Two generations ago, EpiPens were unheard of and taking peanut butter to school didn’t provoke hostile debate between parents. Back then children with food allergies were uncommon. Now around one in 50 Australian children has a peanut allergy. A 2013 study by a team of researchers found that one in 10 children aged 12 months living in Melbourne had a food allergy – the highest incidence of food allergy ever reported in the world. Hospital admissions in Australia for severe allergic reactions for anaphylaxis due to food allergy in children aged four and under have jumped five-fold in the past 10 years.
And it doesn’t matter how old your kid is when you find out he has food allergies, the first thing that goes through your head is; he’s never going to have a normal life. And in the case of getting out & about with your family, is it even possible to do successfully?
Well the good news is yes it is possible!
I recently sat down with one of my oldest friends who also happens to be a GP and a mum of 2 kids with severe allergies to get the low down on getting out & about with a child who has allergies.
Top 6 tips for going out if you have children with food allergies
1. Carry a little ziplock bag with you that has your child’s allergy/anaphylaxis plan from GP or allergy specialist as well as any drugs you might need. If you don’t have an allergy plan, then go to your dr and get one.
2. Carry hand santizer and antibacterial wipes so that if you eat something containing the allergen then you can remove the allergen immediately.
3. Have a stash of muffins/biscuits in freezer that you can take out with you. This is especially a good idea when other kids are having cookies with their babyccino and they can still participate and have a treat.
4. Get allergy stickers made up (see below)
5. You are not the worlds worst parent if your child does have an accidental reaction. It does happen and you can’t keep them in a bubble. You just need to be prepared for the event.
6. If you have an egg allergy only, an easy option when you are eating out is go to places with Vegan options on the menu or visit a Vegan cafe because they will be egg free. It just depends on the allergy though. If your child also has a nut allergy, this may not be a good idea because in lots of cases Vegan food uses ingredients like almond meal and other nuts quite a lot.
Fact Sheets for Further Reading
There are so many resources out there for kids with food allergies. Use the resources, educate yourself. Get to the point where you feel so confident that you know even if there is a reaction, you can handle it.
- How to introduce solid foods to babies for allergy prevention from ASCIA.
- Examples of an allergy plan from your GP
- Peanut and tree nut allergy Fact Sheet from the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.
- Egg Allergies and an Egg Free Diet from the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.
- Food Allergy Frequently Asked Questions.
Allergy stickers for your child
If you send your child to daycare or a camp and you are worried about your child being exposed to allergens, a great idea is getting custom stickers made up! Even places like the shopping nanny service at Birkenhead Point will benefit from this kind of thing.
It might say something like “I’m an allergy kid” or “Don’t give me eggs“.
One company that does them is TinyMe and you can find them here.
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