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Table 5 Guiding child’s choices, managing their anxieties, and supporting their autonomy when eating out

From: Parents’ and caregivers’ experiences and behaviours when eating out with children with a food hypersensitivity

Assisting child in making safe choices when eating out:
1) …there are times where we’ve stayed in hotels and had breakfast in the morning and again, she’s fine, just go with her but yeah, it’s been fine.
  (P4, F < 8: Milk)
2) I’m trying to get her into the habit of…asking (in school canteen)…It’s a limited window of time, it’s a case of getting in, sitting down and get eating, but I’ve said to her to ask the ladies behind the desk, just check with them, She needs to get into the habit, next year she’ll be in year 5, her confidence is increasing.
  (P6, F 8–12: Peanuts, tree nuts)
3) I’ve just drummed it into him wherever he goes… and if he’s eating out, just say allergic to peanuts or nuts, and stay away from them. It’s different if I’m there.
  (P12, M 8–12: Peanuts, milk)
4) He knows he can go somewhere and pick up something he knows is safe and he’s not feeling self-conscious at all but I think he would be awkward if he wanted to ask. But he’s going to have to do it.
  (P8, M 13–17: Peanuts, tree nuts)
Caregiver’s trust in child’s confidence eating out:
5) I mean he is sensible. He knows what he can and can’t have, and his friends know. They’ll go to (burger chain) and he’ll have chips and an ice cream because he knows he’s fine with that…..His friends accept it; they’ve known him since primary school. It’s not a new concept with them so he’s fine with that, he just knows what he can and can’t have.
  (P8, M 13–17: Peanuts, tree nuts)
6) …my son just goes on the internet to see what’s in this, what is in that. He does that a lot.
  Right so he’s really sort of tried to take control.
  Very much so, he’s completely taken control of his own situation, so that helps me a lot.
  (P1, M 13–17: Peanuts, tree nuts, milk)
7) She doesn’t see it as a problem. So I myself, her dad lives in (European country), by the seaside and there’s lots of places to eat by the seafront and I would avoid those places.
  (Child responding) Really? When I went to (European country) without you, we went.
  (P10, F 13–17: Crustaceans)
8) …is there anything you ever do that sometimes makes you feel anxious?
(Caregiver addressing child) You’re not bothered, are you? It doesn’t seem to affect him. It’s more us, definitely. (P12, M 8–12: Peanuts, milk)
Balancing the need for caution with avoidance of worry and anxiety when eating out:
9) …since the last time it happened, she’s very, very, even since she’s been sick bless her, she’s been so panicky about them. I mean she’s obviously at home, she knows that I’m on top of it but yeah, if we do go out… if there’s something slightly or something that looks like a sesame (seed), you know literally anything, she’ll be very… ‘are you sure, are you sure, are you sure?’
(P3, F < 8: Sesame)
10) (When trying new food) it would be taking a little bit at a time…and seeing what his reaction would be, without trying to freak him out. Like ‘Oh you can only have a spoonful of that, then wait for 5 min!’ So it’s almost about being a little deceptive about how you do things. (P2, M 8–12: Peanuts, tree nuts)
11) He knows the food he can eat and he tends to stick with that… He should try a bit more variety but he won’t….We’ve tried everything to get him to eat something a bit different…
  (P12, M 8–12: Peanuts, milk)