Making Life Easier for Kids with Food Allergies

“If you are a parent, open doors to unknown directions to the child so he can explore. Don’t make him afraid of the unknown, give him support.” ― Osho

This famous quote by Osho rings differently for parents who are raising children with food allergies. They are afraid to open doors to each birthday party, new school day, class trip, or play date for their children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies affect an estimated 8% of children in the United States, which is 1 in 13 children.

food allergies

Parents, the biggest supporters, require others around their kids to play an important supporting role: to watch out for potential allergic reactions and make life easier for children with food allergies. It’s time we take (and read) children’s medical ID tags more seriously.
It may be tempting not to restrict your own food options and view food allergies as “someone else’s problem”, but expecting children, at the same time, to be fully in charge of their food choices will be hypocrisy at its worst. This tiny temptation might lead another parent to the emergency room with a kid - suffering.

What Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions Do to a Child

  • vomiting
  • having a tight, itchy rash
  • skin turning blue
  • hives spreading across the body
  • face swelling up
  • trouble breathing
  • Anaphylaxis

Imagine, someone’s child going through such pain before your very eyes because you don’t want nut-free schools or daycares for your own. Food allergies are not “someone else’s problem” but a collective issue that we should all worry about. Creating spaces that accommodate allergic kids is social responsibility.

How to Make Life Easier for Kids With Food Allergies

1. Realize the Seriousness of the Problem

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), there are 150-200 food allergy-related deaths in the United States each year. Digestive intolerance leads people to restrict their diets - not lifestyle choices. If someone on the table is trying to avoid soy, dairy, or gluten, it could be a medical necessity for them - rather than just a “food preference”. For kids, especially, food allergies can be a matter of life and death. As they rely on us - babysitters, friends’ parents, teachers, school and daycare staff, and even restaurants - to avoid allergens, it becomes our duty to take it seriously. So, when you see a kid wearing a medical ID bracelet, read it and accommodate.

2. Avoid the Consumption of Nuts in Shared Places

Nuts, in particular, have been restricted for consumption in many public places. The reason is simple; reports suggest that nuts are the most common allergens in the United States, causing the majority of deadly or nearly-fatal cases of anaphylaxis. Therefore, it is advised to avoid the consumption of nuts in shared places. If you make it a habit to clean your child’s hands and faces with wet wipes after they have eaten nuts - whether at home or out - before they go out around other kids, parents of allergic kids will be more grateful than you can imagine. Even if nuts are a daily staple in your household, refrain from their use on nut-free occasions and in public shared spaces, such as playgrounds, shopping or daycare centers, schools, libraries, etc. Instead, replace nuts with sunflower seeds and peanut butter with soy nut butter when you or your child is likely to be around other kids.

3. Sharing Is (Not Always) Caring

Raising selfless kids, who know how to share, is our responsibility as a parent. However, your righteousness shouldn’t put children with food allergies at risk unintentionally. You might teach your child to share their snacks with another child hovering around, but sharing isn’t always caring. Wait for that child’s caregiver to confirm it’s okay, and teach your kids to seek their permission before sharing their food. Consider it your responsibility to check what’s going into another child's mouth, especially if they are wearing a kid’s medical ID tag or their caregiver is away or not looking. Another great idea to make life easier for kids with food allergies is to replace cupcakes and other sweet treats with tokens like crayons and coloring books at classroom birthday parties. This way, allergic kids won’t feel secluded.

Make Life Easier for Kids With Food Allergies

With food being available everywhere these days, the risk of an allergic reaction is ubiquitous for kids with food allergies. Their parents are constantly vigilant for potential risks, which can be more difficult than we think. The more aware and alert we are as teachers, relatives, friends, neighbors, and even strangers, the easier life will become for kids with food allergies. Kids with medical ID tags  need nothing but a little bit of attention from members of the greater community. Remember, this nearly-fatal disease affects 1 in 13 children in the United States. Choose wisely before you pack your kid’s lunchbox.

Author's Bio: 

I am Daisy Bell and a pro-level blogger with years of experience in writing for multiple industries and also co-founder of . I have extensive knowledge of Food, Fitness, Healthcare, business, fashion, and many other popular niches. I have post graduated in arts and have a keen interest in traveling.