Where Allergy Education Begins

The other day I received a text message from my daycare provider telling me that my daughter had thrust her tiny hand into the birthday cake of another child before they had even had a chance to put the candles on the cake or sing happy birthday.


But before I cried from embarrassment I was struck with the frightening realization that my child didn’t stop to think about her allergy first. She didn’t ask what was in the cake and she didn’t question whether there could be peanuts.

She just threw caution to the wind and licked up the frosting.

There are so many articles and posts cautioning parents and teachers to watch what children bring into classrooms and daycares, to wash tables, and to ensure children aren’t cross contaminating but how well are we educating our children?

I thought I was.

Turns out I have a bigger job on my hands.

allergies & children

Education certainly begins at home and we are now starting by asking the simple questions and having her answer back such as:

“What do you do if a classmate asks to trade lunches?”

“What do you say if you are offered a cookie and you aren’t sure what’s in it?”

“Should you help yourself if you are hungry and aren’t sure of the food?”

Such simple questions but so important to a child with allergies.

We are starting with our daughter and making her accountable for her own health because when it comes down to it she is the one who will be encountering the challenges at school, in the play yard, and at birthday parties.

We will be taking this opportunity to remind her to wash her hands frequently, to ask questions about food, to share information about her allergy and not be ashamed, and to proudly display her allergy bracelet. We will be encouraging her to speak up when she is asked to attend a birthday party and ask if there will be nuts at the event, and ensure her safety.

It’s our jobs as parents to give her the tools necessary to become a well spoken advocate who is able to keep herself safe.

It’s our jobs to educate others.

But first, we need to educate her.

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6 Responses to Where Allergy Education Begins
  1. Karen
    October 14, 2013 | 8:08 pm

    This is so true. She will have to be responsible, it would just be so hard at her age! That’s the age with a lack of impulse control 🙂
    A friend of mine has a now 13 yr old with a severe nut allergy, and I always thought it was a great idea that she brought a treat (slice of cake, cupcake, etc) that was certain to be nut free to birthday parties. That way the child didn’t end up going without a treat for some reason. Which, when young, is a big deal….
    Keep going strong!

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 15, 2013 | 8:02 am

      I love the idea of them taking their own little treat with them just to be sure. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Kimberly
    October 15, 2013 | 12:20 pm

    Remember when that boy came over to play with Chase? When he touched oil residue, he would have a very severe reaction.
    He is 5 and very knowledgeable about his allergy. He knows that packages with that “no peanut” symbol on it is safe.
    They do a lot of teaching in his classroom too. It is strictly enforced that there are no peanut products in school. If they find it, the whole lunch gets tossed and the parents have to come in.
    Are their books for her to understand in kid terms? Like in a fun way?
    Pinterest that shit.

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 18, 2013 | 11:51 am

      I hope that when our daughter goes to school that the school and educators take it seriously like your schools do. But because I can’t rely on that I really do have to teach S how to be her own advocate, like the little boy you had over.

  3. Nic
    October 15, 2013 | 12:35 pm

    Love this!! Such an important message and truly the best way to teach S about her allergies. Xoxo

    • multitaskingmumma
      October 18, 2013 | 11:50 am

      I think it is! It’s so important that they have a good understanding of what they can have and what their limitations are

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