By Heather Legg
A reader recently posted a recommended tool for anyone wanting to learn, or teach, about food allergies. This tool is the Beyond A Peanut Flashcards, which were created “to help educate children with a peanut allergy, their families, friends, and other individuals who provide care for children with peanut allergies.” I decided to do a little checking into these cards and like what I found. They have been deemed highly effective and have made a big difference in the lives of many peanut and tree nut allergy sufferers.
The cards contain information about common situations and foods that anyone can come across. They are color coded and have the food on one side and information on the other. The green cards have the foods that are mostly safe for those with peanut or tree nut allergies, like fruits, vegetables and pizza. The yellow cards have more questionable foods and situations, like contact with someone who has eaten nuts and bulk foods. These types of things need to be given more thought. On the red cards are foods and situations of greater risk, like chocolate, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Asian foods. These cards offer alternative ideas and suggestions to ensure the safety of someone with a peanut allergy. There are a set of blue cards, too, that provide information on key terms and educational resources.
Not only do the cards cover foods that contain peanuts and tree nuts, they cover situations and non food items. Lotions, cosmetics, even arts and crafts are listed on the yellow cards, which can really bring about awareness. Situations are brought to attention, too, like some signs of reactions and places like amusement parks and airplanes.
There are a few cons to the cards, but more of what they don’t have then what they’ve done incorrectly. About.com points out that one downside is that most (but not all) information is very specific to peanut and tree nut allergies, clearer information about how to talk to waitstaff or air travel personnel would be useful and kids aren’t advised to tell adults if they’re having signs of an allergic reaction. Other than that, the cards seem to receive very high reviews. About.com also states that the cards have been used very effectively with children as young as three and four years old and provide excellent interactive opportunity for education.
The cards come ring bound in a set of 36. They are easy to use at home (hang in the kitchen) or in school. They are also great for summer camps, after school activities or daycare. With these cards, care givers, coaches, teachers and counselors, basically anyone who comes in contact with kids, can give an effective lesson on food allergies that is relevant and easy for even young children to understand. They are also affordable enough (a set for $13.99) to purchase multiple sets, one to keep and one to go with your child to share with his caregivers.
Check out the site for more information, including the background and creator’s story. www.beyondapeanut.com.