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Food Allergies & Field Trips

by Stacey Stratton, FAACT’s Director of Publications

If your child’s school is planning a field trip, be sure to find out the answers to these 5 things:

When, Where, How, What, and Who. By discussing these questions, you’ll help everyone prepare for the trip.

WHEN will they go? 

If your schedule allows, see if you can chaperone or if a family member (who understands food allergies) can attend with your child.

WHERE are are they going?

Is the location high-risk or allergen free? Try to contact or visit the facility beforehand to find out the safety of the environment.

HOW are they getting to the location?

If riding a bus, are there policies about no eating on the bus?

Is it possible to have your child sit close to a teacher or aide, so they can watch over him or her?

WHAT will they be doing?

Will the students be around food? Check if the activities involve food or treats.

Will they be making any crafts or feeding animals? (These activities may contain the allergen.)

Will the students eat lunch or snacks while there?  If so, will the eating area be cleaned and have a safe area for your child?

WHO will help watch over your child?

Who will carry your child’s action plan, epinephrine and other medical info?

Who will be trained in the knowing the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, and how to administer epinephrine if needed?

Will the teacher have a cell phone available if needed in an emergency? (If your child has a phone, can they take it?)

OTHER TIPS:

Remind your child about your food allergy safety rules. (This includes not eating any unapproved food items.) Also, discuss with your child what they should do if they experience any signs or symptoms on the trip.

Remind others by having your child wear something that informs and reminds them about the allergy. To help avoid any confusion with others, clearly mark your child’s name on their lunch bag and beverages.

Remind yourself that if you don’t feel comfortable about the place, the activities, or how your child will be chaperoned…you should never be afraid to speak up! If you feel there’s any concern for your child’s safety, be sure to discuss it immediately with the school.

About the Author:

Stacey Stratton has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Akron. She has eight years of experience working as an Intervention Specialist for children with special needs, and for the past seven years she has been helping children with food allergies. She is using her education and experience to help families communicate and educate about their child’s food allergies.

Two of Stacey’s nephews have life-threatening peanut allergies. Years after they were diagnosed, Stacey started PeanutFreeZone.com to help educate others on food allergy safety and provide products to help increase awarenes

Stacey is also the author of Allergies at School.