Sending Allergic Child Safely on a Field Trip

You get the permission slip home one day. Your child is going to the zoo on his first field trip at school. Your heart races because you fear that he will have an allergic reaction and you won’t be there. The school nurse won’t be there. He will be far away from you and your first thought is he can’t go.

Than rationality hits and you take a breath. You know he’s very excited to be going to the zoo on the school bus, with his buddies and yes, without you. Maybe you get to go on some field trips, but not this one. There are some ways to make the day easier for you and some steps you can take.

• On his permission form, write something like this (in big bold letters) “The teacher must take my child’s Epipen and Benadryl on the field trip and have it with her at all times.”
• Talk with the teacher and reiterate the importance that medication goes with your child. It needs to be with a responsible, knowledgeable adult who will be with your child at all times. The medication does not stay on the bus; it goes where your child goes.
• Send a note in the day of the trip reminding the teacher.
• If it is a food allergy, you may want to ask the teacher to ask the students not to bring that food if they are bringing a lunch. Hand washing may not be accessible, and things may get contaminated depending on how they are transported. You may also request that your child’s lunch is kept separate from the others.
• Remind your child not to share food.
• Remind the teachers that if someone does have something your child is allergic, have them sit away from each other. I remember one field trip I was on with a girl with a peanut allergy and some kids had peanut butter sandwiches. They sat on opposite ends or the picnic table.
• If your child needs medication, beforehand, give it to him yourself. If he has severe pollen allergies and the field trip is outside in the spring, give him an antihistamine before school. Make sure the teacher knows to give it to him at a specified time if needed.
• If another parent is going that you are close with, ask her to keep an extra eye on your child.
• Relax! Go have a cup of coffee with a friend and don’t think about all the bad things that could (but probably won’t!) happen. Think about how much fun your child is having; he’s being independent and safe and will be so excited to tell you all about when he gets home.

– Heather Legg

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