For most parents, finding an affordable and reputable school is important. But for parents of children with allergies, safety comes first. Planning is essential in making sure your child’s health is safeguarded against exposure while in school.
Now that kids’ food allergies have become more common, some preschools and daycares already have experience in working with food allergic children. However, if your chosen daycare, pre-school or grade school has never dealt with food allergies, make sure they are willing to work with you and learn what needs to be done in order to keep your child safe.
Visiting and evaluating the school or the daycare for its appropriateness for your child is important in order to get a sense of their compassion and competence for your child’s situation. If they appear reluctant to learn about or manage your child’s food allergies, you’ll want to keep looking. Sometimes you may have to pass up a school you’ve chosen for academics or convenience if you are doubtful that it may not be the best for your child as far as safety is concerned.
Managing Life Threatening Kids Food Allergies in School
There are no federal food allergy management guidelines at the moment. Awareness varies in schools and school districts about keeping food allergic children safe. Some schools may resist putting protocols and policies in place to keep allergic children safe. In situations like these, sometimes the allergist can intervene or speak with the school to address the need for protocols.
There are some states and school districts that have taken these matters into their own hands and have published guidelines for managing life-threatening reactions at school, which can be used as models for the development of similar guidelines in other school districts. These guidelines outline the roles and responsibilities of certain individuals in a detailed checklist format. There are also templates for letters to classmates, families and parents detailing how to respond to a student with life-threatening food allergic reactions.
Writing an action plan before your child starts attending daycare or school is one of the most important things you can do to protect your child. The action plan should have two parts: an emergency plan outlined by your child’s physician, and a plan describing how the school staff will manage the environment on a daily basis. Discuss this with your child’s teacher, school director and other key personnel.