Starting school is supposed to be an exciting time for your child. They will have the chance to make new friends, try new things, and grow as an individual. However, if your little one has a food allergy, starting school can also be a nerve-wracking experience as a parent. In this two-part series, we will provide you with a few tips on how to handle your child going to school for the first time if they have a food allergy.
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Contact the School
Before your child starts school, one of the first things you should do is contact the school. This step should be completed as early as the spring before your little one starts classes. Most schools already have policies in place to protect children with food allergies such as a peanut-free cafeteria, or peanut-free classrooms. Regardless of whether or not your child’s school already has a policy in place, it’s still important for them to know that your child has an allergy. This will make it easier for them to keep track of your little one and make any adjustments to their learning environment.
Contacting the school early on is also a good way to give you peace of mind that your child will be okay. As a parent, you will most likely have numerous questions about how the school will care for your child’s wellbeing. Do they have a nurse on site who is familiar with food allergies? Will the school send out a note to the other parents in your child’s class? These are important questions, and contacting the school will help you get the answers and clarity that you need.
Visit the Doctor Before the Start of the School Year
When you contact your child’s school, they will most likely request that you bring in a note from your doctor allowing your child to carry an EpiPen® or other medication if needed. It’s important to obtain the proper forms from your child’s doctor, as well as create an emergency action plan should your child have an allergic reaction at school. Your appointment will also be a good time for you to ask your child’s doctor any questions you may have about your child’s safety while at school.