Parent's Checklist for School
Sending your child with life-threatening food allergies off to school can feel overwhelming.
How can you help him or her attend school safely every day? You want to be proactive. Start by following these steps for managing food allergies in the school setting.
Then read our full guidance for parents, the result of a collaboration between FARE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations.
1. Become Informed and Educated. This means being well versed in your child’s particular allergy. It also helps to be familiar with your school’s approach to managing food allergies.
2. Prepare and Provide Information About Your Child’s Food Allergy and Medication. Start with a copy of your child’s Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan. Submit the document along with at least one epinephrine auto-injector and any other prescribed medication to treat his or her reactions.
3. Build a Team. To successfully transition your child into school, you must partner with a team of key people who play a role in food allergy management. This group includes the school nurse, teachers, administrators, cafeteria staff, maintenance staff, transportation staff, coaches, other parents and your child’s classmates. Maintain an open dialogue as they learn what they need to know about food allergies. Let them know they can call you with questions, suggestions or concerns.
4. Help Ensure Appropriate Storage and Administration of Epinephrine. Know where your child’s prescribed epinephrine is located at school, who has access to it and who will give the medication in the event of an emergency.
5. Help Reduce Food Allergens in the Classroom(s). Speak with your child’s teacher(s) about the role of food in the classroom. Determine strategies to help avoid your child’s exposure to food allergens and lower the risk of an allergic reaction. This checklist for teachers can help.
6. Consider School Meals. Whether your child eats food from home or orders from the cafeteria, there are effective ways to accommodate food allergies at mealtimes.
7. Address Transportation Issues. Keep in mind that children don't only ride buses to and from school. They also ride these vehicles during field trips and for some after-school activities.
8. Prepare for Field Trips and Extracurricular Activities. Your child’s food allergy should not prevent him or her from participating in these activities. Ask for advance notice, so you can address any food allergy concerns.
9. Prevent and Stop Bullying. The bullying of children with food allergies is especially serious because of the life-threatening nature of the condition. Your school should have a strong, proactive anti-bullying prevention program.
10. Assist Your Child with Self-Management. For children with food allergies, preventing allergic reactions involves making good choices, advocating for themselves and recognizing potentially dangerous situations. And their responsibilities can grow with them as they get older.