It was not until few years ago that the concept of peanut free schools even existed. Trying to educate teachers and school personnel about food allergens continues to be quite a challenge for parents and food allergy advocates to say the least.
Regardless of how good a school becomes at managing food allergies accidents will continue to happen. Therefore teaching the child how to self carry epinephrine shots and what she/he can and cannot eat is a must before they start going to school.
Three things a mom did that helped her child learn about living with food allergy:
1. At the age of two, she started taking the child to the supermarket almost daily to show the boxes of cookies, candies and snacks that were safe and not safe to eat.
The supermarket visits continued, and by age four the child was reading labels and could tell if it was safe to eat the food or not. If the ingredients list in a box of cookies is too long just move to the next one and don’t even bother to read it. The more ingredients listed the higher the chances of making a mystake.
2. Better safe than sorry continues to be our mantra. Not eating and staying hungry until you get back home is OK. Is better not to eat than eating something you are not one hundred percent sure about the ingredients.
3. Epipens need to be attached to your body no matter where you go. Even if there are Epipen’s in every classroom in the school, at age four started carrying two epipen inside a WaistPal underwear body sling and at age six was also using a LegBuddy to do so. It was a rule that could not be broken.
For many years other parents and even close family members made her feel like if she was forcing the kid to carry an illegal weapon because school policies regarding carrying epinephrine aren’t always clear and are constantly changing
Are Peanut-free schools the best option for students with food allergies?
As a ten year old with food allergy once said; “Peanut free schools could paradoxically lead to a false sense of security and it will affect how soon a child starts learnings to manage their food allergies in the real world. Also, it will not help millions of kids allergic to other foods.”
More efforts are needed to teach 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 Epipens 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 injectors. 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.
BEST EPIPEN & AUV-Q CASE HOLDERS*
For kids and teens, especially boys the most practical solution is an undergarment leg holster or waistband that can be discreetly concealed under their clothes. There are few options out there. I recommend the LegBuddy and WaistPal because it was specifically designed for carrying epinephrine auto injectors in 2006 and they have proven to be the most liked and best at making it easier to keep the shots out of mind but not out of site.
*This is not a sales pitch but as a closed friend always tells me, “You need to promote and keep blogging about the OmaxCare epicarriers… by not doing so you could be denying others from finding a life saving solution”.