Summer is a time for children to have fun. School is out, the weather is warm, and the days are longer. For many families, these months are a time for vacation. Whether it be a week up north or a day in the city, the summer is a great time for family bonding. But, how do you take a food allergy child to an environment that you cannot control? It’s terrifying enough sending a food allergy child to school – a place where you do have some element of control. But when taking them out into the world, how can you keep them safe?
There are a number of museums that are food free zones. Aside from their cafeterias and courtyards, no food is allowed on the premise. For food allergy families, these museums are a small slice of freedom. These establishments allow parents to take their children out for a fun day without worrying about the peanuts other children might be eating. It is still a good idea to keep your child from touching surfaces and don’t forget to take precautions, but at least you can be comfortable there aren’t any nuts lying around.
Nature is a great option for families looking to get out. For food allergy families, picnicking in a park or taking a short hike, are all allergy safe ways to enjoy a day outdoors. For many children with food allergies, smelling their allergen is enough to set off a reaction. In a park, there is enough room to keep your distance and ensure that no one gets too close for comfort.
With the number of people living with food allergies growing yearly, there are a number of establishments that consider themselves completely allergy free. A quick google search and a supportive allergy community should be able to point you in the direction of these places. While it is still smart to be cautious, at a place like this you can be confident that allergies is on their mind. Plus, by visiting these establishments you are supporting your food allergy community, which is always a plus.
Not only are water sports fun and challenging, but they are a completely allergy free. Probably because it is virtually impossible to eat while banana boating. For allergy free families, spending a day in the ocean could be just what the doctor ordered. It is outdoors; big enough to keep distance and wet enough that nobody’s eating a peanut butter sandwich. Plus, with so many different possible activities (snorkeling, surfing, boating, etc.) there are fun options for the whole family.
Pro Tip: Going to a private beach may be a little more expensive, but it is a sure way to ensure that the area isn’t crowded, giving you a little more peace of mind.
Not all places allow walk ins, for many activities you need to make a reservation in advance. For food allergy families, this limitation could be a saving grace. When making your reservation, mention to the establishment that you are an allergy free family and see if they can be accommodating. This may mean warning you about the products that they use or keeping your group small and separate. Many places are willing to help out, you just need to let them know that help is needed. And if they choose not to accommodate your needs, you know to look elsewhere.
The first time going somewhere is always the scariest, but once you cross that bridge you can allow yourself to feel more comfortable moving forward. Obviously, this doesn’t mean letting your guard down completely, but slowly building trust. You may feel more comfortable doing this with small establishments or places where you have built a relationship with the staff. Regardless, sticking to what you know is generally a good plan of action. If you found that an establishment was kind and accommodating, not only will continuing your relationship with them be beneficial to you, but it will encourage other establishments to follow that same note and be open to serving the food allergy community.
When raising a child with food allergies, every new adventure comes along with a whole host of new fears. But it is our job as parents to prepare our children for their future. No matter how much we may like to, it is not possible for us to be protecting our children every second of every day. We have to do our best to provide our children with the tools they need to succeed later in life. Part of this includes taking our children out into the world. Show your child just how you ask the staff to be accommodating and even urge them to do it on their own. Encourage them to be open and vocal about their food allergy, so that they have the confidence to express it later on in life.
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA