|IS NEVER TOO EARLY TO START TEACHING A CHILD
ABOUT HIS/HER FOOD ALLERGY
How to teach a toddler what they can or can't At the
age started taking my child to the supermarket almost
daily to help him visually learn what he could and could
not eat. Learning to read as earlier as possible was a
necessity, so the summer prior to entering kindergarten
we hire a tutor to teach him how to read. By age four,
he was reading labels and could tell if it was safe to eat
If you can't read a label, or the food doesn't have one
DO NOT EAT. Better stay hungry than risk your life.
“Better safe than sorry” continues to be our mantra.
I can't teach my kid that staying hungry is OK?
I was called crazy, hysterical, and words that can't be
written in a public post, bought I had to teach my child
how to stop people from trying to force him to eat food
unless he brought it from home.
Every time my child told someone that he didn't want to
eat and when question why he would say things like "I
am hungry but mom said I can't eat that" or "My mom
said that I don't have to eat until she is with me"
someone would call me, get mad at me, call me crazy,
and the list goes on.
Most parents will never get used to the idea of telling
their kids to not eat and stay hungry if they can't find
safe foods. I never got used to it. It is not easy but
unfortunately no matter how much you try, there will be
At the age when staying hungry is the only option.
No matter how much you try to pack snacks, call
restaurants ahead of time, and make sure they eat
before leaving home there will be many occasions when
your child will be hungry for a while and you will always
feel guilty and blame yourself for it.
Unfortunately, most adults choose to allow kids to eat
foods even if there is a risk. Others don't take the time
to teach and remind their kids that is OK to stay hungry
and not be able to eat until they get back home. Food
safety always has to come first.
What kids can do when they can't find allergy safe
Show them what sodas, sport drinks, juices they are not
allergic to that they can easily find at a friends house or
in vending machines. Always remind them "If you are
having a soda or juice make sure the container is sealed
before you drink it".
"My kid doesn't have to carry his Epipen to school
because they have a nurse and they are really good
about food allergies".
I always though that giving the school nurse the Epipen's
was enough, until one day that I dropped by school to
replace the outdated Epi's and the nurse was out to
lunch. No one really knew her exact location. I asked if
anyone could open the nurses office and no one really
knew who could. An administrator showed up and open
the nurses office so that a student that was feeling ill
could wait for the nurse. When I asked if anyone had
keys to opened the medicines cabinet the answer was
"only the nurse" Thank God that happened only few
weeks after school had started. After that day I always
make sure my child carries a set of auto injectors on him
at all times. Even if there is an Epipen in every
classroom immediate access is easier when you have the
auto-injectors on you.
School policy doesn't allow kids to self carry their
epinephrine auto injectors.
For many years I felt like I was forcing him to carry an
illegal weapon because there were no clear school
policies regarding epinephrine. Today, thanks to the
efforts of some amazing parents, all but five states in
the US have passed the “self carry epinephrine
legislation”. Unfortunately, the majority of food allergic
kids are still not carrying their Epipen’s on them and
many schools don't allow them to do so.
Even if there is an Epipen in every corner of the school, if
the kid doesn't carry one on them, what happens when
they get in the school bus, or get a ride home with a
friend because you are running late? I always told my
son, you carry them on you but keep it as a secret. Not
because you are doing something wrong, but because
not everyone in school knows about food allergies.
But mom what if I get in trouble at school because
they noticed that I was hiding the auto-injectors
inside the WaistPal?
I always told him that he wouldn't get in trouble (I was
just hoping he didn't) and that if he did to tell them to
call me, and to explain that he had no choice. That it
was a rule I wouldn't allowed for him to break.
What do I think about peanut free schools?
I am not a fan of peanut-free schools because it can
paradoxically lead to a false sense of security, could
affect how soon a kid learns how to manage their food
allergies in the real world, and it will not help the
millions of kids allergic to other foods.
“If you walk into a school and start asking teachers if
they know what an Epipen is and how to use it, most will
answer yes. If you don’t say a word and simply show
them an Epipen the majority will ask; What is that?
Unfortunately, many first aid trainings given to school
personnel other than nurses, do not include when nor
how to administer an epinephrine injection.
More efforts are needed to teach kids and school
personnel about managing food allergies like adequate
monitoring of meals and snacks, reading labels, clean up
after food is served, creating a not sharing food policy,
hand washing, and ensuring children self carry their
Epipen's and school personnel learns how and when they
need to administer the injection.
Parents need to teach their kids how to use the
Epipen and ensure that they self carry the auto
Don’t let your food allergic kids step outside your home
unless they have the Epipen’s; not with them, but ON
them. Make it clear and remind your child that carrying
the Epipen is a rule that can’t be broken, just like going
out of the house naked is unacceptable. To ensure 100%
compliance get an epicarrier. It needs to be discreet,
cool looking, and comfortable.