Education is power, and it can be the difference between life and death when dealing with food allergies. Empower yourself and those around you. Download this simple guide to help your child and those caring for them stay safe.
8 Basic Safety Principles – The below list provides very high level information on basic safety principles. For more in-depth learning download Managing Food Allergies: How to provide a safe environment for children with food allergies.
- Educate your child about their allergies: Your child will learn to advocate for themselves. Teach them to recognize the foods they are allergic to and the importance of avoidance. Make sure they understand the symptoms they might experience if they were to accidentally consume an allergen, and what they need to do in case of a reaction.
- Understand cross-contamination: Cross-contamination is when a safe food item comes in contact with an allergen. Cross-contamination can be particularly dangerous for people with severe allergies, who may experience life-threatening symptoms even from trace amounts of an allergen. To prevent cross-contamination, it is important to carefully label and store allergenic foods separately from other foods, thoroughly clean all utensils and surfaces before and after use, and take precautions to avoid contact with allergens, such as using gloves or separate cutting boards when preparing food.
- Read food labels carefully: Always read labels of the packaged foods every time and make sure they don’t contain any of the allergens your child is allergic to. Product ingredients and manufacturing facilities can change. If you are unsure, it is better to avoid the product altogether.
- Cook meals at home: Cooking meals at home gives you complete control over the ingredients used. To ensure your child’s safety, make sure to use separate utensils, cookware, and surfaces for preparing your child’s food.
- Talk to your child’s school: If your child has allergies, it’s important to talk to their teacher and school administration to ensure that they are aware of the allergies and the steps that need to be taken to keep your child safe. You will want to have a very clear emergency plan/protocol should your child have a reaction.
- Carry an epinephrine auto-injector: In case of an allergic reaction, always have an epinephrine auto-injector on hand. Teach your child and their caregivers how to use it, and make sure it is easily accessible at all times. (Cute carrying cases help) Anytime emergency medication is administered there should be a call to 911 for further medical treatment. This mediation is not a cure, it can temporarily help the symptoms of the reaction to subside until medical help arrives.
- Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet: A medical alert bracelet can help medical professionals identify your child’s allergies in case of an emergency. There are a variety of medic alert bracelets available. Make sure you choose one your child will like and is durable.
- Teach your child how to advocate for themselves: Teach your child to speak up and ask questions about the food they are being served, such as if it contains any of their allergens. Encourage them not to eat any food they feel unsafe or uncomfortable with. They should always have a stash of safe snacks available.
Food Allergy Flashcards
Until there is a cure for food allergies, education and awareness are key to food allergy safety. There is more to staying safe with a food allergen than simply avoiding the allergen. There are many ways a food can become cross contaminated, making a safe food unsafe. These cards help teach safety principles in a very simple to understand format.
Beyond a Peanut Food Allergy Flashcards
These cards create the “aha” syndrome as to why vigilance is necessary to provide a safe environment for children with food allergies. Educate individuals caring for your child: – your extended family members – your neighbor’s house – your daycare provider – your school – your church or synagogue