Some foods may not be suitable for certain children due to a food intolerance or a food allergy.
food intolerance is an inability to tolerate a medication, a food or a food additive in doses that are tolerated by other individuals. It leads to physical reactions that do not involve the immune system.
food allergy is caused by the consumption of
- a food linked to a protein; or
- a food additive that causes a reaction of the immune system.
The reaction may be sudden and result in serious consequences, and even endanger the child's life.
The foods that most frequently cause allergic reactions are the following:
- peanuts and peanut butter;
- fish or shellfish; and
- bovine proteins found in cow’s milk, beef and veal.
A child who has a food allergy that can cause death must always have access to epinephrine (or adrenalin), a medication prescribed by a physician. In case of an anaphylactic reaction, you must not hesitate to administer this medication.
You must provide for a procedure in case a child has an anaphylactic reaction. The emergency response plan appearing on the Sécurité Allergie (Allergy Safety) website can serve as a model. If a child not recognized as allergic seems to have an allergic reaction, you must call the emergency ambulance services immediately.
The first chapter of the guide La santé des enfants... en services de garde éducatifs (Children's health... in educational childcare) deals with children's diet. Its section on food intolerances and allergies provides valuable information on the preventive measures to be taken for allergic children and the emergency treatment to apply in case of an allergic reaction.
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