How a classroom dare can have life changing consequences
Today I read a really disturbing article in my local newspaper of a school aged child choking on cherry tomatoes in their packed lunch box. This has compelled me today to share 5 ways to keep the lunch box and our kids safe!
The school did everything they could. They were trained in first aid, the ambulance came. It turned out this was a total accident. The child had been dared to see how many cherry tomatoes he could hold in his mouth in one go…
It seems to be an innocent enough game, but sadly the consequences changed their future forever. Sadly they passed away…
My heart goes out to the family. I send me sincerest condolences. I cannot imagine what they must be going through as a family…
And this urges me on, and compels me to write and to share this message of how we need to, we must and can keep the lunch box and our kids safe!
Our lives can change in a moment and our futures be changed forever.
My round up of 5 ways to keep the lunch box and our kids safe!
1 chop up grapes – halve them to reduce their diameter, or quarter them if they are large, and make it easier for little people to eat and swallow them safely
these are a well-known choking hazard for toddlers and little people. But we can forget cherry tomatoes and the like… I recently heard we need to watch out with satsumas too. They can get easily stuck in the throat…
However, we also need to keep reminding our kids, even as they get older that we need to be respectful of food, and to chew on our food! This goes for cherry tomatoes, satsuma segments and the like – anything that might not be so easily swallowed. We need to chew! and not gulp our foods down!
I recently saw someone do a dare to see how many blueberries they could get in their mouth at one time. It seemed amusing at the time, but we need to take care!
2 know and fully understand the school policy on lunch boxes and on foods that can be taken into school
My kids attended a primary school where there was no canteen and it was 100% nut-free. There were kids with serious nut allergies so it was serious. No nuts or anything close to a nut, nothing was allowed. Even if it might contain traces of nuts. The kids had epipens and the school staff were all trained to know what to do.
Read food labels and undestand what is contained within the foods – this is a good habit to get into.
3 go on an allergy awareness course so we can understand how to respond, react in such an instance – it is better to be ready and prepared!
I recently attended a food allergy awareness webinar, to better understand this, run by Allergy Badge. I am keen to share this information in the Lunchbox World community. So if you are curious to check this out, then click the link above and sign up for a webinar.
Allergies or intolerances of any kind again can have life threatening consequences if we do not fully appreciate and are not fully aware of the food policies in our schools and work place.
It may well be we do not know what allergies we have or our kids have until something happens.
I was lucky. I had been eating prawn mayo sandwiches for lunch for years and years. I absolutely loved them. Maybe I built up an intolerance or maybe this was an allergy that was slow to come out. But in my late twenties, in Greece, I ate some king prawns that had been barbecued at a summer party, then suddenly came out in a pink rash, from head to toe, my skin itching from the inside, it was a nightmare. All I could think about was this intense itching from head to toe from the inside. But with the help and care of the Greek doctors, I thankfully overcame this. I had to immediately go on a bland diet and for weeks only eat chicken and rice. Then slowly re-introduce foods so we would then know if I had developed any other food allergies.
I now keep away from shellfish of all kinds. For me it is simply not worth the risk. My reaction to the prawn allergy was severe but not life threatening.
However I do not want to tempt fate and try prawns again as I understand reactions to food allergies can get worse over time.
4 make sure we pack a lunch that will stay safe until lunch time – use an ice pack and an insulated lunch bag!
for the food to be safe, we need to keep it chilled. If these are cold foods, we need to keep them chilled overnight in the fridge if we made the sandwiches in advance, then pack with an icepack to keep the lunch cool and safe to eat at lunch time. Typically the advice is to use an icepack if the food is out of the fridge for longer than 2 hours.
So using this as a rule of thumb, you leave the house at 830am and two hours later would be 1030am, assuming you took the lunch out of the fridge just before leaving the house. The time of 1030am is typically still two hours before they get close to school lunch time. So you get the idea. In this example, the food is out of the fridge for 4 hours or more!
There has been so much recently on instagram about taking chicken nuggets into school in a wide necked thermos flask. And how delighted kids are that their favourite lunch is in their lunch bag. Many a parent may innocently think these chicken nuggets are still ok to eat, but Foodsafetymum on instagram has checked this out scientifically with a food thermometer. She has proven that by lunch time the food is no longer safe to eat, as the temperature has dropped to the levels where bacteria thrives. So again we need to help educate our kids and ourselves and keep the food safe!
I’ve popped the video I created over on the Lunchbox World Youtube channel below so you can watch it. This video focuses on the easy ways to keep the lunch box cool in hot weather and safe to eat at lunch time:
5 use BPA free lunch box gear – buy ONLY non-leaching plastics when it comes to packing food!
I have seen an increase in instagram posts of clever ideas using plastic compartment containers made for storing DIY tools, drill bits and the like. What is important here is that these are NOT made from BPA free plastics. These cheap DIY compartment containers are not designed for food stuffs that we consume. We put these foods into our bodies. We need to only use BPA free plastics, and in the UK this means checking the labels that state the food container is made from BPA free plastics. If it does not state this, then you can assume it is not BPA free.
It is our responsibility as an adult, a parent to help keep kids safe in school and to ensure we pack a safe lunch box. There are now so many cheap lunch boxes on the market. So I urge you to check the small print. Check the materials. Ask yourself are these safe for food? If you are unsure, I would say no! Better to pay that bit more and know that the lunch box you are packing your child’s lunch in is safe for foods.
Remember to act quickly when events seriously and drastically escalate in a moment.
We all need to know how we, as parents, and as adults, can keep our kids safe with their lunch boxes in school, in the work place, or wherever we eat our lunch. I really hope you found these 5 ways to keep the lunch box and our kids safe helpful and useful.
For more lunch box tips, hints and ideas, be sure to follow @lunchboxworld and subscribe. We have a FREEBIE to give you, so grab this FREEBIE by subscribing to Lunchbox World!
Again let’s keep our kids safe and the lunch boxes too!
The lunch box lady x