Protect Your Allergic Child from Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day cupcakesDoes your child attend an elementary school that will be having a classroom Valentine’s Day party? Typically, those parties involve a ton of sweets, treats, and goodies that do not have ingredient labels and may contain things your child is allergic to. What’s a parent to do? Here are some options to protect your child from Valentine’s Day.

Parents want to protect their child from all potential harm. Food allergies make that difficult. Not everyone understands what your child could experience if he or she encounters peanuts, gluten, eggs, or milk. Your child might not entirely understand exactly how this works, so how can he or she possibly explain it to friends?

There have been many news articles discussing “food bullying”. It is a new type of bulling where the bully targets a peer who has food allergies and threatens to force the allergic child to consume something that will make him or her extremely ill (or could kill them).

Valentine’s Day is typically celebrated (at least, in elementary schools) with a plethora of sweets. Parents will be bringing cupcakes, heart shaped cookies, chocolates, and other foods into the classroom that your child will be in. Odds are, some of them could contain exactly what your child is allergic to. Here are some suggestions about how to protect your child from Valentine’s Day.

* Keep your child home from school that day. This will ensure that your child won’t accidentally eat something he or she is allergic to during the sugar-fest celebration of Valentine’s Day. Make (or purchase) a few of your own, allergy-friendly, Valentine’s Day treats for your child to safely consume at home.

* Attend the classroom party. Speak with your child’s teacher ahead of time to let her know that you would like to be there when your child’s class has their Valentine’s Day party. Make sure the teacher understands what could happen to your child if he or she encounters an allergen. The teacher will probably welcome you to come to school to protect your child.

* Arm your child with the understanding of what he or she is allergic to. Let your child know what will happen if he eats peanut butter, or a non-gluten free cupcake, or has frosting that is made with milk. Help your child to know why he needs to avoid the treats that his friends are eating. This is a good way to help your child to protect himself.

* Bring allergy-friendly Valentine’s Day treats to school. Bring enough to share with the class, and you have ensured that there will be one thing that your child can safely consume. Or, bring treats just for your child, so she can eat something while her friends are enjoying the Valentine’s Day treats.

Image by Dyanna Hyde on Flickr