Back to School… With Food Allergies

 

Before school starts talk to your kids:

  • DO NOT share food or accept food from others. Kids are often taught sharing is the polite thing to do but with food allergies it can be dangerous. Make sure your child is ready to respond to offers of food with phrases like “No thanks, I have food allergies”, or “No, I have my own food that is safe for me but thank you”. Maybe let them bring a special allergy lunchbox to school for their safe food:

  • Wear your allergy bracelets! With so many options for medical alert bracelets, there is no excuse not to wear one. Metal, silicone, fun cute designs, bracelets or necklaces. Kids are more likely to wear something they choose themselves so have them help pick one out. Here are some ideas: 

    • In Case of Emergency, silicone bracelets allow for customization.

    • Allermates makes super cute silicone bracelets great for the littlest kids.

    • Lauren’s Hope has a wide variety including funky, fun charms with beads and fun designs.

  • Introduce yourself to adults, all of them! Not just the teacher, but the bus driver, the librarian, gym teacher, and art teacher. Go around and introduce yourself WITH your child so you both meet all the new faces and feel comfortable with all the adults who will be in your child’s life. Make sure everyone knows the Emergency Action Plan!

  • Learn to inject epinephrine if they are old enough OR make sure they understand what happens if an adult needs to. Doctors will have differing opinions about what age to train your child to use an epinephrine autoinjector. No matter what age they are they need to understand what happens when it’s used and what their injector looks like.

  • Encourage them to recognize the symptoms of a reaction—and tell someone IMMEDIATELY. Medical attention is needed during a reaction. Both kids and adults around them need to understand how to recognize symptoms and react. 

    • See these charts for reaction descriptions and how younger kids may describe how they are feeling.

      Symptoms of Allergic Reaction Symptoms of Allergic Reaction1

 

What parents should know for school:

  • Get involved. Join the PTA, volunteer at events, and help plan parties. Not only will it help you get to know the staff and other parents at school but you may get a chance to make some events a bit safer. Choose some allergy-friendly options for food treats or perhaps suggest some events to be “food free”. Some ideas:

  • Make sure safe snacks are in reach. Things come up, last minute cupcakes sent in by a parent. A pizza party celebration that the teacher forgot to mention. If your child’s classroom is not food free then you may want to keep a “safe snacks” container in the classroom. 

  • Label Epinephrine, make sure everyone knows where it is. Whether your child self-carries, keeps epinephrine in their backpack or at the nurse’s office – LABEL it and make sure it is easily accessible.

  • Have a safe food list you can share with others. It is very likely you will be asked, either by PTA party planners or teachers “well, what can they eat”. Have a list of products handy that are safe, some healthy and some fun. 

 

Back To School Allergy Shopping Ideas 

Must Have Allergy Items For Kids

 

More Allergy Alert ItemsPersonalized Allergy Badge

 

Food Allergy Shirts

Food Allergy Posters