Preventing Foodborne Illness
When Grandparents Take Care of Grandchildren:
You've probably seen the T-shirts that read: "If I'd known how much fun it is to have grandchildren, I would have had them first." Well, it is fun when grandchildren come to visit, or if you regularly lend a hand with their care. But as you know, the care and feeding of grandchildren is also a major responsibility.
Many of the feeding practices you probably used with your own children are no longer advocated for today's infants and toddlers. So let's take a look at the food safety implications of feeding special new person in your life.
The Latest, Safest Information on Feeding Infants and Young Children
Keep It Clean—Always begin formula and food preparation by washing your hands. According to a Penn State University study of mothers with infants less than 4 months old,
Did you know that not washing hands could result in infant diarrhea because: Bacteria can grow
Handling Baby's Food Safely
Harmful bacteria from a baby's mouth can be introduced into food or bottles where it can grow and multiply even after refrigeration and reheating. If the baby does not finish a bottle, do not put it back in the refrigerator for another time.
Likewise, do not feed a baby from a jar of baby food and put it back in the refrigerator for another time. Saliva on the spoon contaminates the remaining food.
Perishable items like milk, formula or food left out of the refrigerator or without a cold source for more than 2 hours should not be used.
When traveling with baby,
Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for preparing bottles before filling with formula or milk. Observe "Use-by" dates on formula cans. See baby food safe storage chart for detailed information. Don't feed a baby anything kept longer.
Those interested in health foods may consider using honey as a sweetener to entice babies to drink water from a bottle. Honey is not safe for children less than a year old. It can contain the botulinum organism that could cause illness or death. Raw or unpasteurized milk should not be served to infants and children.
If making homemade baby food, use a brush to clean areas around the blender blades or food processor parts. Old food particles can harbor harmful bacteria that may contaminate other foods.
Use detergent and hot water to wash and rinse all utensils (including the can opener) which come in contact with baby's foods.
If using commercial baby foods, check to see if the safety button on the lid is down. If the jar lid doesn't "pop" when opened, do not use. Discard jars with chipped glass or rusty lids.
To freeze homemade baby food, put the mixture in an ice cube tray. Cover with heavy-duty plastic wrap until the food is frozen. Then pop food cubes into a freezer bag or airtight container and date it. Store up to 3 months. One cube equals one serving.
Small jars can also be used for freezing. Leave about ½ inch of space at the top because food expands when frozen.