In our last post, we talked about a variety of things that you, as a parent, can do when prepping your children’s lunches to maximize food safety. We mentioned that preventing foodborne illnesses begins during back-to-school shopping, where it is easy to pick up insulated lunch bags, ice packs, and other items that can help keep lunch food at safe temperatures. Keeping a clean workspace and packing the night before can also help prevent dangerous bacteria from growing to unsafe levels before lunchtime at school.
Today, let’s take a look at some of the things your kids can do to help keep themselves safe. Food safety starts with you, but once your children leave for school, the responsibility shifts to them.
Avoid Moving Things Around
Children are curious creatures, and your kids will probably be dying to know what they are getting for lunch. While it is fine for them to look in their lunchbox or bag, they should be aware of how you packed it. If you strategically place an ice pack or a frozen juice box next to something that needs to stay cold, be sure that your children know not to move things around too much.
Store Lunches in a Refrigerator If Possible
If your child has a refrigerator available to him or her in which lunches can be stored, encourage your child to use it. Not all schools will have this option, but it is generally best to keep your child’s lunch chilled for as long as possible leading up to lunch. Of course, if you packed your child something warm in an insulated container, putting it in the fridge will not help much, but most school lunches are safest when they are kept under 40 °F.
Do Not Eat Leftovers
When packing your child’s lunch, pack only what he or she is likely to eat at lunchtime. You should also remind your child not to eat leftover food that should be cold on the way home. If your child does not finish his or her sandwich or yogurt cup at lunchtime, and the food is not kept cold during the afternoon, it is not safe to eat later. Encourage your child to throw away such leftovers and to save items such as sealed snacks for the bus ride home. Your child should also throw away (or recycle) any single-use bags or packaging to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying in his or her lunch box.
Contact a Chicago Food Poisoning Lawyer
If you and your child have taken all of the recommended precautions to prevent foodborne illness, and your child still contracted food poisoning, a contaminated food product could be to blame. Contact an experienced Illinois foodborne illness attorney at Newland & Newland, LLP to discuss your options for taking action. Call 312-981-0409 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.