Before my son began school, I couldn’t sleep. While I had the normal mommy jitters, I was also petrified for a bigger reason.
My son has severe food allergies, but he’s had good luck up until this point. He’s already had a few scares, like that time he ate a cube of cheese off another child’s plate at a party, or the time he grabbed another baby’s sippy cup. Even so, I was nearby and waiting with his antihistamine in one hand and epinephrine in the other.
Some of my fears may have been unfounded, but it’s a mother’s job to protect her child.
Even though the school had a “peanut free” lunch table, what if my son tried to trade cookies with another child? Not every cookie is made with dairy-free chocolate chips or applesauce instead of eggs.
Maybe I haven’t done my children any favors by providing substitutes and products that are similar to snacks that other kids eat. While my son knew that he had “his kind” of milk, cookies, and ice cream at home, did he realize that he shouldn’t eat other kids’ snacks?
I also worried that when he was on the school bus or the playground, he wouldn’t have epinephrine with him. With the rising percentages of bullying, what if he decides it’s “uncool” to carry his medication with him at all times?
Would a five-year-old child with food allergies have difficulty navigating a new school on his own?
When your child has food allergies. communicating with the school is key. Many schools have policies in place such as specific forms and instructions for the cafeteria.
Legislation has also pushed states to require schools to stock epinephrine in the school office. Parents may complete a healthcare plan, such as a Section 504 Plan, to detail their child’s allergies and ensure that a plan is in place in case of an emergency.
In addition to the resources available in the schools, here’s a list of some great resources and printables for parents of children with food allergies.
- 10 School Planning Tips When Your Child Has Food Allergies
- School Health Care Plans For Your Child With Food Allergies
- Section 504 and Written Management Plans
- Managing Food Allergies at School
- Living Confidently With Food Allergies
- Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) Guide for Parents
- FARE Emergency Care Plan
- Reducing the Risk of Exposure to Food Allergens
- When Should Children and Adolescents Assume Responsibility For Self-Treatment of Anaphylaxis?
- Managing Food Allergies in School Nutrition Programs
- Can Bullying Be Stopped Among Food Allergic Children?
- How to Protect Your Child From Harassment
- 5 Ways to Prepare For an Allergy Emergency
- School Access to Epinephrine by States
- School Tool Kit
- School Food Allergy Education Table
- If your child has food allergies, you’re most likely aware of the ingredients that your child needs to avoid and the derivatives of the allergen. However, not everyone knows what to look for when reading food labels. I love the printable versions of these allergen avoidance lists. I laminated copies and placed one in my son’s backpack and gave the others to family members.
It can be scary to send your child into the world. By arming yourself with information and keeping the lines of communication open, you may be able to ease the transition. Let me know how it goes!
By the way, if you’re looking for resources for your own home, the Food Allergy Freedom Super Bundle has amazing ecookbooks and food allergy resources – perfect for all of your family’s allergy needs.