Emergency Action Plan

 

Back to School Tips When Your Child Has Food Allergies

Most children with food allergies are happy and attend school safely every day. That safety and happiness is the result of planning and persistence. A key to success is to work cooperatively with the school to form a partnership that will support your child along the way. Start by asking lots of questions before your child begins school or begins attending a new school.

Here are some useful tips :

1. Communicate with the school continuously.

2. Start early, in the beginning of the 4th term of the previous school year. Find out if your school has a school nurse or trained first aid team. Write to the principal and school nurse. Tell them about your child’s food allergies and specific needs. Request a meeting with key people to start the planning process and ask if the school has any food allergy management policies in place. Inquire about staff training. Get copies of the forms you will need to have filled out before school starts.

This includes:

✓ Medication Authorization forms. 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 administered by school staff..
✓ Emergency Action Plan (EAP) form. This form tells caregivers what to do in case of an allergic emergency.

Emergency Action Plan

3.  Work with the school to create a comprehensive Food Allergy Management and Prevention Plan. This is typically known as an Individualisaced Health Plan (IHP)

4.  Visit your child’s doctor before school starts to get the following:
Required prescriptions for emergency medications (epinephrine auto-injectors).

5.  Meet with the school nurse or school representative before school starts to find out:

  • Who takes care of students during the school day if they are sick? How does the health room operate during a typical school day?
  • Where will your child’s emergency medications be kept unlocked during the school day? What experience has the school had with food-related emergencies?
  • What are the procedures for shelter-in-place and evacuations? How are food and medications handled during emergencies?
  • How are food allergies managed on school buses and during after-school activities?
  • How does the school deal with bullying about food allergies?
  • Is there a zero-tolerance policy? Does the school educate students about food allergies? Does the school train school staff on managing food allergies? Who and when?

6.  Return all completed and signed forms and prescriptions before the first day of school.

  • Medication Authorization forms.
  • Emergency Action Plan (EAP).
  • Epinephrine auto-injectors need to be in original package and labelled with your child’s name. Be sure these will not expire during the school year.

7.  Make an appointment to meet the teacher to discuss classroom management of food allergies.
Allergen control strategies in the classroom and during “specials” such as music or art classrooms.

  • Ingredient label reading – Give them a list of alternative food names for your child’s Food allergy.
  • Safe snacks (encourage fresh fruits and vegetables).
  • Classroom celebrations (encourage non-food items). “No food sharing” rules.
  • Field trips (Who carries medication? Can parents attend?, etc.).
  • Clean up after eating or anytime food is brought into the classroom.
  • Food in classroom activities.
  • Hand washing practices before and after eating, or use of hand wipes (not hand sanitizer). Alerting locums about children with food allergies

8.  Teach and encourage your child to build age-appropriate skills to manage food allergies.

9.  Self-carrying and how to use an epinephrine auto-injector (discuss readiness to self-carry with your child’s doctor). Knowing what their body might do if they were to “have a reaction”.

10.  Other items your child may need to store at school:
Hand wipes, special snacks or a non-perishable lunch for occasions your child may need them. Allergy-friendly school supplies

11.  Document meetings and interactions via email summaries with key staff. Choose your battles wisely and volunteer when possible, eg: school trips, tuck shop and break duty.

12.  Offer solutions whenever possible and collaborate with your child’s school. Keep in mind that a friendly approach will help you get a positive result and check in periodically with your child’s school and teacher to make sure the plan is working.

Visit www.allergykids.co.za for additional information on managing kids food allergies.

Have a wonderful SCHOOL YEAR !!!

Chantal & Bonnie xxx

 

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