Health, Safety and Nutrition for the Young Child

Ensuring proper health, safety, and nutrition for a young child requires strict adherence to certain health precautions. Such safety measures revolve around food storage, food sanitation, proper food handling, food preparation, and presentation, which constitute healthy and wise feeding in children. Many people are often keen on the food they consume, however, for children aged between three and five years, some additional measures need to be put in place to ensure that their diet falls within the recommended brackets. Parents assume the responsibility of selecting what children between the age of three and five years eat. They are likewise directly responsible for the preparation, handling, and presentation of the food.

Food safety and sanitation measures are paramount for children of age five and below. Such children are highly vulnerable to health complications because they have a developing immune system, which may be unable to fight infections effectively (Albrecht and Julie et al. 23). In addition, young children produce little stomach acids to detoxify harmful microorganisms that may be ingested alongside food. As a result, this group of people is at a high risk of contracting food borne diseases. Maintaining personal hygiene and sanitation of the kitchen and food can help in proper handling of food.

In essence, proper food storage measures ought to be strictly complied with. Meat, poultry, and seafood should be refrigerated and stored under temperatures of about four degrees centigrade (40C) or below. The low temperature facilitates the killing of bacteria and inhibits their further multiplication. Already cut vegetables and fruits should also be stored in a refrigerator since their low temperature inhibits the activities of bacteria in the food.

Food preparation procedures are equally of great significance in maintaining a child healthy. Before attempting to prepare any food, it is important to keep the cooking environment clean. Skipping this process can cause children to contract a serious illnesses. Foods should also be properly cooked, more so, meat, poultry and fish to kill any bacteria or worms that may have been contained in the source animal (Albrecht and Julie et al. 25). Further, it is important not to mix foods, especially meat and fish, since they often contain hazardous microorganisms. Another salient sanitation measure in food preparation is avoiding the use of the same cutting boards and knives without cleaning. This habit can facilitate the transfer of bacteria from one food to another, hence making the food unfit for the children.

After preparation, food for young children should be handled properly to limit the prospects of any form of contamination. Proper food handling encompasses covering the food with clean lids and storing the cooked food in a clean place away from any potential contaminants. Food for children should also be handled with clean hands and utensils. Using one spoon to stir food in separate bowls is discouraged since the resulting mixture may cause complications for children.

The final stage in dealing with food is food presentation. The serving of food should always be done in clean utensils. It is strongly advisable to use utensils that are child-friendly to enhance their appetite. Utensils that have nice and attractive decorations are recommended since they help children to enjoy their meals (Eves and Bielby et al 7). It is important never to serve a child with an uncooked food substance since they often contain high levels of bacteria, which can easily cause food poisoning. While serving a child, food should be cut into small bits that the child can ingest comfortably (Albrecht and Julie et al 14). This measure will prevent any incident of choking or unnecessary vomiting.

The above food safety and sanitation guidelines are paramount for children aged between three and five years. Following them strictly can facilitate proper child growth and development. They reduce the propensity of children contracting food-borne diseases and infections by strengthening their immune systems.

Works Cited

Albrecht, Julie, Rebecca Meysenburg, Christina Perry, Ruth Litchfield, Sam Beattie, Carol Larvick, Carol Schwarz, Jan Temple, and Elizabeth Meimann. “Food Safety Beliefs of Primary Food Handlers in Families with Young Children below 5 years.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour 42.4 (2010): 78-79. Print.

Eves, Anita, Gill Bielby, Bernadette Egan, Margaret Lumbers, Monique Raats and Martin Adams. “Food safety knowledge and behaviors of children.” Health Education Journal 69.1 (2010): 21-30. Print.