Food Safety for Baby

I love to cook delicious meals for my family, and watch them enjoy my creations. Cooking is wonderful all year round, but there's something so special about doing it this time of the year. The leaves begin to change, and a brisk breeze makes the meal that much more comforting to eat. I love to get my children involved in the preparation of our meals. I find that they develop such a sense of pride, and ownership when they partake in the process. As wonderful as cooking can be with children, their are several necessary safety precautions to take,. I would like to share some of my tips on food safety with you today.

AVOIDING FOOD RELATED ILLNESS:

Delicious food is just that, delicious! However, working with savory ingredients without proper precautions can have very un-savory results. As anyone can attest, a child with a stomach bug is a horrible experience for both parent and child, and should be avoided at all costs. I utilize several simple, techniques to keep my family safe. First, I keep my counter tops wiped down with sanitizer before I start preparing my food to cook. I always move my garbage can close to my kitchen sink, this allows for quick disposal of food containers and wrappers. It also assures me that I wont be dripping bacteria onto my counter tops or the floor where my little ones will come into contact with germs. I keep two cutting boards on hand, one for meat/poultry, and one for fruits/vegetables. It is important to avoid cross contamination between the two boards.

I always promptly clean my meat/poultry board, sanitize, and wash my hands! Washing your hands is the single most effective thing you can do as a family to prevent food related illnesses, yet it is amazing how under utilized this can be? I make sure both my children and I was our hands frequently during our cooking time. I know that all parents wash their children's hands, but when it comes to keeping our little one's healthy, we should all probably be doing it more frequently throughout the day. At the very least, make sure your children wash hands prior to starting cooking, and again, before eating the food you have prepared. Finally, make sure food is cooked to the proper internal temperature to eat it safely. I use a meat thermometer to be assured that I am at the proper internal temperature to eat it safely.

FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS:

When I was a little girl, I loved when it was time for School Holiday parties. My mother and I would make themed cupcakes for the class depending on the Holiday that it was currently. We would make orange and black cupcakes for Halloween, pink and red ones for Valentine's Day, and red and green ones for Christmas. I loved to display our creations proudly for the class, and have my friends taste just how good my mom was at baking. Today with my own children in school, I unfortunately do not get tot showcase my own baking. Why? A very good reason....approximately 5.9 million children, or 1 in 13 have food allergies in the United States of America.

As a child, I personally knew no one with a food allergy, and as an adult I can't tell you how many I know. I am very fortunate that my children do not possess a food allergy, however, I still take the issue very seriously. My second graders best friend Tom has a life threatening peanut allergy, and whenever he comes to visit he needs to bring his life saving allergy medicine. We do not have peanut products or tree nuts out anywhere when Tom comes to visit, simply because I do not want any accidents to occur. I use many peanut alternative products now just because I do not want any mistakes, and honestly I was surprised at how delicious they actually are!

I do not recommend you giving up foods you love, but I do advise you to make sure you check with fellow parents regarding allergies prior to having a playdate. I always ask the parents what the allergy is, and the severity of the reaction if they come into contact with the allergen. Their is a big difference between having a small rash when eating a strawberry, versus a child who will stop breathing if they come into contact with a peanut. Now, both are obviously serious, and need to be treated, but one has the potential to be life threatening and needs the utmost of caution. Finally, with infants make sure that they are introduced to baby food at the appropriate time, as set forth by the American Association of Pediatrics. It is important to start babies off slowly, and with only one food every three days. This way, if an allergen is identified your pediatrician will know the exact food and reaction.

Safety is the number one priority when it comes to my children. As parents we would do anything to keep our kids, happy, healthy and safe. My diaper bag is stocked with SippyNipple because of both its safety and reliability. Dr. Mike's genius product is not only 100% leak proof, but it is also B.P.A free. I trust in SippyNipple because it is a reliable product, and a staple in my diaper bag. I hope these tips will help you to feel a little more comfortable preparing food for your family and friends! Happy Cooking!

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