Learn tips for trick or treating safely if your child has food allergies.
The holidays can be a challenging and isolating time for kids with food allergies, particularly Halloween. Peanut, egg, and milk represent over 80% of the most common childhood food allergies and these allergens are often found in popular candies and chocolates. But with the right planning and guidance, your family can have a fun, enjoyable and safe Halloween.
Here are our tips for trick or treating safely if your child has food allergies:
- Talk to Your Kids - Especially if your child was just recently diagnosed with a food allergy, it’s important to sit down with your kids and talk to them about what they can and can’t have and let them ask you any questions they may have.
- Focus on the Fun - While you will have to remind your child what treats they can’t have, focus more on the activities that they can still enjoy so that they still feel excited about the holiday and celebrations.
- No Eating while Trick or Treating - Enforce this policy so that you can review all labels and ingredients at home so that your child enjoys them safely.
- Teal Pumpkin Project - A teal pumpkin at a neighbor's doorstep means they have safe, non-food treats available and promotes safe trick or treating and inclusion for food allergic families. Many food allergy organizations including FARE raise awareness for this campaign, learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project here.
- Avoid Treats with No Ingredient Labelling - Maintain a strict policy on avoiding treats that do not have an ingredient label.
- Be Proactive - Ahead of time, you can create your own safe treats or toys to give to your neighbors to hand out. On Halloween night, you can feel safe going to those select neighbors for trick or treating.
- Start a “Good Witch” Tradition - Encourage your child to leave all unsafe treats for the Good Witch to collect and in exchange, she will reward them with safe goodies.
- Emergency Care - Lastly, and as part of your ongoing Food Allergy Emergency Care Plan, keep 2 auto-injectable epi-pens available at all times.
Food Allergies Today
The rate of food allergies continues to rise as 1 in 12 children suffer from a food allergy today. Not only are food allergies reaching epidemic-level proportions, but they are also serious as reactions can be life-threatening. Another troubling trend is that the rate of ER visits due to anaphylaxis in children has increased by 150% in recent years (source: Blue Cross Blue Shield). In addition, food allergies can leave children feeling isolated and excluded at school, birthday parties and holiday celebrations.
A Recent Breakthrough in Food Allergen Introduction
Thankfully, recent landmark studies (LEAP, EAT, PETIT) have proven that there is a safe and easy way to introduce food allergens to babies. In addition, new medical guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) have been published supporting early and sustained allergen introduction.
Ready. Set. Food! makes it as easy and safe as possible to introduce babies to peanut, egg, and milk in the amounts used in the landmark clinical studies, which showed the potential to give food freedom to 80% of babies.
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