A reader recently asked me the following question:
What do you do when your food allergy child is at someone else’s house without you and they will be eating there?
The way I see it, there are few options when your food allergy child will be eating away from home.
- No rules or guidelines. A very reckless and dangerous option in my opinion.
- The other parent knows what your child’s food allergies are and promises not to feed your child that food. A little better than #1, but still not a good idea.
- Approve a few foods that they offer. This option is cautiously acceptable.
- Allow your child to only eat the food that you send and that is all. Ding Ding Ding!
When my son goes to someone else’s house and he will be eating there, I always pack his own food. I do this even if I know the food that will be served. I have 2 exceptions:
- Once we arrive, I can approve other food. For example, if popcorn is going to be fixed for a movie, I may pre-approve the brand or the method of popping.
- I only allow #1 if I have a very trusting and fully understanding relationship with the other family. It isn’t that others would intentionally hurt him, but if you don’t have to watch for every little possible type of cross-contamination or unknown ingredient name, there is always the chance of allergic reaction.
Finally, when in doubt, don’t leave your food allergy child at someone else’s home without you. I have stayed at birthday parties with my son (not intending to beforehand) because I did not feel comfortable with the environment. It was great for most kids, but a potential field of land mines for my son.
What do you for play dates with your food allergy child? Are there actions that you employ other than what I have noted above?