5 Ways to Welcome Kids with Food Allergies into your Home 0
Have you ever thought about how difficult it is to have a food allergy? 8% of kids have food allergies and are at risk of having a life-threatening reaction if they accidentally ingest their allergen. Their families have to read every food label, navigate restaurant menus and work to create a safe environment for their child wherever they go.
It's hard for people who don't have direct experience with a food allergy to appreciate the impact the allergy has on their life. No child likes to stand out. Let’s face it, it’s hard to navigate this environment every day.
But here is some good news—it’s easy to create a welcoming environment for kids with food allergies, and families that have kids with food allergies will really value the effort. Here is how you can help:
- Acknowledge their allergy. Ask about their allergy; make it an easy topic to discuss. Kids with food allergies shouldn’t feel like they have to “hide” their allergy. Let them know you fully support them in managing the allergy. Then let them go play!
- Teach your kids about food allergies. Teach them that kids with food allergies are exactly like everyone else but they have to be really careful with what they eat. As a friend, they should be sympathetic to the issue and should always be protective—it’s never okay for anyone to make fun of someone’s allergy.
- Ask the parents for their food allergy care plan. Their plan explains symptoms of a reaction to look for, when and how to treat, and provides emergency contact information. AllerPal makes sharing this information easy. While it is unlikely they will have a reaction on your watch, every food allergic child should have a “buddy” in the room—someone that knows how and when to treat. Make sure you know where their medication is.
- Keep safe snacks and treats in the house. Ask their parents about specific brands and snacks that are safe. It is best to stay away from home-baked goods because of the risk of cross contamination, but the family is the best resource for letting you know what is safe.
- Have a party that is safe for the child. If you are hosting a backyard BBQ or a birthday party, work with the parents to come up with a menu that is allergen-free. If everyone is bringing dishes to the event, then consider creating a “safe” table with foods the parents are confident are safe for their child. If it is a birthday party, what better way to teach your child about being a good host than to explain that it’s their job to make sure every guest is comfortable and feels welcome by making sure the food is safe for all.