August 8th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Secret for a safe kid's lunch: Extra ice

When you're packing your kid's lunchbox in the morning, the ice pack is just as important as the fruit and the sandwich. And new research finds you might need more than one to keep your little one healthy.

Looking at the lunches of preschool age children, Texas researchers found that 98% of the time the food was not as cold or as hot as it should be for safe eating, even if packed in an insulated lunch box or stored in a hot thermos. This means your child may be more likely to come home with a stomach ache.

"This is a red flag. This means that the recommendations for food safety are not being followed," said Dr. Steve Abrams, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition.

Food science experts at the University of Texas in Austin tested the temperature of foods in more than 700 packed lunches of 3- to 5-year-olds attending day care.

The scientists were surprised by what they found. The results appear in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics.

"I was shocked to discover that almost 40% of the time, parents had not packed an ice pack in their child's lunch," said study author Fawaz Almansour with the Department of Nutrition at the University of Texas at Austin.

But even when several ice packs arrived in the lunch, more than 90% of the perishable foods had entered the temperature danger zone. When foods that should stay chilled, such as milk, meat and sliced fruits, reach temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it's  risky to eat them, especially if they've sat longer than two hours.

For hot items such as a thermos of soup, the temperature needs to stay at 140 degrees or above. When temperatures deviate from the safe zone, this gives bacteria a fertile playground, potentially spoiling food and sickening people who consume it. If your child complains of a stomach ache or is vomiting or has diarrhea, it's not necessarily a bug caught from another child. It may be from the food he ate that day. According to the study, children younger than 3 or younger are four and a half times more likely than adults who are 49 or younger to suffer from a foodborne illness .

The Texas researchers found that the average temperature for perishable foods had climbed to 62 degrees by lunchtime, more than 20 degrees  higher than recommended.

"Parents want to do the right thing for their child ,and I think that sometimes there is not an awareness that some foods need to stay cold," says Diane Van, deputy director of food safety education at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Van says that there are several practical things that parents can do when packing their child's lunch and they don't have to take a lot of time.


– When you can, freeze it

Before you head to bed, take your child's milk, juice or water and put it in the freezer. It can then serve as a second ice pack and help keep other foods cold. You can also do this with other foods as such as yogurt or soft cheeses. When making a chicken sandwich or other perishable mainstay, put it in the freezer as well, leaving the lettuce and tomato in the refrigerator to be added later.

– Keep it cold

If you're sending a whole apple or an orange,  which normally don't need to be refrigerated, put it in anyway to get cold. This will help keep the overall temperature of the lunch box lower.

– Make sure it's insulated

When shopping for a lunch box, choose one that's insulated. Van says that  there are many more of these available than in years past and that they can really make a difference.

– Double up on the ice packs

Always use an ice pack or cold source. If you have room, try to use more than one. Remember that a frozen beverage can help.

– Use the day care refrigerator

If your child's day care has a refrigerator, ask to use it.

If you'd like to test the temperature of your child's lunch, you can use a refrigerator thermometer to get a reading. You can find them at your hardware store or where appliances are sold.


– When cold weather hits, children sometimes like hot soup as part of their lunch. The best way to ensure that it stays at 140 degrees or higher is to pour boiling water into the thermos in the morning, letting it sit for several minutes. Then pour the hot soup into the container.

And the rules for packaging lunches don't just apply to children. When taking leftovers and other items to work, don't forget your own ice packs. You may need to schedule a trip to the store to buy some extras so that everyone in the family can eat safe healthy meals.

Follow @CNNHealth on Twitter

soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Kuikseelt

    buy prescription only viagra viagra professional o superactive guaranteed viagra alternative

    February 7, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. zortilo nrel

    I¦ve recently started a blog, the information you offer on this site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work.


    February 7, 2021 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. zortilonrel

    Very interesting info !Perfect just what I was looking for!


    February 7, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. JbbvEncox

    antibiotics my canadian pharmacy best canadian mail order pharmacies

    February 7, 2021 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. LbsxEncox

    canada prescription drugs freeviagrasamplepack prescription drugs from canada

    February 8, 2021 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. AhkdEncox

    pharmacies online mexican pharmacies shipping to usa birth control

    February 8, 2021 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. zortilo nrel

    I want to voice my affection for your kind-heartedness for those who have the need for help on your content. Your personal dedication to passing the solution all through became extremely useful and have in most cases empowered people like me to get to their aims. Your amazing interesting key points indicates much to me and especially to my office colleagues. Thanks a ton; from all of us.


    February 8, 2021 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. KbcxMile

    pharmacy online mexico health canada drug database shoppers drug mart pharmacy

    February 8, 2021 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    February 9, 2021 at 00:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Fókuszpályázat

    Hi, Neat post. There's a problem with your site in internet explorer, would check this… IE still is the market leader and a huge portion of people will miss your excellent writing because of this problem.


    February 9, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Europa-Road traktor szállítás

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!


    February 9, 2021 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. zortilonrel

    Utterly indited subject material, Really enjoyed examining.


    February 12, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. NbnhZisse

    where can i get female viagra pills http://vigedon.com/ price of sildenafil in india

    February 12, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. FqbbEncox

    payday loan auburn washington first cash advance lubbock payday advance in orange ca

    February 12, 2021 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. AbcfTeneseelt

    generic viagra 25 mg http://viagriyvik.com/ where can you buy viagra with paypal?

    February 12, 2021 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Jeffery Kander

    Get Our Passive Income System – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Run our Premium Unlimited Traffic Step 3: Setup your Paypal account. Then just sit back and relax while you watch your paypal account receiving payments during the whole day 100 in auto pilot. More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/


    February 12, 2021 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. FbsgZisse

    cheap cialis professional http://llecialisjaw.com/ generic cialis online australia

    February 13, 2021 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. JbnvCrulk

    wausau wi payday loans money loans in hemet ca adp total pay card cash advance

    February 13, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Kbbfseelt

    best place to buy online viagra paypal http://kloviagrli.com/ viagra for sale usa

    February 13, 2021 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. JbbnEncox

    cialis ad agency cialis i polen can i take two 5mg cialis

    February 14, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. LabxEncox

    cialis pas cher sur internet levitra ar cialis which works better best buy cialis generic

    February 16, 2021 at 03:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. KvaxMile

    cash advance american express uk aaa payday cash first american cash advance lebanon ohio

    February 16, 2021 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. AhbzEncox

    small business cash advance startup quick cash loans 5000 money lion loans phone number

    February 16, 2021 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. plaquenil effects on eyes

    male erectile complex plaquenil autoimmune erectile anxiety

    February 18, 2021 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. zithromax generic

    zithromax 100 mg zithromax tablets zithromax 250 mg tablet

    February 18, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. plaquenil drug

    long term side effects of plaquenil hydroxychloroquine cost hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine side effects

    February 19, 2021 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. SocialMedia Services2021

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/services


    February 19, 2021 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. tadalafil pills

    tadalafil 20mg side effects tadalafil 40 mg daily tadalafil 20mg side effects

    February 21, 2021 at 02:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. clonidine hydrochloride

    is chloroquine available over the counter cloroquine chloroquine vs chloroquine phosphate

    February 21, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. plaquenil generic name

    erectile on demand scam is plaquenil safe men with erectile dysfunction

    February 25, 2021 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. NbmoZisse

    buy cialis http://buycialisxz.com/ cialis super active

    February 27, 2021 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. viagra cost

    https://genericviagragog.com viagra sildenafil

    February 27, 2021 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. FjjuZisse

    xanax and viagra viagra vs cialis reddit what exactly does viagra do?

    February 28, 2021 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. ClarkTauts

    xjylf wikhv tfq3

    February 28, 2021 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. KndnMile

    viagra vs birth control insurance coverage viagra boys band cialis vs. viagra recreational use

    March 2, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. jarge Playmn

    Share this article please! It's very interesting: https://dro4ka.net

    March 10, 2021 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. w88

    w88hey fill everything that was ever properly well-nigh Transonic games and build them relavent precondition today's play expectations.


    March 10, 2021 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. jarge Playmn

    Как скачать видео с интернета? Ответ есть!


    March 12, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. sex health and toys for women

    w88Upright playing games will take in you a little add up of decals and toppers only if you really lack to tilt the arena, you penury to open up crates and corrupt DLCs!


    March 14, 2021 at 04:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. sex offenders in my area 29301

    w88At that place was a greater vehemence on wickedness this time around, with sunny and happy levels existence replaced with ones fixed during the dark.


    March 19, 2021 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesis search buy thesis online thesis research proposal thesis writing online

    March 24, 2021 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jarge Playmn

    Порно Фильмы – Огромная онлайн коллекция с бесплатным порно видео и ежедневными обновлениеми на любой вкус. Русское, домашнее, секс видео зрелых, анал, красивые девушки, бдсм, видео молодых, жены, измены, сиськи и другие категории. Смотреть порно фильмы можно как на компьютере так и на мобильном телефоне!

    March 24, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. JvqqEncox

    https://dissertationahelp.com/ – best dissertation writing services dissertation paper dissertation writing dissertation coaching services

    March 25, 2021 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. LmoppEncox

    http://essaywriteris.com/ – essay writers review essay writers needed Who wants to write my essay write my essay canada

    March 26, 2021 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesis help thesis writing uk thesis writing help uk how to write a phd thesis

    March 26, 2021 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. GrvCrulk

    https://kloviagrli.com/ – viagra daily https://vigedon.com/ – canadian viagra sales https://llecialisjaw.com/ – adderall and cialis https://jwcialislrt.com/ – cialis super active https://jecialisbn.com/ – tadalafil vs cialis

    March 26, 2021 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. BrfgMile

    https://ljcialishe.com/ – how long for cialis to peak https://cialisvja.com/ – cialis vs. viagra https://viagraonlinejc.com/ – viagra online no prescription https://viagratx.com/ – is there a viagra for women https://buycialisxz.com/ – cialis otc 2017

    March 31, 2021 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesis online thesis assistance buy a thesis proposal for thesis

    April 1, 2021 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesisacloud.com phd thesis help thesisacloud.com thesis search

    April 8, 2021 at 19:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. https://topxhub.info/categories/ryjie

    Молоденькие а так же зрелые дамочки совсем еще не видят абсолютно ни какой разумной границы.
    Все они могут отсосать принадлежности приглянувшихся парней откровенно на улице.

    Эти милочки суют члены весьма глубоко в
    глотки, а потом с усладой принимают густую сперму.
    Темноволосые и белокурые куколки снимают трусы рядом с камерой ради того чтобы попихаться
    в ароматные щелки а так же упругие анусы.
    Данный медиа-контент заводит ничуть не меньше чем порно видео.
    Увериться в этом вопросе вы непременно сумеете прямо в данный момент.
    Заграничное и также передаст вас, что на самом деле настоящий неудержимый оргазм.
    И не пропустите случай нагнать реальный кайф и
    погонять свой фаллос.

    April 9, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.