. Therefore, it is vital that you find a gluten-free sunscreen or other skincare products for your child suffering through celiac disease.
3. With Celiac Disease, “No Sharing is Caring”
Daycares and schools are all about learning lessons for life and most often teach a lesson of sharing to toddlers and young children. However, the lesson of sharing could vary in the case of celiac patients.
Since toddlers are largely unaware of food allergies and celiac disease, both parents and daycare workers should ensure that children do not share food with other children. Special care must also be taken to teach children to avoid touching each other’s food or touching the mouth of a child suffering from celiac disease.
4. Always Being More Cautious
When you have a child suffering from celiac disease, it is necessary to be more cautious about your child’s health. Make sure you always keep an eye out for any object or edible substance your children might have in their mouths. You must also ensure that anything other children may have had in their mouth does not end up in a gluten-free child’s mouth. For instance, nuts or other dry fruits fell on the ground must not be consumed by a gluten-free child.
5. Always Give Special Consideration During Food Preparation
Even though it is advised that parents of gluten-free children prepare their own meals for their celiac children, this is not always possible, and you should make sure that you instruct the daycare or school workers well.
They should be instructed to prepare any gluten-free food before preparing food for other children. It is also advised that gloves should always be worn when touching or serving the meal of a child suffering from any allergy, not just celiac disease. Such instruction could help a gluten-free child or child with allergies from any cross-contamination that might happen while serving or eating food.
6. Always Understand the Limitations of Your Toddler
Finally, parents, caregivers, or employees in daycare or school should understand the limitations of toddlers to help them get the maximum protection against anything that could aggravate gluten allergies. This causes adults to advocate for their children as toddlers are unable to clearly convey what is needed.
Since most toddlers are unable to articulate things well when they feel ill, it is necessary that those who care for children with celiac disease know the signs and symptoms and who to call.
Stay Informed! Take Care!