Getting ready for back-to-school is always a large task for moms. Clothes and supplies to buy, carpools to organize, activities to schedule…the list goes on and on. If you are a “Food Allergy Mom,” the list is a little longer and the impending start of school with a new teacher and new classmates can bring on a great bit of anxiety. I always catches me by surprise as my food allergic child is my sweet third. I should have back-to-school down pat!
I don’t often write of our struggles with food allergies other than a small reference to them in recipes or product reviews but it weighs heavily on all that we do. Everyone has “something” so we do our best to stay positive and moving forward. I started The Lush List to help and encourage others we navigate this “thing” we have in common.
To get ready for the new school year, here is my Lush List of additional items I prepare. I hope it is helpful for you…whether you have a food allergic child or not. It is great for all of our friends to know these details, too.
Food Allergy Document and FARE Information Form
I created, with the help of a friend, a document that is given to the school, teachers and students. It describes my daughter’s specific food allergies, in our case, peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish, and what happens if she eats or is exposed to these allergens. A copy of the document can be found on this page of my website. Please feel free to copy and update for your needs.
Prior to the start of school, I meet with the teacher and provide this information to her.
Other copies are provided to:
- the front office
- placed in our Epi-Pen Box (see below)
- given to each student
This is also presented by the teacher at the parent class meeting along with a the document about her specific food allergies and a snack suggestion list. Our head of school is great and goes over the info at a staff meeting. That may seem like overkill, but it is not. The more that everyone knows and the more times they are told, the safer the food allergic student.
To the front of this information, I attach a Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan to the front of this packet. You can download this form from the FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) website. They also have a wealthy of information about food allergies. This form has her photo attached and tells others what to look for and how to treat an anaphylactic reaction. It also includes her doctor’s phone numbers and mine. I write at the top to call 911 before calling the doctor or me.
I created this box for our school right after our diagnosis. It is just a plastic shoe box from The Container Store that I have used full-sized Avery labels to cover.
Inside the box:
- Epi-Pen Jr. set
- a bottle of Benadryl
- a dosage cup (I mark the dosage with a sharpie on the Benadryl and the dosage cup. No time to read tiny print in an emergency!)
- a copy of the FARE form.
When I meet with the teacher, I go over all the information, show her how to use the Epi-Pen and give her the box. In the box I also have a few treats in case a mom forgets to let me know about a birthday treat. It is not their responsibility. I always contact the mothers and mark on these dates my calendar. Typically, the box is kept in her classroom. You need to visit with your school nurse to determine the best location. Our school is very small and the classroom is just across the hall from the lunchroom so this works best for us.
I hope that these tips are helpful for you as you prepare for school. If you don’t have a child with food allergies, reach out to a friend who does. Especially on the first day of school. It can be quite difficult to watch that child leave your side for the first time in three months…even if she’s been to school before and you know you have gone in ahead of her to make it as safe as humanly possible.
Wishing you all the best in preparing for back to school. And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!