Does your child or your child’s friends have serious allergies? Have you wondered how to manage birthday parties? Anne Walsh from Allergy Lifestyle shares her top tips for managing allergies at kids parties.
With food allergies on the increase the world over, taking allergies into account when hosting a birthday party is becoming a more frequent challenge.
Whether you are the parent of a food allergic child or you are hosting a party to which an allergic child is attending, with a little bit of communication and planning, everyone should be able to enjoy the party.
As a parent to a child with peanut, egg and sesame allergies (who carries adrenaline in case of emergency), birthday parties always require a bit of extra planning.
Allergic children do not want to be treated differently from their friends. As a parent I really appreciate it when someone goes out of their way to consider her allergies and include her. I believe with good communication and planning it is possible for a fun day for all.
#1. Contact the host
If your child has allergies, contact the person hosting the party when you get the invite so that they can take them into account when planning and shopping. Explain your child’s allergies whether they are food, latex, bee sting or animal allergies and that you will help wherever needed to make it easier for the host. I offer to stay or remain close by if they are worried and know parents who have sat outside the party in a car so they can be close if anything should happen.
#2. Discuss Food
- Ask what they are planning to serve, most people are very accommodating and won’t mind being asked. Depending on what suits the host I offer recipes, a list of safe foods available from the supermarket, or to bring food to the party making sure it is similar to what is being served so the child won’t feel excluded.
- Sometimes the food is safe but the cake may not be so I send a small bun or cupcake as an alternative. If you are providing safe food make sure your child understands not to share food or drinks with other children.
- Ask the host to keep the wrappers so that on the day of the party you can read ingredient labels for any food served.
- It’s also important to check sweets and treats that may be left out for the children and to remember that the allergy information for ‘fun size’ sweets may differ from the regular-size bars.
- Watch out also for guests bringing extra food to the party that has not been checked for allergens.
You may also like – Easy Party Food Recipes for Kids With Allergies
#3. Discuss Party Bags
Party bags are often handed out at the end of the party with lots of little mini sweets. When my daughter was young I offered to bring safe treats for the party bag, now that she is nine, we have agreed, that she doesn’t eat anything from it until she is home and we check ingredients, swopping any unsafe treats for suitable alternatives. She is happy with that and doesn’t mind as long as she is not missing out. Sometimes allergy information may not be displayed when the sweets come from a bigger pack, so if in doubt throw it out and replace with something safe.
#4. Discuss medication
If your child is prescribed medication such as anti-histamines, adrenaline or inhalers, discuss when and how to use them. If your child has been diagnosed with serious allergies go over the emergency action plan drawn up in consultation with your doctor discussing symptoms and appropriate action. Make sure any medicine is stored safely out of reach of little hands at the party.
Trainer/dummy adrenaline pens are a great way to demonstrate the correct use of adrenaline pens and we bring ours everywhere.
#5. Discuss party games and activities
Be aware of triggers in face paints, art and craft materials or bird/animal feed, so check with the host for any planned party games or face painting.
You may also like Tips for Starting School for a Child with Serious Allergies
#6. Contact Information
Make sure the person hosting the party has your contact information so if they have any questions during the party they can ring you to check them out and also in case of emergency.
#7. Your child
Teach your child not to share food or drinks. If they are not feeling well teach them to tell an adult immediately and not to go off on their own to a bathroom or bedroom. My daughter also brings a mobile phone with her to all activities and parties so she can contact me too.
You may also find this useful – Tips for travel with kids who have allergies
#8. Useful products for parties
- Medicine Bag or Adrenaline pen case for adrenaline, antihistamines, inhalers or other medicines
- Emergency Action plan – with symptoms, appropriate action and ICE information
- Allergy Wristband or Medical Jewellery serves as a reminder, can also store ICE info
- Stickers or wristbands – serve as a reminder of your child’s allergies
- Fully charged mobile phone so you can be contacted for any questions or in case of emergency
This article is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider regarding any medical condition or treatment. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article
For lots of useful products to assist those managing serious allergies, anaphylaxis, hay fever or asthma visit www.allergylifestyle.com. Find them on facebook and Twitter, where they host an on-line community for sharing information and tips.
Does your child suffer from a serious allergy? How have you managed parties? Share your tips in the comments below.