Top 5 Checklist for Back to School with Food Allergies
It’s back to school time and if your child has a food allergy or milk allergy then preparation is important for ensuring that they avoid allergic reactions and are supported while at school.
Particularly if your child is newly diagnosed, then you may want to review our checklist for how to best prepare for sending your son or daughter back to school.
By now, you are probably already fully aware of foods and ingredients that your child must avoid, but it is particularly important to make sure you and your child are clear on all possible allergens and how to identify them in foods.
Armed with this information, you can begin to check off our top 5 suggestions!
- Create or update your child’s food allergy emergency care plan. The plan should include the food allergens and ingredients that could present problems, signs, and symptoms of a possible allergic reaction, and how your child might describe what they are experiencing. The plan should be signed by a physician and it should include emergency contact information as well as for instructions for when and how to treat a potential allergic reaction.
- Schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician or allergist. Before the appointment, check your child’s medication supply and expiration dates and get prescriptions and refills for any medications that they may need. While at the appointment, make sure that the medical provider fills out any required school forms, including the food allergy emergency care plan. Also, make sure that you have the correct strength for his or her epinephrine auto-injector (epi pen) based on current weight.
- Meet with your child’s teacher, school nurse, cafeteria manager, and any other appropriate school staff such as coaches or band director and make sure that they have your child’s food allergy emergency care plan. Prepare for these meetings by reviewing the school’s guidelines for managing students with food allergies. You may also want to discuss your specific concerns in areas such as the classroom, cafeteria, playground, and school bus. Also, ask if cafeteria staff have been trained on safe food preparation for kids with food allergies. Make sure that everyone knows where your child’s epinephrine auto-injector (epi pen) will be stored and that staff is trained on how to use it.
- Work with the school to develop a Section 504 plan, or food allergy management plan. Ask if there are any guidelines in place such as no food sharing or having everyone wash their hands after eating or handling food. If you are not comfortable with the current precautions, kindly discuss with the school staff and work together to develop a plan that supports your child’s needs. Also, find out where food will be stored, where your child will eat and who in particular is responsible for overseeing meals and snacks. You may also want to ask for advanced notice for field trips and other events that might require planning to help prevent allergic reactions. Also, check-in with your child’s teacher or school staff to see if there have been any problems and make sure everything is going smoothly and they don’t have any questions. You may also want to share resources and a good place to start is on FARE’s Back-to-School Headquarters site that includes checklists, sample plans, webinars and more. (see link below)
- Talk to your child to make sure that they know how to avoid allergic reactions, and what to do if they experience signs and symptoms. Create an easy way to remind them how they can advocate for themselves, such as using an acronym for the steps. An example might be to create an acronym that they can remember, such as ILM, which can mean I Love Mom AND Inform, Locate, Monitor. Then explain the steps carefully – Inform a teacher or school staff of the situation; Locate his or her epi pen so that it is ready and accessible if they need to use it; Monitor symptoms closely and share information with teacher or school staff. Remind them on the way to school about the acronym and have them talk through the steps. Also, remind your child to avoid any food whose ingredients may be unknown, such as home-baked goods. Check in with your child often and be on the lookout for signs that they might be experiencing bullying or teasing because of their food allergy.
With appropriate planning and preparation, your child’s return to school can be anxiety-free and you can set them up for success so that they feel comfortable and can focus on learning. Plus, you will have the peace of mind that you have taken the appropriate steps to avoid allergic reactions and react appropriately if the need arises.
How Cambrooke Can Support Your Child
Cambrooke offers two amino acid-based formulas for children over the age of one year, designed to support the needs of children with food allergies and digestive disorders.
Essential Care Jr. is free of corn, soy, and artificial ingredients. It is loaded with premium ingredients to support your child, such as low fermentable carbohydrates that may be easier to tolerate in a compromised GI tract, vitamin K2 that has been shown to support bone health, a proprietary blend of essential amino acids with 40% leucine to help build muscles, and higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids to help fight inflammation. We went the extra step and added both lutein and DHA for eye health and brain development. Essential Care Jr. is focused on the entire body and was created to provide optimal nutrition for those in need of a junior amino acid-based formula.
EquaCare Jr. is similar in nutrition and taste to other junior amino acid-based formulas; however, it is designed to provide you with a more affordable price than other formulas when the cost is a concern. Cambrooke understands the increased cost associated with allergy and gastrointestinal medical conditions and have made providing a more affordable formula option our mission. EquaCare Jr. also provides 33% less corn syrup solids when compared to other junior amino acid-based formulas. This formula not only offers a more affordable price tag but may also offer an option for those who have difficulty tolerating large amounts of corn syrup solids.
You may want to talk to a pediatrician or specialist to find out which formula option is best for your child. Learn more about each of these beneficial products by visiting us online today or calling 1-833-377-2773.