Are you getting ready to send your child with food allergies off to school? Whether it is your child's first year in school or the sixth, you must send in new forms every year.
Here is our checklist of the forms you need to finish before the first day. Get copies of these forms from the school. These forms will need your doctor's authorization or signature.
✓ Medication Authorization
These forms state if your child can self-carry and/or self-administer medications at school. These forms are required even if the medication will be stored and given by school staff.
These forms give the school permission to give medicine, such as epinephrine, to your child.
Keep in mind that self-carry and self-administration are two different decisions. If the school forms do not allow you and your doctor to make a choice, ask about changing it to fit your child's needs.
✓ Emergency Action Plan
This form tells caregivers what to do in case of an allergic emergency.
It describes your child’s symptoms and dose of medication. Include a photo of your child. Make sure your contact information is up to date.
✓ Special Dietary Meals Accommodation
You need this form if your child will eat meals provided by school. If you are making this request, your doctor will fill out an eating and feeding evaluation form. Partner with your school nurse and food service director so your child has safe food choices. See the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Guidance for School Food Service Staff for Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Programsfor more information. The USDA oversees school lunch programs.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Work with the school to create a comprehensive Food Allergy Management and Prevention Plan. This is typically either an Individual Health Plan (IHP) or 504 Plan. These are detailed plans that list how the school will accommodate your child's food allergy. These must be renewed every year; deadlines vary. If you started the process of getting one, stay on top of communication with the school.
What to Do Next?
- Call your child's doctor now and make an appointment to get this paperwork signed!
- Find out more with our 10 School Planning Tips When Your Child Has Food Allergies.
- Do you have other questions about sending your child with food allergies back to school? Post your question on our School Age Kids, Tweens and Teens forum.
- Watch our webinar Back to School with Asthma and Food Allergies. David Stukus, MD, and Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSc, talk more about preparing to send your child to school. They also discuss how your allergist can help with back-to-school planning.
Originally published July 2016, updated August 2017