Does everyone in your child’s school know about your child’s allergies?
I was checking the expiry dates for the epi-pens we hold in our school today and I was thinking how glad I was that I’d never had to administer an epipen – either at school or for my own children. I have been trained like every other member of our school staff and would, like them, always be totally aware of those children in our community who have food allergies.
Remembering a newspaper article from Feb 2011 in which a seven year old boy suffered a severe anaphylactic reaction having been handed a nut containing chocolate by a supply teacher (see article) I wonder how many supply teachers in schools are truly aware of these children?
Handing out sweets on a child’s birthday is a very common practise in schools. Some schools refuse because of the risk to children with food allergies, but what do you do to protect your child if this is not the case?
The way I get around it for my younger boys, is to hand the class teacher a bag of ‘safe sweets’ to give them in place of those being handed out by the birthday child. If the children are handed sweets on their way out at the end of the day, this also minimises the risk of them swapping and touching the wrong ingredient in the playground at lunchtime.
I try to make doubly sure that the classroom assistants all know about my boys’ food allergies so that they can impress upon any supply staff that they need to be careful.
At the beginning of each year, I write a letter to each teacher about my sons’ allergies and I hand it over in person after I have met with them to explain the seriousness of making sure they always bear those allergies in mind when planning lessons like cookery.
Noone would ever harm our children knowingly so probably the best policy is to continue raising awareness with every new member of school staff.
I truly hope that as food allergies become more talked about it will be more commonplace to have policies in place to keep these children safe at school.