As you begin to introduce solid foods to baby, you’ll likely be hyperfocused on sensitivities and allergies. First thing’s first: know that only about 8 percent of kids are estimated to have food allergies. But if your child falls into that percentage, preparation is essential. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a revamped plan for parents and pediatricians.
Released this month, the Guidance on Completing a Written Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan includes a customizable, 2-page form health care providers can fill out on behalf of your child.
What is this plan, exactly? According to the AAP, it’s “a document written in simple lay terms that can guide the patient, family and nonfamily caregivers, and school personnel in the event that the child experiences an allergic reaction.” If your child’s been diagnosed with an allergy or is at risk for a more severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, this plan should go to your babysitter, your daycare, your extended family, etc.
In the event of an allergic reaction, the plan helps caregivers a) assess the severity of the situation and b) know how to proceed from there. If a child’s exhibiting symptoms that the plan deems “severe,” the adult will know to give epinephrine (think: an EpiPen). And yes, the form explains how to inject an EpiPen, and what to do afterwards.
Below the directions, there’s space to list out any additional medications and dosages the child may need.
This certainly isn’t the first—or only—form of its kind. But the goal of the AAP is to create a universal, easy-to-follow document, since currently, “variations exist in content and treatment recommendations, which can lead to confusion.”