Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Food Allergies and Summer Day Trips: Like the Boy Scouts Say, "Be Prepared"

With summer, comes day trips and with that comes a need to prepare for all the eventualities. Getting kids ready to go anywhere seems like a military maneuver at the best of times, but when you've got kids with food 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 an insulated "cooler" shoulder bag. The Brookfield Zoo, like many other family-friendly day trip destinations allows you to bring your own food. I bought a chic insulated bag from Thermos (TM) and 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 placemats for the picnic table. Since you just never know if the last family was packing peanut butter (and let's face it, they probably were), 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.


Anonymous said...

Do you ever worry about the heat affect your epipens during the summer? We've already seen 90 degree days here in Central VA (eek--summer is here early) and have been concerned about it getting to hot for the epipens! Last year, DS just turned 2 before summer and we didn't do all the activities that we are doing now at 3.

Jenny said...

Hi, Yes I do worry about heat affecting EpiPens but my doctor told me that extreme heat or cold will not be harmful if it is of short duration. I bought an insulated EpiPen holder for this reason. I will try to dig up that post but in the meantime, don't worry unless it's laying in the sun for several hours. I'd also consult your allergist or pharmacist about it. They usually have a rough idea of how much heat or cold the EpiPen will take.

Jenny said...

Here is the link to the holder that I have:

I will ask around for others with insulation from cold and heat.

Jane Anne said...

Great reminders and I appreciate the question and answer about the Epipen and heat.

I may just look into getting one of those insulated coolers. I like that idea a lot.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jenny! Will look into it!!