On Monday we started discussing how to determine if synthetic food coloring is effecting a child's hyperactive behavior in Laura Stevens article The Role of Food Coloring in Improving Symptoms of Hyperactive Kids from the December/January 2008 issue of ADDitude Magazine.
Yesterday she described how to substitute food high in artificial dyes and preservatives. Today, she explains that dyes and preservatives found in personal care products can be swallowed by young children as well.
Dyes and preservatives can also be found in personal care products, such as toothpaste and mouthwashes, some of which may be swallowed by young children.
Again, read the labels carefully before buying them. Crest toothpaste, for instance, contains blue dye; Colgate’s Original is free of it. Clear, natural mouthwashes are a good substitute for those brightly colored varieties.
Most pediatric medicines are also artificially colored and flavored. Ask the child's pediatrician if there is an additive-free substitute that would work just as well.
For over-the-counter medicines, choose Motrin or Tylenol, which come in dye-free white tablets. Be sure to adjust the dosage for the child’s age. The liquid form of the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl is artificially colored with red dye, but the medication also comes in clear liquid capsules.
Avoiding foods and products with artificial colors and preservatives have a big benefit: It will raise the nutritional value of the entire family’s diet, since the "junkiest" foods on supermarket shelves tend to be — you guessed it — most heavily colored and flavored.
Be sure to check out Laura Steven's book Twelve Effective Ways to Help Your ADD/ADHD Child: Drug-Free Alternatives for Attention-Deficit Disorders.
Are any of the children you care for sensitive to artificial dyes, colorings, or preservatives?