Sending Your Child to School With Food Allergies
Sending your child with food allergies to school can be stressful. It's important to education yourself about your child's civil rights, how to advocate and how to effectively communicate with school staff and caregivers.
In addition to the links above, here are some links specifically for parents of food allergic kids.
Providing food allergy education, support and advocacy
for the Triad!
With an average of 2 children in each classroom with food allergies, there is a good chance your life will be touched by food allergy at some point in your child's school career. There are 8 allergens that account for 90% of food allergies in the United States and they include milk/dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. But, there are as many as 170 documented food that people have had severe reactions to. Even though peanut allergies receive the most press, please understand there may be a child in your son or daughter's class with a severe allergy to sesame, peas, sunflower, quinoa, mustard seed or others. Also, it is important not to confuse a life threatening allergy to milk/diary with lactose intolerance.
It takes only a trace amount of an allergen to cause a life threatening allergic reaction so avoiding cross contact is a key component to creating a safe learning environment.
Respect what the parent tells you is necessary to keep her child safe. Just like you, we want our children to be safe, happy and included. We never ask for anything more than is necessary.
Below I have listed some great resources for families who are not living with food allergies, but are interested in learning more.
FARE Back to School Headquarters: Find great resources for parents, school staff, nurses and caregivers.
FAACT School & Food Allergies: Find great resources for parents and school staff.
AllergyHome: Find great printables, narrated presentations and resources for parents, nurses, school staff and caregivers.
Anaphylaxis 101: Learn more about anaphylaxis, including kid friendly activities.
Food Allergy Advocate: Section 504 Plan Outline
Food Allergies & Inclusion: Guest Blogger discusses the importance of inclusion in school.
Understanding Food Allergies: This 6 minute narrated module will help families not living with food allergies to understand them further.
Food Allergy Facts & Statistics: Here you will find basic food allergy facts and current statistics.
Food Allergy Myths & Facts: Here you will find the answers to many questions and common myths will be debunked.
How to Read Labels: Here you will learn how to read ingredient labels to ensure the food does not contain an allergen. It's important to note that labeling laws do not regulate the inclusion or verbiage of "may contain" or "made in the same facility" type statements. The absence of a statement on a product does not mean it is safe as it may have been made on shared equipment. The only way to know for sure is to call the manufacturer. Ingredients and handling can change at any time so it is very important to read labels every time you purchase a product.
Allergy vs. Intolerance: Click here to learn the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance.
Avoiding Cross Contact: Cross contact or cross contamination is when allergens make their way from one place to another. This can occur when allergens are left on unwashed or poorly washed hands and are transferred to tables or chairs. Or, if a shared pencil or marker makes it way in to a child's mouth who has eaten an allergen and then an allergic child touches it. It takes only a trace amount of an allergen to cause a life threatening reaction so avoiding cross contact is vital to creating a safe environment for food allergic kids.
Peanut Butter Alternatives: SunButterandWowbutterare great alternatives to peanut butter. They can be used to make sandwiches, dips for fruit and baked goods. They can both be found at local WalMarts!
Snack Safely: This list includes snack food that are free of peanut, tree nut and egg. Because ingredients and manufacturing can change at any time, it's important to check this list often for updates and always read labels.
Non Food Treat Ideas: There are many kid friendly and food free ways to celebrate.
Allergens in Craft Supplies: You would be amazed at where food derived ingredients can hide.
Food Allergy Bullying, It's No Joke: This is a great video to share with your kids so they understand teasing or bullying someone because of their food allergies is hurtful and potentially deadly.
Symptoms & Treatment of Anaphylaxis: Here you will find a list of possible symptoms of anaphylaxis and the recommended treatment.
How to Administer EpiPen: Here you will find a demonstration on how to administer an EpiPen.
Food Allergy Quiz:Here you can test your knowledge!
Just for Kids: Visit our page to see fun games and links to help kids understand food allergies.
Food Allergies & Inclusion a School: Guest blogger discusses the importance of inclusion in school.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more!!