"Help!" My child's food-allergic camp friend is coming for a sleepover!
Sandi Kornblum is a Certified Life and Food Allergy Coach. She coaches families and children in person and by phone. Sandi gives us a few of her tips and steps
to follow when hosting a food-allergic child in your home.
Careful preparation and proper communication can ensure a successful, safe and fun sleepover.
1. Communicate with the child's parents: Ask lots of questions! A good time to do this is when you are planning the sleepover with the child's parent. Be sure to know the foods the child CANNOT eat. Learn the safe foods/snacks. Some parents may prefer to bring all of their child's food to your house. Keep in mind, they have likely done this before and know best. Don't be offended. Be supportive and use the opportunity to learn for future sleepovers and playdates.
2. Put away all offending foods: Simply putting these foods "out of reach" before the child enters your home makes them inaccessible and eliminates almost any risk of exposure.
3. Prevent cross-contamination: Thoroughly clean all surfaces in your home that the child may touch. Most
standard cleansers will eliminate possible residue from food that was previously eaten and prepared in your home. Consider using paper plates. If not, be sure to use clean dishes and utensils. Do not use the same utensil for more than one food or dish. As an added precaution, always wash your hands and prepare the food-allergic child's food first.
4. Understand emergency protocols: Have an "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) talk with the child's parents to review the child's emergency action plan. Make sure you receive clear understandable instructions. Be positive you know where the child's epinephrine auto-injector (Epi-pen) is and how to use it. Don't hesitate to ask the child's parents for a demonstration if you feel you need one. Also, be sure you know how much medicine you would need to administer.
If you follow these steps, you can turn anxiety about hosting a food-allergic child in your home, into confidence and composure. Be calm, be prepared!
Please visit www.TheFoodAllergyCoach.com.