You are at a family party and your well-intentioned aunt tries to feed gluten-containing cookies to your toddler with celiac disease. What do you do?
“This is a no-brainer. You intervene immediately—tactfully, yet directly in what amounts to a teachable moment for this well-intentioned relative. First, thank her for offering your child some cookies; everyone’s enjoying the family festivities. Second, then explain briefly but clearly that your child has celiac disease, and thus cannot have even a crumb of “regular” cookies. Third, you’ve (hopefully) brought gluten-free alternatives—either homemade or store-bought—and give the aunt an opportunity to offer your toddler that instead.”
- Beyond Celiac Athlete for Awareness Peter Bronski of No Gluten, No Problem
"Peter Bronski had a great answer to this scenario! I'm putting a different spin on this question: What if your well-intentioned aunt makes gluten-free cookies that you don't think were properly prepared?
It can be tough on parents when they have to supervise toddlers since you have to keep your eyes on them every minute. It is also tough when someone goes to extra trouble to make something special that they believe you can eat. If your aunt has made gluten-free cookies, thank her for considering your child’s needs and being so thoughtful. Explain that the gluten-free diet can be harder than it looks because you have to worry about trace amounts that can make your child sick. Then, tell her that common culprits are baking sheets, shared butter or condiments that may have crumbs from bread, flour that gets in the air when other baked goods are prepared, etc. Reinforce that you very much appreciate the effort and that you just can’t risk putting your newly diagnosed child at risk."
- Jennifer North, Beyond Celiac Vice President
"I intervene as quickly as possible with a caring and loving response: 'Aunty! How nice. Let me give you some of these gluten-free cookies for this little guy. He has celiac disease and regular cookies will make him ill – we’d hate to leave early with a sick kid! Would you please wash your hands before you handle the gluten-free snacks for him? I know it sounds extreme, but it’s very important to his health.'”
- Claire Baker, Beyond Celiac Director of Communications and New Media