Coming Up:

Allergies / Anaphylaxis

Thousands of children attend schools across Australia every day and only a very small percentage of those have a reaction at school, and when they do they are generally managed very well.

It is difficult letting your precious child go off to school into the care of people you don’t really know. It is, however, an important part of the process of children with food allergies slowly learning how to manage their allergies themselves.

Parents’ responsibilities:

  • Make a suitable time to meet with the school principal, classroom teacher and/or other staff in charge of first aid management before children start school.
  • At this meeting discuss:
    • your child’s medical and health needs
    • storage of your child’s auto-injector at school
    • risk minimisation, including strategies for high-risk times such as lunch breaks, celebrations, special events, excursions, as well as curricular and extracurricular activities involving foods.
  • Provide the school with an in-date adrenaline autoinjector
  • Keep staff informed about any changes or updated allergy tests that occur during the year.
  • Provide the school with an ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis for your child that has been updated and signed by your doctor within the last two years. If your child is allergic to a food/insect but has not been prescribed an adrenaline autoinjector, please make sure your doctor completes an ASCIA Action Plan for Allergic Reactions for your child.
  • Provide a treat box (clearly labelled with the child’s name) to the teacher with appropriate treats for the child with allergies for special events such as birthdays.
  • Provide the child’s food in a clearly labelled (easily identifiable) lunch and recess box.
  • If using the school canteen, speak with the canteen manager about appropriate options for your child.
  • Be reasonable with your requests. Remember, schools are dealing with lots of children with varying health and educational needs.

Child’s responsibilities:

  • Wash their hands before eating.
  • Know what to do if he/she has an allergic reaction. Tell a teacher he/she feels sick/is having an allergic reaction, lie down (or sit on the ground with legs out in front if breathing is difficult) and wait for the medical kit containing the adrenaline autoinjector to be brought to them. They must not stand or walk.
  • Don’t share food with their friends and don’t eat food that Mum/Dad/trusted carer hasn’t approved.

School’s responsibilities:

  • Establish and maintain anaphylaxis school policy and procedures.
  • Develop an Individual Health Management Plan/Health Care Plan that includes risk minimisation strategies. This should be developed specifically to help meet the individual child’s needs.
  • Store the child’s adrenaline autoinjector together with their ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis and any other medications. The Medical Kit should be stored out of direct sunlight and be easily accessible in the event of an emergency. It must NOT be kept in a locked cupboard or locked room.
  • Ensure that staff are trained in food and insect allergy management, recognition of an allergic reaction and treatment in an anaphylaxis emergency.
  • Maintain adequate supervision of children during recess and lunch (and at other times where food is eaten).
  • Ensure any Emergency Response Plan includes management information specific to various locations eg. in art block, on main playground, on oval etc.
  • Be inclusive of children with allergies (do not isolate them).
  • Give parents prior notice of special events involving food.
  • Consider non-food rewards for good behaviour.
  • Discourage food sharing.

  The following document is available for download:

  1. Starting School with Food Allergies
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