Childcare & School

During the day your child will be in contact with many staff members and other children. They may move around to different locations, both inside and outside the school or childcare centre.  Since there can be risks in different settings – classroom, lunchroom, cafeteria, or the school yard – procedures should be in place to manage food allergens. This is also true for special activities, such as class trips, after-school programs and bus travel to and from home. 21 22 23

Find out if your child’s school or childcare has a policy or guidelines for managing food allergies.  Some may have this in place.  Others may lack a clear policy if they have not had children with food allergies before, so you may even have an opportunity to get involved with the policy development.  In any case, you should set up a meeting with the principal or childcare director to discuss your child’s needs.

Give the school or childcare center:

  • Your child’s Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan.  Complete this each year or whenever there are any changes such as the addition of new food allergies, the removal of allergies that are outgrown or changes to treatment instructions.
  • Auto-injectors that are in date (i.e. not expired).
  • Permission to treat your child according to their physician’s instructions if they have an allergic reaction.
  • Safe snacks for your child.  Their teacher can keep these for times when a snack is not packed or your child cannot have a treat that is given to other kids.  These should be foods that do not go bad (i.e. non-perishable).

The emergency plan should include information about your child such as her allergies, what to do in the event of a reaction and emergency contact information.

Communicate with the school and childcare community

  • Find out who is responsible for the allergy policy.  Ask to be contacted about upcoming events that involve food such as celebrations, trips and special activities. Offer to answer any questions they may have.  Volunteer to help with activities if you have time.
  • Ask that the school or childcare staff inform other parents about food allergies.  Staff such as the principal, director, teacher or nurse can help with getting others to follow and understand allergy policies.
  • Make an effort to develop a positive relationship with other parents.  Try to educate with facts rather than emotion.
Teaching Children - handprint 50px

Teaching Children
Review the basic rules with your child.  Remind them to:

  • Wash their hands before and after eating.
  • Only eat food that is approved by a trusted adult.
  • Use dishware, utensils (spoons, forks, etc.), cups and bottles meant for them.  They should not share with others.
  • Tell an adult right away if they think they have accidentally eaten something they are allergic to, are having symptoms of a reaction or are worried about something.

Take your child to meet their teacher and see their classroom ahead of time.  This will help your child become comfortable in these new settings.  Consider asking if classmates and childcare friends can be taught about food allergies.  This can be done by having a teacher or school nurse read children’s book about food allergies.

Some parents get involved in classroom activities. Ask your child if they want to be involved.  Some will feel proud to teach their friends about their allergies.  Others may not want to stand out and may prefer to watch.

AllergyHome Logo Additional Information
What are Food Allergies? Explaining to Kids What it Means to Live with a Food AllergyWhat are Food Allergies? Explaining to Kids What it Means to Live with a Food Allergy

This 4 ½ minute slide show teaches elementary school age children without food allergies why kids with food allergies need to do things a bit differently. It is designed to increase understanding, encourage children to support their classmates, and discourage bullying. This resource can be used by school nurses and teachers in the classroom as well as a tool to introduce families in the school community to the basic concepts of food allergies.

Free Food Allergy Awareness PostersFree Food Allergy Awareness Posters

We use pop-culture and humor to help raise food allergy awareness in the school community. is a collection of over thirty posters with explanations and teaching points great for discussing with your kids. All of the posters can be downloaded for free as a color pdf to print out as 8 1/2″ x 11.″ size

Basic Food Allergy Skills for Kids Coloring PageBasic Food Allergy Skills for Kids Coloring Page

This coloring page from Everday Cool with Food Allergies is designed to teach pre-school and early school-aged children basic age-appropriate food allergy management skills such as eating safe foods, handwashing, no sharing, alerting grownups, expressing feelings, etc.

NASN Resource: Tool Kit for Food Allergy Management in the School Setting
KFA Webinar: Food Allergy In School Part 1: What Parents Need To Know
KFA Webinar: Food Allergy In School Part 2: Ask The Experts
KFA Resource: Stocking Epinephrine in Schools: What You Need to Know

21. Young, M.C., Munoz-Furlong, A. and Sicherer, S.H. “Management of food allergies in schools: a perspective for allergists.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 124.2 (2009): 175–182.

22. McIntyre, C.L., Sheetz, A.H., Carroll, C.R. and Young, M.C. “Administration of epinephrine for life-threatening allergic reactions in school settings.” Pediatrics 116.5 (2005): 1134-1140.

23. Sicherer, S., Furlong, T.J., DeSimone, J., and Sampson, H.A. “The US Peanut and Tree Nut Allergy Registry: Characteristics of reactions in schools and daycare.” Pediatrics 38 (2001): 560-565.



The information in this handbook is for educational purposes only. It is meant to help people learn how to manage a child’s allergies. It is not meant to give specific medical advice, recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment.

Readers should not rely on any information contained in this handbook as a replacement or substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis or treatment. Nor should they delay getting professional medical advice or treatment because of information contained in this handbook. Medical knowledge is constantly developing.

Please speak with your child’s doctor or other healthcare professional before making any medical decision that affects your child or if you have any questions or concerns about their food allergies.

The authors of this handbook – Michael Pistiner, Jennifer LeBovidge and Anaphylaxis Canada – as well as individual contributors and reviewers will not be held responsible for any action taken or not taken based on/or as a result of the reader’s interpretation (understanding) of the information contained herein.

Please note that AllergyHome is not affiliated with Boston Children’s Hospital

Accept Decline