Own your children's health problems, and guide your children to do so, too. / Knauer/Johnston/Getty Images
If your child has allergies, asthma or other sensitivities, there’s extra parenting responsibility. Erica Reid, mother to two preteens with food and environmental sensitivities and author of The Thriving Child , shares some of her tips for keeping children safe.
Be an advocate.
Own your children’s health problems, and guide your children to do so, too. “Teach them as early as possible to live with whatever they have,” Reid says. With strong food allergies, Reid’s son, 9, doesn’t eat at friends’ houses. Her son and daughter, 11, know what questions to ask when they order for themselves in restaurants.
Discuss your child’s health needs with teachers. “Inform teachers on the first day of school, and if your child has more than one teacher, don’t rely on that teacher to tell the other,” Reid says. And don’t be fazed by resistance. “Some teachers ... don’t understand when I tell them my son is allergic to cold air. They think I am overreacting.” It’s the responsibility of the parent and the person taking care of the child to ensure health is taken seriously.
Know the triggers.
Always carry your child’s medications and have him wear a medical bracelet that informs others of health problems in case he can’t speak for himself.