Holiday Safety Tips for Food Allergies
Dinner at your house:
- Plan out in advance what others will bring and assign dishes that are less likely to contain the allergen
- Be in charge of all the baking to help reduce any issues
- Find out if they’ll buy the item or make it from scratch, and let them know brands that are “safe”.
- Discuss label reading and have them take a picture of the label and text or email it to you if they need help
- Gently, but thoroughly go over cross-contamination and other food safety concerns
- Remind them to not bring any items or gifts containing the allergen
Dinner at a family member or friend’s house:
- Contact or have them contact everyone and politely ask/remind that they don’t bring any unsafe items
- Offer to go a little early to help the host clean and put all unsafe items away
- Offer to help the host cook the food
- Feed your child a snack before you go, so they’re less tempted to quickly grab food, especially when you aren’t watching
- Bring separate dishes to share that you know are safe for your child to eat
- Remind your child about not eating anything that you haven’t OK’d first
- Bring your child’s epinephrine and allergy action plan
Do you have family members that just don’t “get it”?
- Have a heart to heart with them about the seriousness of the allergy, and share stories of fatal reactions
- Let them know how their behavior is making you feel
- Offer to help them carry in the dish and then accidentally slip on the ice. “Oh no….there goes the sweet potato & nut casserole!”
But seriously, this isn’t a subject that should be lightly discussed and having foods around your child that can cause a fatal reaction, is not a gamble you should ever feel you have to take.
If they still insist on bringing unsafe items and ignore what you’re asking for your child’s safety, reconsider when and where you spend time with them. Yes, I just said that. Only you know what is best for you and your child.
This is especially important when you have a young child that gets into everything. Once they’re older, you’ll be able to teach them more about food safety and know that they have a better understanding to stay safe. But until then, avoid the negativity and find a more positive environment to spend your Holiday. You can always find a shelter, nursing home or community event that would love to have you spend the day with them…allergies and all.