If you have a child with a food allergy, sending your child to school can be a terrifying prospect. However, there are several ways you can help keep your child safe.
- Get documentation from your child’s allergist. Having specific and complete information on your child’s allergy is extremely helpful when meeting with your child’s teacher, the school nurse or any other part of school administration. Have extra copies for the school to keep on file.
- Provide the school with your child’s medications and/or an epipen. You can always use an epipen savings card to buy an extra epipen if cost is an issue. Before school starts, speak with the school nurse about your child’s allergy and make sure to sign all necessary permission forms and medical releases.
- Speak with your child’s teacher and, if necessary, principal. Creating an open line of communication with your child’s teacher is imperative. Ask about any lesson plans or parties that may include food items your child is allergic to. Suggest alternatives and even offer to provide them.
- Ask about a 504 plan and an Emergency Action Plan. If you child’s allergy falls under the Americans with Disabilities act, there are accommodations your child’s school is legally obligated to make. Additionally, if the school does not have an Emergency Action Plan, suggest that they draft one stating what steps will be taken if an emergency should occur.
- Ask that a letter be sent out to other parents. Alerting other parents in the class to your child’s condition is a good first step toward avoiding accidental exposure to allergens. Many parents are willing to help and you may even discover fellow parents of children with food allergies.
In addition to these tips, it’s also a good idea to have your child wear a medical alert bracelet. Include information such as your child’s allergy and your phone number.