When birthday parties meet food allergies…
Being a parent with a child with food allergies is no party. It can turn the most laid back parent into a paranoid wreck when their child is out there alone, and I can see why.
Anaphylaxis takes hold very quickly, and sometimes with the smallest, pea sized amount of food.
So this can be a tricky scenario whether your child is the one with the allergies or you are hosting a birthday party with children attending with allergies, but there are some easy ways to make this party fun and stress free (nearly?!)
With the sharp increase in childhood allergy, you are more than likely to have at least one child with allergies at your event!
Children, by design, are care-free and crazy at birthdays, and can’t be expected to be thinking about the other child there with the severe food allergies. In the same breath, we don’t want the child with food allergies to be labelled as ‘different’.
I once treated a teenager who at school was made to wear a special hat and sit at a different table at lunchtime. This kind of treatment is upsetting, unnecessary and isolating.
So here are some tips for you, whether you are a parent of a child with food allergies or a parent hosting a party where children with food allergies will be present.
Things to consider when hosting a birthday party for your child…
Do the children coming have any dietary requirements or allergies?
Don’t leave a child with allergies off the guest list.
It may be better to make the food yourself rather than cater in, so that you know what’s in the food and you don’t have to worry so much!
Do you know what to do if a child has an allergic reaction?
Ask the parents of the child with allergies if they would like to supply the food or not? This kind of easy communication can put everyones mind at rest, including the child.
Think about having non edible treats for prizes and party bags.
Give the children a little house keeping rule at the beginning of the party about sharing food - being sure not to single the allergic child out.
If your child has allergies and is attending a birthday party?
• Is the host aware they have allergies? If so, do they know which foods they are allergic too.
• Is your child able to tell someone what food they are allergic to?
• Do they have their antihistamine, Epipen and anaphylaxis action plan?
• Have you gone through the epipen with the host?
• Make sure the parent hosting would be comfortable to actually give the epipen.
• Offer to remain close by so that the host knows they can call you if they are worried.
Remember that a vast majority of the time a child has to actually eat something to have anaphylaxis. Most allergic reactions are just surface area, uncomfortable symptoms that will reduce in a short time period, with no harm done!
We need to remember that a lot of children will grow out of their food allergies before the age of 5 years old, so making them fearful and paranoid about a specific food may be difficult to undo in the future when we actually need the child to include this food in their diet.
Allergic children do not want to be treated differently, and do not want to live in fear of their allergies either. With a little extra planning, everyone can have a good time, relax and enjoy the party!
If you have a child with allergies, or maybe you have never done a first aid course, hop on over to our class page and see what we are all about.
The Nest is here to help you keep your children safe from accident and allergy.