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Halloween with a Food Allergy


By Keri Stafford/The Mother List

As a mom with a son who has a life-threatening peanut allergy, I’ve found Halloween to be a tricky time of year.

A growing number of parents share this concern, as the number of children with food allergies is on the rise.  One out of every 13 children in the U.S. now has a food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research & Education. That’s roughly two in every classroom.

Eight foods account for 90 percent of all reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a life-threatening reaction, which means trick-or-treating has to be closely monitored. Here are some tips to help make Halloween go a little smoother:

1. Bring the epi-pen. When trick-or-treating,  make sure you or your child carries his/her emergency medicines.

2. Safety in numbers. Don’t let food-allergic children trick-or-treat alone.

3. Avoid allergens. Give neighbors safe Halloween treats in advance to hand out to your food allergic child or encourage them to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project and hand out non-food items.

4. Inspect all candy. As soon as your children return home go through their candy and separate out all treats with allergens or those that could cause a reaction. When in doubt, throw it out.

5. Check all ingredients. Be careful with “fun size” or “treat size” candy, they may contain different ingredients than the regular-size package.

6. Trade unsafe candy.  Trade any unsafe candy for allergen-safe treats or age-appropriate non-food items (books/coloring books, pencils, stickers, toys, etc.)  You could even enlist the Switch Witch!

7. Stay clean. If you or anyone in your house has eaten a product with an allergen, be sure to brush your teeth and wash your hands before hugging or kissing a child with an allergy.

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