For those of you that are the primary caregiver for a child with food allergies, like me, we put an enormous amount of effort into preventing and preparing for emergencies with our child. We spend a lot of time examining the “what ifs.” It is important though that we also consider what would happen to our child if we were the ones that had an emergency. What if you couldn’t care for your child for a day, a week or for an indefinite amount of time? Who would care for your child while you can’t? Does this person have all the information and tools to provide the same level of care that you do?
In an effort to relieve some of my personal anxiety, I have developed a binder with all of the necessary information needed to help give my child the best care possible. This binder also doubles as a tool I use for babysitters, and they are instructed to take the binder with them if an ambulance must transport my child to the hospital. I recently shared this binder with my support group. Their response was great and many have now made their own binders. Here is the information for you too ...
On the front of the binder:
- Emergency Care Plan completed by allergist (from FARE)
- How a child might describe a reaction (from FARE)
- Emergency Phone Numbers:
Family that lives in town
Neighbors/friends that live nearby
- Information necessary for medical treatment:
Weight (as of what date)
List of allergies
List of medications
Any other medical conditions
- Health insurance information
- Consent to treat form (this would not be needed for emergency care, but could be needed for other non-emergency care) Example
- Prescription and refill information
- Safe food list (brands, flavors, and where it can be purchased)
- Specific foods to avoid depending on allergy (reference sheets from KFA)
- How to avoid cross contact (from FARE)
- Copy of my child’s 504 plan from school and contact information for coordinator, teacher and principal. Depending on age/activities of your child, you may want to include an “activities schedule” (sports, clubs, etc.) and contact information for all of these.
I also include some articles and blogs that have been helpful for me or express my thoughts and emotions about raising a child with food allergies. If someone were stepping into my shoes and caring for my child, I would want them to know this perspective.
Depending on your family situation, you may want to include a list of people that may be contacted to offer advice on managing your child’s allergies. I am blessed to have multiple family members in town and all are knowledgeable and trained on how to care for my daughter. This may not be the case for everyone though. Is there a person outside of your family and closest friends that you turn to for food allergy advice? It could be an old friend that lives in another state, but has a child with the same allergies. Do you belong to a support group? Your facilitator would want to support your child’s new caregiver the same way they have supported you. Be sure to pass their information along.
What resources do you use that make managing food allergies easier? A book, a website, etc.? Include all of this information.
Think about anything else that could be useful to someone caring for your child both emotionally and physically.
I hope you will consider making an emergency binder for your child. It will help if you ever have an emergency. It will also help you to focus some of your “what if” anxiety into an incredibly useful tool.
What other information would you include in a binder for your child?