I recently came across food allergy alert labels. These are such a brilliant idea for when little ones get older and they are into the cupboards and of course inevitably start helping themselves to food (if they are anything like my nine year old!).
Being a parent of a child with food allergies can be challenging so it’s important to try and put procedures in place which make your life easier and give you all peace of mind. When children are very young and can’t yet communicate about their allergies, it is up to us to protect them from food mix ups both in and outside the home. It is so important for children to feel safe, especially at home.
Outside the home we can’t take any risks. It is important to spell allergies out to everyone. We can’t put the pressure on young children to communicate crucial allergy information or rely on people around us to remember specific details about our child’s allergies.
By having food allergy alert labels, others can identify allergy safe foods for your child, remind caregivers about specific allergy details and in some cases include information on what to do in case of an allergic reaction.
How to use Labels
- Within the home is where food safety should begin. Create a system that works for your family and one which is easy for children to easily identify what foods they can and can’t have. When my son was young, I had SAFE and UNSAFE food stickers which I put on absolutely everything but an easier system is to separate all foods and designate them to a safe or unsafe shelf/cupboard and label that. Do this for dry goods as well as fridge and freezer goods. Although it was time consuming I felt safer labelling items individually. It also proved invaluable for avoiding mix ups if we had a babysitter or family and friends to visit.
- You could also put a large food allergy label on the fridge giving quick access to important allergy information such as allergens to avoid, what to do in an emergency, medication info and emergency contact numbers.
- Give to babysitters, childminders, family and friends who take care of your children for them to use in their home. Some labels are large enough to state medical contact numbers and instructions of what to do in an emergency. These are great if your kids regularly stay with grandparents and will give both you and them peace of mind.
- Outwith the home, label EVERYTHING from children’s food packaging to lunchboxes, water bottles, school bags, folders and pencil cases. When my son was a toddler he was given milk by mistake at a playgroup he went too. He had a huge reaction and had to go to hospital and I always think if I had a labelled a bottle specifically for him, this may not have happened. Hindsight L
- Give to the food staff at school and nurseries for use in canteens and kitchens.
- Give to teachers to use in the classroom. They can use them for desks, trays, folders, notes, hand washing sinks in classrooms. In schools there are often substitute teachers, teaching assistants and parents so it is important that everyone is informed and constantly reminded of details of allergies within the class. Often classes will have snacks or baking activities and labels should be used to avoid any food mix ups.
Top Tips for Buying Labels
- Ensure allergen information is easy to read – clear and visible
- Ensure labels are good quality and won’t fall off or get damaged easily. Lunchboxes are constantly being thrown about, shoved in and out of school bags, dropped and washed so they need to withstand wear and tear.
- Waterproof and can withstand being wiped clean as well as washing and the dishwasher.
- Ensure you order enough and keep a stock of them. Children are always starting new clubs, upgrading lunchboxes to the latest Smiggle one and getting different teachers at school.
- Fun! Keep labels colourful and fun for the kids
We really like Mabels Labels. They have a great range of allergy alert safety labels, ID wristbands and bag tags. They offer label packs which can be customised with name, allergy info and emergency contact number. All labels are dishwasher, microwave and laundry safe. They also ship internationally ($8 to the UK). Check out their website to see their customisable range.
Mabels Labels have very kindly given us a 10% discount off all label products. Just enter the code MYCHILDSALLERGY at checkout.
Here are some of the best (and cutest) FREE food allergy labels I have found
If you have any links or have made your own food allergy alert labels and would like to share with others feel free to post below or email me at anna@mychildsallergy and I’ll add in a link. X