Having a child with allergies can be stressful for the whole family, especially if they are life-threatening. Anxiety is taken to another level during travel or when you have to leave your child with someone who isn’t you. Take it from a mom who has been there. Here is what you need to know when leaving your food allergy child with sitters – even if they are your family!
This past weekend, I had a very long-overdue grownup girls-only weekend away with my sister. Due to my husband’s work schedule, I had to trust my allergic son’s care to others–in this case, my parents. I trust my parents wholeheartedly, but every time we do a family travel event outside of our safety zone, a.k.a, our home, I worry. This is where we once did a potential allergy sweep only to have my son who is highly allergic to dairy find a Cheez-It. This was also the first time in two years I have allowed him to go anywhere without my husband or myself there to make his food.
The Preparation Process
Before we even left our home, I gathered the following in case of emergencies:
– Load up on Epi-Pens
– Written prescription from Allergist for additional Epi-Pen
– Note from me allowing my parents to make health-care decisions for my son in my absence
– Phone numbers for Allergist and our family pediatrician
– Various food and snacks that are safe and allergy friendly
Most of the above are items we’ve been taking along ever since our Epi-Pen froze on a previous vacation. Perhaps the note from me was a bit over the top, but I wanted to ensure all our bases were covered in the event a decision needed to be made before I could return. It never hurts to be over prepared and i’d much rather be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of my child.
Arriving at the Sitters
Once we arrived, we did our usual allergy sweep: locking away the peanut butter (which is also an allergy trigger for my son), clearing the house of all dairy, and making my parents promise that no eggs would be cooked, as this can at times be known to trigger allergy issues. We also reviewed Epi-Pen procedures with my son and parents (courtesy of our new “practice pen”), and reminded them when it is needed as well as follow-up steps.
Realizing Travel is Possible
After making calls nearly every two hours for half a day, I was finally able to relax and enjoy myself. When I returned, I found two happy, over-sugared children, two very tired grandparents, and a realization that I CAN give away control with the proper steps in place. This mom may even begin traveling alone more!
Renee Yarborough is the mom of a beautiful daughter and a toddler son with food allergies. She works from a home office as a freelance marketer and consultant. When not chasing around her children, she enjoys reading, knitting, running and eating her husband’s cooking. Follow her on Twitter at @reneeyaborough