Friday, August 28, 2009

Back to School

We're coming down to the wire for sending our kids back to school. Most parents view this time as - like the Staples commercials suggests - "the most wonderful time of the year". Parents of children with food allergies more often view this as the most stressful time of the year.

Along with the return to classes comes the return of communal lunches, school bus snacking, and field trips with school-provided food. To the parent of a food-allergic child, each of these have the potential for cross-contamination and allergic reactions.

Anaphylaxis Canada has put together a Back to School podcast to help share strategies for returning to school. It can be found under the Anaphylaxis Learning Centre on their website. Below is also a checklist they originally posted for returning to school.

Back to School Checklist:

Educate your child about his/her allergies and review key recommendations:

  • Do not share foods or take food from others.
  • Read food labels. Avoid any foods with precautionary warnings, such as may contain.
  • Always carry an epinephrine auto-injector, i.e. EpiPen or Twinject when age appropriate.
  • Wash their hands before and after eating.
  • Wear medical identification, such as a MedicAlert bracelet.
  • Talk to others about their allergies.

Work with your child's school staff and community:

  • Establish open communication when developing avoidance strategies and plans. Strive for allergy-safe, not allergen-free environments.
  • Provide completed medical forms and in-date auto-injectors at the start of the school year.
  • Advocate for no eating policies on buses and other settings where no adult supervision (for younger children) is provided.
  • Help educate the school community about anaphylaxis with credible allergy-related information.
  • Consult with foodservice/cafeteria staff to inquire about their allergen management policies for food prepared at school.

Review emergency procedures with staff:

Stay informed

Remember, anaphylaxis management is a shared responsibility that includes allergic children, parents, educators and the entire school community. Only by working together can we help keep our kids safe.

We wish you all a happy and safe school year!

Anaphylaxis Canada

I (Shawn) would also like to add a few more resources for you from earlier posts:

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