How Food Allergy Safe Is Your Child’s School?

Voluntary school or childcare center guidelines for managing the risks and reactions of children with food allergies were created by the CDC in consultation with the U.S. Dept. of Education.

The guidelines were developed in accordance with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, passed by Congress in 2011.

Asking your school or daycare questions based on the guidelines allows you to determine whether complete and suitable plans are in place to promote the well being of your food allergic child.

Questions Covering The Voluntary Guidelines

If your school cannot answer some or all the following questions, the questions can be used as talking points for creating more awareness and safety at your child’s school.

How does your school/daycare ensure the daily management of food allergies for individual children? A complete plan includes:

  • Having specific procedures in place to identify children with food allergies.
  • Developing an Emergency Care Plan to reduce the risk of food allergy reactions for individual children.
  • Helping students manage their own food allergy when appropriate.

How has your school/daycare prepared for food allergy emergencies? A complete plan includes:

  • Having an easy to use communication system set up for emergencies.
  • Auto-injectors quickly and easily available to the staff.
  • A plan for implementing auto-injectors when needed and for immediately contacting emergency medical services.
  • An identified role for each staff member in a food allergy emergency.
  • Plan of action for allergy reactions in students with no prior history of food allergy.
  • A way to document food allergy emergencies.

How has your staff been trained to manage food allergies and respond to allergy reactions? A complete plan includes:

  • General training for all school staff on food allergies.
  • In-depth training for staff who has frequent contact with children with food allergies.
  • Specialized training for staffs who daily manage the health of students with food allergies.

How does your school/daycare educate students/children and their family members about food allergies? A complete plan includes:

  • Teaching all students about food allergies.
  • Teaching all the student’s parents and families about food allergies.

How does your school/daycare create and maintain a healthy and safe educational environment? A complete plan includes:

  • Policies creating an environment that is safe as possible from exposure to food allergens.
  • Having food-handling policies and procedures that prevent cross-contamination.
  • Making outside groups that use the school facilities before or after school hours aware of the food allergy policies and rules.
  • Efforts to establish a positive psychosocial atmosphere that reduces bullying and social isolation, and promotes understanding of children with food allergies.

“When schools and early care and education programs develop and implement plans to effectively manage the risk of food allergies, they help keep children safe and remove one more health barrier that keeps some children from reaching their full potential.” ~ Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services

Source: CDC
Photo credit: Elizabeth

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