And Your Child
Handling a child's allergy can be tricky even when you're with him or her, but what about when your child is away from your watchful eye? And with back-to-school time almost upon us, you might be concerned about the safety of your food-allergic child at school. Here are some steps you can take to help manage your child's allergy and keep them safe throughout the school year.
A child's responsibility
Children with an allergy learn at a young age that there are certain foods they need to avoid, but that can sometimes be a hard task to follow when their classmates are enjoying a special treat or snack. As your child gets ready to head back to school, take the time to teach or remind them of their personal responsibilities to keep safe from an allergic reaction. These responsibilities include the following:
- Knowing which foods they are allergic to and the severity of the allergy.
- Not eating foods that contain the ingredient to which they are allergic.
- Avoiding foods that contain unknown ingredients.
- Not trading food or lunches with other students.
- Learning the signs and symptoms of a reaction.
- Knowing they need to tell their teacher (or another adult) when they may have consumed or been exposed to the allergen.
A parent's responsiblity
- Before your child heads off to school, find out if the schoool has policies regarding food allergens. There are many types of allergies, but some schools have a "no-nut" policy or guideline in place.
- Set up a meeting with the school to discuss your child's allergy. While the school will have a record of the allergy from the information you gave them on the registration form, a meeting with the teacher, school administrator or principal will help them understand your situation as well as help alleviate your concerns. Find out the specific details of the school's policies regarding allergies and medical emergency procedures. Remember to also discuss policies regarding cafeteria food or hot lunch programs.
- Provide the school with a letter from your child's health care provider outlining the allergy and emergency treatment options.
- Provide emergency contact numbers and the proper medications to the school.