Food Allergies in Elementary School-Aged Children

For children with food allergies, returning to school can be a time of concern and even fear for the child as well
as their parents. A food allergic reaction can be potentially severe and is called anaphylaxis. A smooth transition into school can be accomplished by developing a coordinated, pro-active plan with the school and your physician.
Here is a short checklist:
  • Meet with the teacher, principal, school nurse, and food service coordinator.
    • Identify the food(s) that need to be avoided and review the symptoms of the child’s allergic reaction.
    • Discuss avoidance of the particular food(s); for example: no food sharing, use a placemat where only safe foods can be. Consider an allergy free table.
    • Identify “safe” and “unsafe” foods; if age appropriate, teach how to read a food label.
    • Have a plan for cafeteria, classroom, bus, and other school-sponsored activities.
    • Have clearly labeled “safe snacks” available for the child.
    • Send a sack lunch or meet with food service personnel to review menus to identify“safe meals” and discuss “cross contamination” through using common utensils.
    • Review the correct use and indications of the self-injectable epinephrine (EpiPenTM) and discuss the location of the epinephrine so it is immediately available if needed.
    • Identify if your child has asthma as this increases the risk for a severe food reaction.
  • Provide the school with a Food Allergy Action Plan signed by your doctor (see
    • Contains information on symptoms of an allergic reaction, when and how to use medications, contact information, photo, and follow up.
  • Provide school with self-injectable epinephrine (EpiPenTM or EpiPen, Jr. TM based on child’s weight); check expiration date.
  • Provide child with medical identification as a bracelet, necklace or other form. They come in various styles and colors. There are many places these can be obtained such as bracelets from Lauren’s Hope (
  • Check with your allergist….he/she may be willing to give a presentation to your school or classroom. I’m willing and available--- just ask!