What Food Allergy Parents Really Want You to Know + Using Children’s Books to Further Food Allergy Education


Sentiments for non-food allergy parents from the food allergy community, plus using books to teach children about food allergies.

Sentiments for non-food allergy parents from the food allergy community, plus using books to teach children about food allergies. Peanut Free in the Queen City with special guest Babies to Bookworms.

More often than not, the reality that the average food allergy parent lives in goes unnoticed in the non-food allergy world. How do I know this? Not long ago, I was there. I was a non-food allergy parent. Oblivious to the danger and fear that food allergy parents face daily. This is exactly why I put this blog post together.

I’ve compiled a list of a few sentiments that, as someone who has only been a food allergy mom for a little over a year, wishes the non-food allergy world knew. Sure, the list could have been way longer, but as hard as it was (I like to talk, can’t you tell?), I wanted to present my audience with a few key takeaways. Here are my 5 Things Food Allergy Parents Want You to Know.

5 Things Food Allergy Parents REALLY Want You to Know. Sentiments for non-food allergy parents. From Peanut Free in the Queen City.

1. Do not blame us. Why do food allergies happen to adults? Why such an increase in food allergies in children? That’s the million dollar question! No direct link, lifestyle choice, medical history, environmental factors, diet or where you live in the world can, without a doubt, be pointed to as a main reason why someone has food allergies and someone does not.

2. There is no cure. Food allergies are a life sentence, especially when it comes to a peanut or tree nut allergy. Only about 20% of those with a peanut allergy will outgrow it. Some food allergies, like milk, egg and soy, have a better chance of being outgrown. Clinical trials exist (for a select group) to help boost food allergy tolerance.  You can learn more here. There is also a patch, specifically for peanut allergies, that is on the horizon. This again, is not a cure.

3. Ask us questions. Please, engage in a conversation with a food allergy parent with an open mind. Often, untrue notions, wives tales and false information is brought to the table. When you receive information “straight from the horses mouth,” you are hearing first hand knowledge from those who live within the food allergy community daily.

4. Empathy and understanding go along way. Individuals who take the time to put themselves in our shoes, even if it’s at the basic level of being a fellow parent, do not realize how much of a positive impact they have on the life of a food allergy parent. It’s the simple things…asking us if a certain food is safe, sending us a menu ahead of time, letting us bring safe food, all amount to what may seem like a small task, but in the eyes of a food allergy parent, have a big impact.

5. Food allergies are truly a matter of life and death. We are not being high maintenance. We are not requesting actions due to being entitled. We are not being helicopter parents. We, as food allergy parents, recognize the daily danger our food allergy children face. We’ve seen our children almost lose their life due to the smallest ingestion of a known allergen. We, as food allergy parents, have ridden and still do ride, a roller coaster of emotions…fear, anxiety, worry, depression, acceptance, isolation, confusion.

Educating Children on Food Allergies

Food allergy education, for non-food allergy children especially, can be difficult and hard to grasp. You are trying to teach them about an invisible threat to a peer. It’s kinda mind blowing…a food that they enjoy, if even ingested in the tiniest amount, has the potential to seriously harm someone they may know.

What better way to teach children about food allergies than through books? Thankfully, fellow blogger Babies to Bookworms has taken the time to review and list a handful of easily attainable books that do a wonderful of educating both allergic and non-allergic children.

Jump on over to Babies to Bookworms to find some Unique Books to Teach Kids About Food Allergies.

From Babies to Bookworms: Food allergies can be a difficult thing for kids to understand, both for the kids dealing with the allergy and the kids around them. Literature is a great place to start teaching kids about food allergies, the effects of these allergies, and things they can do to make it easier for their friends who have them.

15 comments

  1. My oldest son had a dairy allergy when he was a baby, and I know how lucky we are that he outgrew it when he was around 2. Now one of his friends has a severe peanut allergy and seeing how his mom has to cope at things like birthday parties or class parties really makes me realize how hard you guys have it; we actually bought my son one of the books you recommend so he would understand why his friend couldn’t always eat what he ate.

  2. So true! Really, I couldn’t have said it better. All of my kids have food allergies and two have very severe reactions to certain foods that can result in death. While peanuts/nuts are a big one that a lot of people know about, and even eggs, too, there can be just as serious a reaction from something less common and often, people don’t get it. One of mine, for example, is anaphalactic to beef (as well as a handful of other things including eggs, nuts, and dairy). This book list was fantastic. I went over to say thank you to Babies to Bookworms, too.

  3. I always try to ask questions so they can see that I care and will certainly be aware of what to do if their child is ever in my care! Especially in simple places like the church nursery or a playdate when snacks are all around all the time! And the children’s book idea is a fantastic idea/resource!

  4. I hadn’t thought of using books to help teach about food allergies (I’m not sure why, they’re my go to tool for teaching literally everything else!). Thanks for an insightful post.

  5. this is a good article and great tips. I don’t have to deal with food allergies but they are so common these days and I can’t imagine what parents go thru on a daily basis.

  6. Food allergies are so terrifying. My younger brother had a severe peanut allergy growing up – we were all crazy protective of him. Frustratingly, his college has, not once, but twice failed to label something in the cafeteria and sent him into anaphylactic shock.

  7. I love using children’s books to help kiddos understand why some friends have to be careful around certain foods! Such a good way to help instill a sense of empathy.

  8. Love this book selection. Looking back, as a child I probably had celiac disease. Of course, back then, something like that was never diagnosed. I finally found out that I did, in fact, have celiac disease a few years ago. Many people just don’t understand that is is real, not just a fad to get on the gluten-free bandwagon. I thoroughly enjoyed this post pinning. Thanks!

  9. We experienced this second-hand as one of our good friends has anaphylactic reactions to many things (dairy, peanuts, and eggs were his top three). We learned a lot about washing our hands and face well after touching food, not eating at the playground, and taking every reaction seriously. As a family without allergies, it’s the least we can do to keep our friends safe.

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