Back-to-school allergy checklist for parents: Navigating allergies with confidence

Back-to-school allergy checklist for parents: Navigating allergies with confidence

As we find ourselves starting the new school year, the worries that come with sending your little one off to school might be creeping in. It never gets easier, does it? 

This is especially true if your child has allergies, as their environment is beyond your control, and thinking about their safety can be anxiety-inducing. 

Regardless of whether you’re concerned about food allergies, insect stings and bites, medication allergies, exercise-induced allergies or more complicated challenges such as cold urticaria, our checklist for navigating allergies with confidence stays the same. Follow these simple steps to maintain peace of mind over your child’s allergies this 2023/24 school year.

Open communication: The key to safety

Communication is the key to most situations. Your child’s allergies are no different. Communicate with the school, the teachers, friends, parents, and your child. 

Even if your child has been attending the school for some time, it’s wise to check in every September. Under the Children and Families Act 2014, schools must accommodate arrangements for students with medical conditions, including allergies. Reach out to discuss your concerns and familiarise yourself with the school’s allergy policy. This conversation might involve school nurses and catering staff, particularly if your child has a food allergy.

When they start going for sleepovers or play dates, there’s no shame in speaking with the parents to ensure they’re comfortable with what to do in an emergency. It can be a fast, simple chat for long-term peace of mind. 

Empowering your child: Knowledge is safety.

Depending on how young they are, your little one might already possess some knowledge about managing their allergies. Teach them through positive language why it’s essential to do what’s right for them and not just because everyone else is doing something different.  

You also improve your chances of keeping them safe by teaching them and empowering them with their own safety. 

For younger children, ensure they know which foods or substances trigger their allergies and are aware of avoiding them. Older children, while more conscious of their allergies, could benefit from collaborating with you to create a personalised plan. Teenagers are rebels. We were the same at that age; no teenager likes to be told what to do. They prefer to understand something and then do it ourselves. By giving them autonomy and involving them in managing their condition, you’ll help them foster a sense of control.

Food allergies: A delicate balance

The easiest way to overcome food challenges is to make a packed lunch. But that doesn’t stop children from sharing food. If your child doesn’t realise the severity of eating something, if only a little, or doesn’t know how to decline food politely, it can create issues further down the line. 

Make sure to speak to the school’s catering staff. They are obligated to make reasonable adjustments for students with allergies. But not only that, who hasn’t met a kind and bubbly head dinner person? They’ll want to know what’s happening in their school so they can cater accordingly. 

Food technology class (home economics when we were in school) is something to consider for older students, too. Make sure to speak with the food tech teacher ahead of time so they can either plan the syllabus accordingly or you can research food alternatives to navigate your child’s allergies. 


If your child already has an EpiPen, be aware of your school’s store and access policy. They should have an individualised allergy plan for each affected child. Determine where the EpiPens are located and whether they can be accessed within a 5-minute window – as this is a crucial time frame. 

If your child is in secondary school, they’re more likely to carry their EpiPens themselves. 

It’s unfair to rely on their peers, but the teachers might need to be clued up on how to use them, especially if they are new to teaching. Make sure to inquire about staff training in administering EpiPens during emergencies. Getting tested for allergies is a proactive way to learn wether or not your child needs an EpiPen.

Preparation is critical to peace of mind.

While these steps won’t eradicate anxiety, they will empower you and your child to navigate the school year confidently. Proactive communication, equipping your child with knowledge, understanding EpiPens, and controlling food exposure are all practical measures to ensure their safety. 

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. If you require further advice or strategies for managing your child’s allergies, our experts are here to help. To first get them tested, register as a new patient here or calling us at 02031 433 449. Together, we’ll strive for your child’s safe and fulfilling school experience.

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