If it seems like every other tot you know is allergic to something, there's good reason. Though the jury is still out on the cause, researchers are certain about one thing: Food allergies in children are on the rise.
Because allergies tend to run in families, if you or your spouse — or both of you — are allergic to something (including pollen, mold or pets), your baby or toddler may have an elevated risk of allergies too.
WHAT ARE THE TOP 9 ALLERGENS?
The “top nine allergens” are:
1) Cow’s milk
4) Tree nuts
While any food can potentially cause an allergic reaction in babies, toddlers and other children, certain foods are much more likely to trigger symptoms. These nine foods account for 90 percent of food allergies:
The most common high allergy foods in a baby’s first year include cow’s milk, peanut and egg. Certain foods, particularly peanuts (which are actually legumes), tree nuts and seafood, are the most common triggers of severe allergic reactions.
Roughly 30 percent of children who have peanut allergies are also allergic to tree nuts, so check in with your pediatrician before feeding your baby an almond-butter sandwich for lunch.
Tips for keeping a baby or toddler with food allergies safe
It's important to let all your child's caregivers know about his allergies, how to tell if he is having an allergic reaction and what to do if he is exposed to an offending food.
Always keep safe food on hand (especially when you’re out), and become an expert at reading food labels (milk, eggs and other allergenic foods are often listed by other names).
A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you navigate these issues and develop meals that are safe for your baby or toddler to eat.
Having a child with food allergies can be scary. As a parent, the key is being prepared: Recognize the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, take steps to manage your child’s allergy and know when to administer epinephrine and call 995.