Ask the Experts: Reduce Social Implications of Childhood Allergies
Hosting a play date? Worried about your child's allergies or those of your child's friends? Franciscan Physician Network pediatrician Clark Kramer, MD, says there are things allergy families and non-allergy families can do to help bridge the social gap for a safe play date.
For the Host
- Wash your hands with soap and water. Most allergens can be washed away with soap and water, but not by hand sanitizer.
- Wipe kitchen counters with common household cleaning sprays or sanitizing wipes, not dishwashing liquid.
- Ask if you can serve food, and which types of food are safe.
- Cross-contamination can happen easily, so try to get all kids to eat the same allergy-safe foods.
- Make sure you are clear on when and how to administer emergency medications, in case you need to use them. Don't be shy about asking questions.
For the Guest
- Talk to the host parents about your child's food allergy.
- Ask if food will be part of the playdate and read every label. Offer to bring food along if you feel it's necessary.
- Talk to the host parents about any emergency medication your child carries with him or her. Teach them when and how to use it.
- Ensure your child is aware of their allergies, how to avoid contact and how to communicate if an issue arises.
- Provide contact information in the case of an emergency.
- If you are still concerned about your child going to a friend's house, Dr. Kramer recommends a reverse playdate, "invite the non-allergy child over to your house instead, where you can have control over the food."