It’s time for back to school and whether it’s your child’s first day of school or they’re returning to school for another year, introducing a child with food allergies into a new environment can be nerve-racking. This is why it is important to educate and remind your children’s teachers and caregivers about food allergy precautions and safety before school starts.
Here are some simple steps you can follow to make sure that the transition is a safe one for your child:
- Schedule a back-to-school checkup with your pediatrician or allergist to make sure that your current treatment plan is still effective. Tips on how to ask the right questions to your doctor.
- Document your child’s allergies and treatment plan in school or daycare paperwork.
- Provide teachers and caregivers with brochures and information on your child’s allergy to prevent accidents.
- Create a one page “Cheat Sheet” with information about your child’s allergies for substitutes or new employees.
- Discuss what to do in case of an emergency. Ask your pediatrician about keeping an epinephrine auto-injector on-site. Be sure to train the caregiver on when and how to use one.
- Make sure that your child fully understands what can trigger their allergy.
- Look at upcoming lunch or snack menus and identify safe options, also provide the school with a list of safe foods that your child can enjoy at any time.
- If no safe options are available, pack food from home and warn your child not to trade food with his/her classmates.
- Offer to bring in allergy-safe treats for holidays and special events. This way you know that your child is safe, and they won’t feel excluded from the fun!
Communication and education is the most important part of going back to school with food allergies. Hopefully these tips will provide you with some ideas on how to best educate your child’s new classroom on living with food allergies.
If you have any creative strategies to help prepare for a safe school year, we’d love to hear about them in the comments!