If you've had a kid with food allergies for a while, you likely already know these tips - but if your kid was recently diagnosed, these can give you an idea of how to let your kid be a kid while still staying safe.
As spring is in full swing, your child is more likely to go on field trips, play in little league sports and have all day play dates at the park. With the increase of “fun,” parents should be mindful of still keeping their children as safe as possible, especially if they have any kind of allergies.
Food allergies are on the rise, and it's estimated that every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction occurs. Even if you don't have a kid with allergies, keep these tips in mind - odds are one of your kids' friends is allergic to something.
Logistics – let friends’ parents, coaches and field trip chaperones know of your child’s specific food allergies, how to recognize an allergic reaction and what to do in case of emergency. The best way to do this is to schedule an advanced one-on-one meeting. I've also known parents who have made up business cards with this info on it to hand out to teachers, parents, and other adults.
Wrist Candy – Medical safety bracelets have saved hundreds of lives since EMTs are trained to look for them. The only way a bracelet can save your child’s life in an emergency is if they are actually wearing them. Nowadays, many companies, like Medical ID Marketplace (www.hopepaige.com) are creating trendy bracelets that kids no longer have to be embarrassed for wearing them. They have hundreds of designs fit for every kid’s personality. The bracelets also come with a complimentary engraving and allow parents to include emergency contacts and health info.
Play Ball – allergies should never come between your child and their extracurricular activity. Make sure to pack a smart snack and a proper medicine kit (i.e. EpiPen, Inhaler, etc). This is where the one-on-one meetings come in handy. Make sure the coaches/staff know how to use the medicine kit correctly, so there is no fumbling around in emergencies.
Smart Snacks – kids will be kids and should not be deprived of a mid-afternoon snack because they have allergies. Instead load them up with “safe” alternatives like that are all peanut-free. For a sweet tooth, consider fruit-based candy (typically they aren't even processed in a facility that processes peanuts). For salty snacks, pretzels and many kinds of chips are safe for peanut allergies. Always read food labels to be sure.