4 Ways to Raise an Allergy-Savvy Child
How to Help Others Help Your Child
People need to know your child has an allergy so they can help if he needs it. Here are some key ways to spread the word.
Use a medical alert tag. Make it a routine part of your child's life from an early age. If you wait until he starts school, he’s more likely to resist the idea because he doesn’t want to stand out.
A medical bracelet is safer than a necklace, especially for kids who play sports, Szychlinski says. They can put athletic tape over it and never have to remove the bracelet.
Tell other adults. The grownups who are a part of your child’s life need to know about his allergy and what to do if he goes into anaphylaxis. Who’s on the list?
- Childcare providers
- The school nurse
- Playground supervisors
- Bus drivers
- Parents of friends
"The more people that know about it, the better," Williams says.
This is especially true if children aren't comfortable going to an adult for help, Szychlinski says. Then, they need to be watched more closely. The bottom line: When a child is out of his parents’ care, a severe allergy becomes a group responsibility, she says.
Share the symptoms. What’s important for people to know? Start with this:
- Your child's allergy triggers
- The symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction
- Where to store an epinephrine auto-injector
- How to give the shot
- When to call 911
Make a plan. Write down your emergency action plan and share it with all involved adults. Everyone should be able to carry out the action plan.
For example, if a young child starts to eat something at a friend's house, an adult who knows about your plan should say, "Let's ask your mom or dad if you can eat that,” Szychlinski says.
"Try to make the way you treat the food allergy consistent with the rest of your parenting," Szychlinski says. For example, if you use positive reinforcement in other areas of parenting, do that with your child's allergy management, too.