Kids Under Construction: Child Food Allergies


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – As Halloween season nears, what should you do if your child has a food allergy?

This week on Kids Under Construction, parenting journalist and expert Donna Tetreault speaks with Tiffany Leon, a senior manager from Fare, a company that funds food allergy research and education.

Food allergy impacts 85 million Americans today, with 1 out of 13 children in the U.S. struggling with a food allergy.

“In the states, there are nine foods that make up 90% of food allergies: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, and sesame,” says Leon.

So how exactly can you tell if your child has a food allergy and what should you do if you suspect your child is suffering?

Leon says food allergy diagnosis can be tricky as everyone reacts to allergic triggers uniquely. Some notable physical symptoms can include hives, itchy mouth, congestion, trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, and anaphylaxis. Leon says if you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it’s best to seek immediate medical attention to properly diagnose and understand the cause.

As Halloween season nears, how can you keep your children safe while trick-or-treating?

The Teal Pumpkin Project is an initiative launched by Fare that encourages households providing non-edible treats during Halloween to place a teal pumpkin outside their home as a signal to the neighborhood. Non-edible treats can include things such as bubbles, markers, crayons, and playing cards instead of candy. This allows the trick-or-treating experience to be more inclusive for children with food allergies.

“Unfortunately, a lot of those top nine foods are found in Halloween treats,” says Leon. “If you are trick-or-treating with little ones, just make sure the trick-or-treating is about collecting the candies and not about eating it while on the route. This way when you get home, you can check the contents of their bag,” says Leon.

Leon says reading food labels is very critical too, as fun-sized candies found could be produced in a different facility than the full-sized versions.

To watch the full conversation with ABC4’s Emily Clark, Tetreault, and Tiffany Leon, check out the video above.

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