For some of us, the start of school is just around the corner while others may have already begun. Over the past decade, I’ve run into several situations during the school year which may have been avoided had I considered the following questions. These are based on my own experiences having two children with food allergies as well as the experiences of many others. Some of these suggestions are best carried out prior to the start of school, while others situations may pop up during the school year.
- Are your child’s medications up to date? Do you have extra medication for school?
- Have you met with your child’s teacher, nurse and or principal to discuss your child’s food allergies?
- Do you have an updated Food Allergy Action Plan? Make extra copies for the medicine cabinet and to keep with other epinephrine auto injectors.
- Have you discussed, with the teacher, ways in which class celebrations/projects can be all inclusive and not exclude children based on medical conditions such as food allergies, food intolerances, diabetes etc.? Consider offering non- food alternatives.
- Have you or a school official reviewed bus protocol regarding eating on the bus and handling emergency situations with the bus driver? Is the bus driver trained in how to administer the epinephrine auto injector?
- Have you discussed with school staff how to keep your child safe during lunch? For example, will your child have a special table, seat, section or cleaning supplies?
- Some students may qualify for a 504 Plan. If you think your child may be eligible, have you contacted the district 504 coordinator?
- Have you provided the school with current emergency and nonemergency contacts such as current work/ cell phone numbers and email addresses?
- Have you informed your child’s teacher of any previous reactions including route of exposure and emergency protocol?
- Will your child’s epinephrine auto-injector be kept in a safe, accessible location such as an unlocked cabinet? Will your child carry the injector during the school day?
I hope these questions will help you and your family to enjoy smooth sailing this school year and for years to come (can’t quite let go of summer!). For additional food allergy resources, visit http://foodallergymomdoc.com/resources/#schools.