Prepping treats for school fun? Tips for dealing with food allergies
[October 21, 2012]
(BPT) - With school back in session and the long holiday season
right around the corner, you might be asked about bringing treats in
for your child to share with the classroom. You'll probably want to
roll up your sleeves and dig through the recipe file for the
yummiest treat you can find. Before you get started, be certain to
find out if there are any children with food allergies in the
classroom and the school.
Food is a very important part of the school day - from snacks and
treats to the lunch hour, but children with food allergies could
face extreme consequences if they come in contact with certain
foods. All states have laws governing how schools protect students
and employees with allergies and asthma, but these laws vary from
state to state. Each year the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of
America (AAFA) releases its State Honor Roll of Asthma and Allergy
Policies for Schools, recognizing those states that are at the
forefront of establishing policies, and pointing out other states
that don't yet make-the-grade. Check out what laws and policies have
been established in your state at www.StateHonorRoll.org.
Also keep the guidelines from your state in mind as you purchase or
make treats for your child's classroom from Halloween all the way to
* Check with the classroom teacher and the school first about foods
that should not be brought into school. Some children have extreme
allergies, such as to peanuts, and can react to minimum contact like
touching a door handle that had been previously touched by someone
handling something with nuts. Any food can cause an allergic
reaction, but milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and
shellfish allergies are some of the most common. If purchasing a
snack, read the ingredients list carefully, and double check it
against the allergy list provided by the school.
* When preparing the foods - or shopping at the grocery store - make
certain the foods you'll be taking to the classroom don't come in
contact with foods that are barred from the school. This includes
washing pots, pans and utensils thoroughly before blending
ingredients when baking at home.
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* If your child has been diagnosed with a food allergy, consider
making special treats he can enjoy without worrying about the snacks
containing the foods he's allergic to. Also develop an allergy
action plan with your child's doctor, teacher and the school nurse.
A free asthma/allergy action card is available from AAFA on the
State Honor Roll website, which helps you outline what foods to
avoid, what medications to keep (an epinephrine auto-injector is the
best first-line emergency treatment), what to do in case of
emergencies, who to contact and more. The AAFA site also has many
other pages of free information and tips about food allergies.
As the holiday parties start up this season, encourage your children
to have fun, but also be mindful that some foods can cause their
classmates to have serious reactions. And keep food allergies at the
top of your thoughts when you're asked to bring treats for a
classroom party. It will help make the celebration much more fun -
especially when the child with the allergy doesn't have to worry
about the foods she's eating.
Allergy Foundation of America