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Food Allergens at School

When my daughter entered kindergarten we had no idea how often we would be confronted with potential allergens in the classroom. We worried about snack time, other kids sharing food, class parties, Valentines day, Halloween… But turns out, nearly every day there was something new to watch out for.  From cereal necklaces to macaroni butterflies to counting with nut shells – we constantly had to keep a look out for allergens.  We had a lot of close calls and some upsetting incidents that could have been avoided.

Each fall, we look ahead to the upcoming school year with high hopes for an incident free year.  But it also means  starting over with a new teacher, new set of children and parents who must all get to know our children and their allergies – it’s worrisome without the food allergies!

Below is a great link to Kids With Food Allergies Foundation‘s list of potential food allergens that your kids may run into at school, perhaps giving this list to your new teacher will help her plan her activities to keep your child safe.


Teachers are always reluctant to change their lesson plans, but it may help to offer to buy alternate materials for the activities:  instead of using candy to count with – offer to buy some little toys or erasers, game pieces, or other items the kids can count with instead. Give the teacher a couple gift cards to Target or her favorite toy store so she can offer non-food treats to the kids. Offer to help prepare materials for the class activities.  In other words, don’t give the teacher a reason not to include your child – help them teach all the kids that including everyone in every activity is the right thing to do.

Wishing you all a healthy, safe year ahead- Lisa




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1 Comment

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Hey Lisa,
    Nice blog! We’ve been dealing with the multiple food allergies for almost 9 years now. I too have quite a collection of lunch boxes and coolers in my closet! As for the safety in the school, I hear you loud and clear! It’s tough! We home-schooled until 2nd grade. In fact, we pulled him from pre-school because peanut butter and strawberries were everywhere (and the teachers weren’t)! Now I find that, not only is everyday a new adventure; “I can’t believe it, what now?!” (regarding food), but the environmental allergies and classroom filth took my kid to new lows with his asthma last year. We put in a new hard surface floor for this year, as well as the air purifier and we are personally cleaning the ducts ourselves! Talk about a crazy parent!!! Fortunately, the private school is very patient with us (so far), and he is having success…..at least for today, which is “Day 1”. Ha!
    Keep up the good work! – Krista

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