HELP 6Yr Old W Food Allergies Leaving for the Weekend with Family to RI

Updated on October 03, 2013
D.R. asks from Lake Peekskill, NY
6 answers

Tomorrow my six year old son will be leaving for the weekend with my cousin and his wife to Rhode Island. He has stayed with them for a night on a few occasions but in the Bronx which is less than an hour away(his grandmother also lives in the Bronx so there is always someone close). I trust my cousin and know that he does everything he can to make sure my son is ok. BUT I am so nervous and this seems like it's so far away. I've considered canceling but would hate to disappoint my son and my nephew(who turned 5 today).
My worry is the following: My son is allergic to SOY(which is in just about everything and NUTS). Although I am packing ALL of his meals, sending all of his emergency medications and even packing home made cupcakes so that he can have one when they sing Happy Birthday to his cousin, I am still worried sick.
How do my husband and I deal with him being so far away????

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So What Happened?

SO today is the big day. Thank you to all who have made suggestions.
He does have an Epi pen as his allergies are severe enough to require one should he ingest the wrong foods(hence me packing his meals). He is completely aware of his allergies and knows to read labels and how to instruct everyone even restaurant workers on how to prepare his foods. My cousin has been educated on how to utilize an Epi-pen and on the steps to take should he have an allergic reaction. He has stayed with him before as I mentioned and has taken excellent precautions, my concern was the distance and the fact that should something occur, my child is not a hop skip and a jump away from me.

He is extremely excited about his trip and reassured his father and me that he WILL be ok and that we should enjoy our time together.

More Answers



answers from New York on

Elena's suggestions are great.

I just want to tag on to her by suggesting another way to look at it:

Sooner or later, your son will take a trip without you. How wonderful, fantastic, and amazing is it that his first trip will be with family members, people you really, truly trust? You couldn't ask for a better set of "training wheels."

And since they're family, you have the right to give them all a course in epi-pen 101. Have them run through the drill with the trainer pen until you're confident they've got it down. Have them tell YOU all the symptoms of anaphylaxis until you know they can spot them.

The other lucky thing about this trip is: Rhode Island. Rhode Island is good. I mean, all states are wonderful, etc., but RI is a tiny, densely populated state with a great medical infrastructure. He's not going to be in the wilderness here.

And, speaking of medical infrastructure, first responders are drilled in anaphylaxis and epi-pens like you wouldn't believe. I know, because I am one. [A first responder, I mean, not an epi-pen :)]

So, in the absolute worst-case scenario (which isn't that likely), you're covered. Your son will be okay.

Best wishes,

(Certified EMT)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My son is also six and is allergic to dairy, nuts and eggs, so I can understand where you're coming from. In addition to packing all of his mails and medications, I would also do the following:
1. Write out his allergies, so that if anything happens, a doctor has all of the necessary info
2. Fill out a consent for treatment form so that your cousin and his wife have the authority to seek medical treatment if needed. Without proper authorization, doctors may not be able to treat your son. Here is a sample form, though you can google and find many other options:
3. Write out a list of safe snacks so that your cousin feels comfortable giving your son other things to eat if needed
4. Remind your son to always refuse any food offered to him if he is not 100% sure that it is safe for him. I always tell my son that fresh fruit is the only thing he can eat if he doesn't see a package or know for sure exactly what it is.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Is your cousin all up to date on what to look for in an allergic reaction and how to use an epi pen?
If everyone's been briefed and knows what to do if an emergency comes up, and has medication and supplies then try to relax.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Does your son require the use of an Epi-pen or are his allergies slightly less serious? If he needs an Epi-pen, make sure your cousin and his wife have been shown how to use it with the trainer pen (the fake pen that has no needle that they supply with the Epi-pen). If he needs Benadryl or another med, pack a small tote (like an insulated lunch bag) and just make sure that your cousin brings it wherever they go

Also, print and laminate (you can get something laminated at most shipping places like Fed Ex Office or Staples) a very clear and concise statement. Something to the effect of: "______ (your son's name) is severely allergic to soy and nuts. The foods he must avoid include _______ (and list everything here. Be thorough). If he accidentally eats the foods he is allergic to, look for these possible reactions: ______ (list: swelling of lips, breathing troubles, stomach ache, or whatever happens to your son). Then add the name of the nearest emergency room (look it up, whatever is in your cousin's town), and your numbers and contact info. Make several copies. Teach your son today (role play) how to show the card to any one who offers him food. Role play (without scaring him) how to refuse food.

Don't be shy about checking with your cousin and his wife to make sure they know the procedure to follow. But since it seems like you trust them, don't show fear or distrust, just say something like "it's important since our son is so young that we all stay consistent on dealing with his allergies. We all need to have a coordinated plan. We can't hesitate to speak up in restaurants and at friends' homes." And demonstrate how you politely tell a waitress "Due to allergies, we need to double check the ingredients in this dish", or someone at a friends' home "I'm sorry but due to allergies I must ask you to not offer my son any food".

And then relax and let your son enjoy his family and his trip! I know it's easier said than done, but it's something all us allergy families need to learn. Along with learning how to manage the diet, and administer the medications, the family has to learn to be prepared and then trust.

And soon, get your son a cool kid's medical ID or alert bracelet. Many websites offer cool and kid-friendly allergy IDs, stickers for field trips, etc. I got my daughter a waterproof id from Fiddle Dee ID.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You have to consciously tell yourself to let go of the worry. Your worry is probably more serious than the allergies. In reality do you know how serious they are? My granddaughter was allergic to soy, milk protein and peanuts. She outgrew the milk protein allergy but is still allergic to soy and peanuts. She has an epipen for the peanut allergy. Her allergest prescribed it to be on the safe side but also said we should not be hypervigilant; just to take reasonable precautions.

I, too, have multiple food allergies including those to soy and peanuts. I've never had an epi-pen. They weren't in existence in my youth. I've eaten things to which I'm allergic as has my granddaughter and we have never had a serious reaction. We longer read labels.

Unless your son's allergist has told you to be hypervigilant I urge you to back off and find a way to relax. Your anxiety will cause your son difficulty in being a normal secure kid.

I have had an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting, twice in one day. I was in the country and it took 20 or more minutes to get to the hospital. I recovered quickly without ongoing difficulty. Your son has an epipen with him if his doctor thinks his allergy to nuts could result in anaphylaxis. If he doesn't have an epi-pen all the more reasonto relax. I've never heard of anaphylaxis reaction go soy.

I suggest that providing all his meals is an over reaction. Talk with his allergist to see if you could relax about this.

Know that it is extremely rare for someone to die from a food allergy. Yes, we need to be aware and avoid these foods but we don t need to be so fearful that we can't leave our child out of our sight.

I'm so very glad my allergies were diagnosed before we became fixated on the need to be 200% over the top in safety. Because of the diagnosis I can avoid most upset stomachs and hives. But if I choose to eat a cake containing chocolate and suffer a bit of an upset stomach that is OK.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Why don't you go along? At 6 years old I would have planned on going along.

If there's just not enough room then you either trust them or you don't. If you do then take a breath. IF you don't trust them then keep him home.

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