Back-to-school tips for children with food allergies is very important to know about. It is especially important for the parent who are apprehensive about taking up this matter with the school their child will be attending. You must be an advocate for your child and for others who may be in the same position.
The school offices are usually open a couple of weeks before classes start, therefore, you should take advantage of this time to discuss your concerns with teachers and staff. it is important that you use these four main tips if you have a child with food allergies, that can help your child to be safe.
Have an Emergency Action Plan
You will need to have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP). This plan will list the child’s allergies, list their emergency contacts and the medication they will need if the occasion arises. You can obtain a copy of an EAP from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN).
Parents of children who suffer from severe allergies should have a 504plan in place. This plan is a legal document that has details about how your child’s food allergy should be handled at school. Included on this plan are not only the safety plans, but the way to handle clean up of classrooms and what to do on field trips.
Have a Discussion with the Teacher and the School Nurse
This is a good time to discuss with the teacher and the school nurse specific concerns you may have and concerns they may have. You can discuss things like birthday party snacks that other parents may bring, and hand washing policies.
Make classmates educated
We as parents do not want the child with food allergies to be bullied. Maybe you can talk to the class, or have the teacher talk to the class about basic food allergies. It helps to answer questions that the children may have, too. It helps to use picture material to show younger children.
Always Be Prepared
Your child should be wearing a medical alert bracelet for their allergies. There should also be a medical emergency first aid kit in the child’s presence at all times. The kit will contain the following: an Epi Pen, and a copy of the prescription, Benadryl, an antihistamine, in an easy to swallow form like liquid or melt strips, and the EAP, that has been updated with contact information.
There is a site called Kids with Food Allergies (KFA, Inc.) that has a newsletter, advice, forms, and school planning resource kits to help you with your voyage of alerting parents and teachers about food allergies. This is a good site with lots of useful information.
Allergic to Peanuts
If your child is allergic to peanuts, here are some ideas for you to put in their lunches: Cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, lunch meat and cheese tortilla wraps, sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwiches. Snack ideas for you to use can be: yogurt, cheese sticks, pretzel’s crackers and cheese and hard-boiled eggs. For drinks you can serve any of the following: milk, juice, or water. For desserts you can have fruit like apples and oranges, and cookies that are nut free.
Allergic to Wheat
This is a little harder to pack a lunch for a child allergic to wheat because so many things contain some wheat. Now there is gluten free breads which can make sandwiches easier. You can pack things like: a thermos full of gluten free pasta, soup that is wheat free and gluten free crackers, tuna and rice crackers, and lunch meat that is wheat free and cheese. Snack ideas are yogurt, popcorn, dried raisins, carrot and celery sticks, apple slices and gluten free energy bars. For dessert they can have fruit, and wheat free cupcakes and cookies.
Using these back-to-school tips can help you with your child who has food allergies. Bringing your child to school with food allergies does not need to be difficult, if you do the necessary steps to make sure that your child is protected. Remember to have an EAP, talk with the teacher and the school nurse and be prepared. Knowing your child is safe gives you peace of mind.