Summer Safety tips from the Ascentive team
Food allergies are no laughing matter. People with food allergies can have serious or even life-threatening reactions after eating or coming into contact with certain foods. So how do you keep your children with food allergies safe when they’re away from home? Dropping your kid off at school, daycare, or camp means that you are giving up control over what food your child comes in contact with. Here are five important ways to keep children with food allergies safe.
1) Teach Proper Safety
Keeping children with food allergies safe starts with your child. In addition to teaching your kids to avoid foods that they are allergic to, show them how to wash their hands thoroughly before and after eating, and how to use an Epipen, an auto-Injector used for the emergency treatment of a severe allergic reaction. And remind your child to never share utensils or drinking straws with other kids, eat their friends’ snacks on the bus, or sample unusual foods brought into school.
2) Institutional Food Allergy Management Plan
Every institution that supports children in some way should have a Food Allergy Management Plan. This plan includes policies regarding the use of food throughout the day and in various activities, where medications will be kept, and protocols for contacting emergency services and parents in the event of a child having an allergic reaction. These institutions should also ensure that there is phone access in case of a severe allergic reaction that requires a call to 911.
3) Staff Training
In addition to the institution’s management plan, education about food allergies and their treatment should be provided to every staff member of the institution that supervises children. This training should also include drills for food-allergic reactions so the staff may practice implementing emergency plans and using the Epipen.
4) No Cross Contact
Avoiding cross contact requires thoroughly cleaning utensils, cookware, glassware, storage containers, and other food preparation materials used with a food allergen before the item is used to prepare or non-allergenic meals. Washing food storage containers and dishes in a dishwasher or hand washing them with hot water and liquid dish soap is generally adequate to remove these allergens.
5) Food Allergy Action Plan
Every child who has a food allergy should have a personalized Food Allergy Action Plan. This plan should include a recent photo of the child, a list of their allergies, signs and symptoms the child might experience during a reaction, appropriate treatment instructions from the child’s doctor, and emergency contact information for the child’s parents/caregivers and doctor. The plan should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in the child’s allergies as well as the age-appropriateness of medication doses.