In the summer, many people entertain and visit outdoors. For families with little ones with food allergies and other allergic diseases, this has many advantages. You are outside and away from other people’s kitchens or other triggers, such as dust and pets. And, cookouts and picnics are casual affairs.
If you are bringing your little one with food allergies to a picnic this Fourth of July, or another time this summer, here are some safety tips to consider:
Don’t forget the epinephrine!
In your rush to get out the door, don’t forget the key ingredient – always remember your emergency medication. Do not store epinephrine in your car or other places where it will get too hot or too cold. If the summer party is at a home, keep them inside in a cool, safe spot (accessible to you but out of reach of other visiting children).
Keep food separate
If you bring something to share that is safe for your child, keep her portion set aside and labeled. Cross-contamination is likely if your platter or pot is sitting alongside unsafe food. Other guests might mix up serving spoons. Or, drippings from other plates or dishes may fall into it. To stay on the safe side, keep your child’s food off to the side, including the main meal, snack, and dessert.
Keep an eye on your young child
If your child is very young, say a crawling infant or a roaming toddler, you will have to pay extra close attention for safety. This is true for every small child, but even more so for children with food allergies. In the time it takes for you to turn your head and say hello to someone, your child with food allergies can grab something unsafe and eat it.
If you are at the party with a spouse, take turns doing this so you both get to socialize.
If you are going by yourself, consider bringing a friend or relative to help you watch your child, or enlisting an older child or teen. Or, depending on the event, consider leaving your baby or small child home with a sitter or relative.
Don’t keep the food allergy a secret!
Make sure the other guests know about your child’s needs, so that they don’t offer a treat if your head is turned.
You can tell people yourself in a matter-of-fact way. You can also consider asking the host to tell people ahead of time. Another way to alert people is if your child wears a visible medical bracelet or allergy apparel.
Bring wipes for other kids and people to wash their hands
If your child will be playing with other children without food allergies, bring disposable hand wipes so it is easy for everyone to clean up after they eat. Remember that hand sanitizers do not remove food proteins. If a bathroom is not always available to wash up, hand wipes are your next best option.
Kids With Food Allergies wishes you a safe and relaxing summer!