Red 40

Red 40....such a bright, fun looking color to add to anything a kid might like - candy, peppermint ice cream, Tylenol. You've got to admit it really appeals to a child to eat red food..and my son is no exception. It's a big issue in our household though because my oldest has a sensitivity to red 40 and it makes him hyperactive, almost impossible to reason with at times. I was so relieved when we figured out what was going on with him. I was about to wonder if my kid was ADHD. I swear I had a word of knowledge in the middle of the night. I was praying about what to do with my little 2.75 year old boy. None of the discipline methods we were using were working, and we'd read a lot of books. Suddenly I randomly thought "red 40"....the following morning I went downstairs and looked at the peppermint ice cream that my son had been having as a treat every night that week as the lead up to Christmas. Sure enough it had red 40 in it so it went straight into the trash, as did the Starbursts we were using for potty training rewards. And the behavior got a lot better immediately.
Fast forward 4 months. My son has ear ache and we were giving him generic Motrin for the pain. Knowing that he had a sensitivity to red 40 I avoided the cherry flavor and got the grape thinking it would be fine.....and it wasn't. Sure enough his behavior started changing. My normally strong willed but sweet boy turned into a little monster and he seemingly had no control over himself. I was at the point of meltdown when I thought "maybe the medicine has red 40 in it" and yes, there it was. Motrin in the trash. Now I just buy dye-free Motrin & Tylenol. It's expensive but worth every penny when I see red 40 making my son crazy.
I am frustrated that this is not more widely known about, and that pharmaceutical companies use this stuff to market to kids when clearly it is bad for them. And as for candies...well.....I am saddened that we feed kids a diet full of things which belong in the trash and expect their little biochemistry to handle it. It was a wake up call for me and I long for the information to get out there so that others don't have to go through what we did to get to this point.

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