When Sophie was a young child, one day our allergist commented to me, "One of the reasons I love having Sophie as a patient is that I don't have to worry about her when she leaves the office with you. I have other kids that I know are going to end up in the ER several times before our next visit, but not Sophie." He knew that I listened carefully and did my best to be vigilant about her diet.
This comes up over and over again--the topic of vigilance with food allergies. And this article based on a recent study done at National Jewish here in Colorado highlights the point. Doctors followed about 500 infants for 3 years, tracking allergic reaction to food. 11% of the reactions were from non-acccidental exposures--in other words, the child's caregiver purposely gave them a food they knew could cause a reaction. Of the accidental exposures, these are the reasons given:
"...forgetfulness, reduced supervision, not checking a product, etc), 473 (64.9%); label reading error, 115 (15.8%); cross-contamination, 110 (15.1%); error in preparation, 30 (4.1%); and manufacturer labeling error, 1 (0.1%)."
We all make mistakes, and things happen, but it is our job as parents of kids with food allergies, especially when they are babies, to not forget, to read labels, to be hyper-vigilant.What can be done to help parents understand the need to take extra care with their little ones, when they are still learning about food allergies?