Friday, June 27, 2008

Day Trippin' with Food Allergies

With summer, comes day trips and with that comes a need to prepare for all the eventualities. Getting kids to go anywhere seems like a military maneuver at the best of times, but when you've got kids with nut allergies you've got to take a few more precautionary steps. I got to thinking about this during a recent visit to Brookfield Zoo, located just outside Chicago. But anywhere we go this summer--the zoo, an amusement park, the beach--will require the same level of prep.

So, here they are--my tips for successful summer day-trippin' with food allergies:

1. Get yourself and insulated "cooler" shoulder bag. The Brookfield Zoo, like many other family-friendly day trip destinations allows you to bring your own food. Unfortunately you can't see my chic bag from Thermos in the above photo, but it was a godsend on our recent zoo trip. During one of my numerous trips to Target, I grabbed this cute, diaper bag-sized tote and some freezer packs for keeping sammies and drinks chilled. The extra front pockets were useful for the EpiPens, my wallet and assorted sundries so I didn't have to bring a separate purse. The best part--it wasn't huge and didn't weigh a ton and wasn't awkward like some of those big cooler bags.

2. Bring some paper towels, disposable paper plates or disposable "place mats" for the picnic table. Since you just never know if the last family was packing peanut butter, be ready to protect the table for your child. Besides offering protection from forbidden foods, it also just seems a lot more hygienic.

3. Locate the First Aid station upon arrival. You may never need it, but it's good to know where it is in the event of emergency.

4. Check and double-check that you have your EpiPens before departure. I don't know about you, but I seem to constantly be transferring my items from bag to bag all summer long. You don't want to leave the EpiPen behind, only to discover that it's missing upon arrival at your destination. I place Post-It notes on my dashboard to remind me.

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