All adults that have a supervisory role with your child will need to be educated about food allergies and the appropriate response in the case of a reaction. This will include friends, family, activity leaders, child care providers and more. They will be your allies in helping to keep your child safe, especially if your child is too young to speak up for himself.
When beginning the education process, it is important to call the issue what it is. If it is a life threatening food allergy, call it that. If it is Celiac Disease, call it that. Many members of the public are confused about severity, wording and more and the only way to properly educate them is to use the appropriate labels. Even if someone you’re educating says that they’ve dealt with food allergies before, continue the education. You don’t know if the medical condition was exactly the same or if they have been trained the way you need them to be.
If your doctor has provided you with educational materials, it is important to take photocopies and share these. But don’t just expect someone to read everything and understand. You will need to take the time to walk these other adults through the information, and the plan for a reaction. Refresher meetings are also important to have regularly, depending on how often your child is with that caregiver.
If your child requires epinephrine as part of the reaction plan, contact the injector manufacturer for a trainer. It is important that caregivers practice simulations where they would need to give the injector so that they are ready if the time comes.
Recognize that the people who will care for your child (including friends and family) may not take this issue as seriously as they need to or may be anxious that they cannot provide care as needed. It may be necessary to avoid family and change schools or daycares. In the end, the safety of your child is paramount.
If you need help with tools to educate others and develop plans for your child’s safety, please check out our Resources Page. Many of the excellent sites and support groups listed there have all of the tools you need to get started.