Food Allergies: Keeping Your Child Safe
When our children are little and are at home with us, we can really control most if not everything they eat or do not eat. So, if you are the parent of a child with a food allergy, I'm sure you are vigilant about what foods come into your home, what your child is exposed to and of course, what they consume.
But what happens when they go off to childcare, preschool or kindergarten? Can you protect them the same way that you have in your home? If your child is receiving early intervention services as well, they may enter an educational program of some kind even earlier then you anticipated. Therefore, it is wise to be educated about the facility your child is attending and how the administration and staff address food allergies.
So, what are some ways to help ensure that your child is kept safe when they enter childcare or school program? Here are some helpful rules to follow to help you keep your child safe:
- Notify the Administration and ALL Staff - This is very simple and basic, but make sure it is documented on your child's medical information and be aware that ANYONE working with your child needs to know this vital information. Any and all therapists, instructional assistants, etc. need to know that your child has a food allergy. You never know if a staff member or parent could send in a special treat for the class, or cook with the kids, etc.; therefore it is mandatory that any and all staff working with your child be made aware.
- Have Allergy(s) Posted in Your Child's Classroom - At our school and childcare facility we are mandated to post known food allergies in the front of the classroom in a spot visible to anyone entering the classroom. This hopefully ensures that ANYONE - a substitute teacher, a classroom volunteer, a student teacher, a new employee, etc. will be able to easily see and check if any of the students in the room have a food allergy. The fact remains, there are numerous visitors, volunteers, etc. that can enter a child's classroom at any time and it is the job of the staff and administration to keep your child safe.
- Put Allergy Alerts on Your Child and Their Belongings - If your child is very young and/or has difficulty communicating, this last suggestion really is a rule that should be followed. There are so many wonderful companies out there that specialize in making labels for children, many of the labels now are not only informative and life-saving, but they are also adorable, with kid-friendly pictures and designs that will bring the appropriate attention to your child's food allergies. Below are some wonderful websites that make food allergy labels. These are just a few, but there are many out there. I hope you find this list helpful!