Picnics, Cookouts and Trips to the Beach…

Posted 6.30.09 | Mallory West

Now that summer has officially begun and the 4th of July is quickly approaching, you’re probably beginning to worry about upcoming picnics, cookouts, and days at the beach. Can your child with a severe allergy safely join in on the fun? Of course! With some careful planning and the right attitude, you and your child can enjoy the summer. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Develop a list of your little one’s medications – including those taken only in an emergency

When preparing for an outing, it’s often easy to forget some of the smaller items that you keep stocked at home. To ensure you have everything you need, make a list in advance of the medications your little one uses – on a daily basis and in case of an emergency.

Prepare allergy safe food for your child in advance

If you’re picnicking with friends or family, make sure to bring some meals and snacks that your little one can enjoy. Not everyone shares your caution in handling certain ingredients, so go ahead and prepare the food yourself before leaving. And remember, to label all food carefully – it’s easy for someone to grab the wrong item, possibly leaving your child with allergies without a meal.

Make sure whoever is hosting the summer activity knows about your child’s allergies

Many times people are so busy preparing to host a group of people, that your child’s specific allergies might slip their mind. Play it safe -- even if the host knows you and your child well, it never hurts to provide a friendly reminder about what your child can and cannot eat.

Keep it clean

Avoid eating directly on park picnic tables – you don’t know who was there prior to your visit and what food residue might be leftover. Instead bring a table cloth and some plates that everyone can eat on. Disinfectant wipes are also great for quickly wiping down areas.

Have an emergency plan

No matter how much you plan, it’s still possible that your child will accidentally come into contact with a food that causes an allergic reaction. If and when this happens, it’s easy to panic and forget what you need to do to help your child. Prior to your outing, write down what needs to be done in case of emergency – this will not only help you but can also serve as a guideline for any other adults onsite who can offer a hand.


While it’s important to plan for your outing to ensure your child’s safety, summer is about having fun! Remember to bring activities such as coloring books and games so that food is not the primary focus of the outing.

What summer plans do you and your little ones have?

- Mallory

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.