Whenever I’m asked by a teacher or doctor if either of my daughters have allergies, I always answer the same way: None known.
My heart goes out to families with children suffering from food allergies, as I can imagine when they walk out the safe haven of their homes each morning, their parents’ hearts beat a little faster at the frightening thought that they could inadvertently or accidentally ingest something that could sicken or kill them.
It must be especially frightening for families with very small children who have food allergies, as they’re not able to speak for themselves, and accidents happen.
Comedian Kym Whitley’s son has a peanut allergy, and according to ABC News, a babysitter once gave him peanut butter. Whitely was home at the time and her son is OK, but it could have turned out worse.
Which is why her son’s dad had “Don’t Feed Me” shirts made up — so that when he went to birthday parties or was in the care of a new babysitter, it was as plain as the shirt on his back what his allergies are.
The shirts, which are available for purchase, have a large space for the child’s name to be written on the front and the most common food allergies are listed below, with boxes to be checked off for applicable concerns. There are also four blank boxes if additional allergy triggers need to be written in.
A child with food allergies “experiences a reaction once or twice a year.” Dr. Wayne Shreffler, who is the director of the Food Allergy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told ABC News that death from food allergies are rare, and usually happen when an older child worried about social acceptance accepts food from a peer.
But the shirts are also a good idea for children in daycare and preschool who can’t speak up for themselves and articulate what they’re not supposed to eat — and especially because they probably don’t even know themselves.
And, of course, they’re good for parents who can know there’s an added safety measure in place to help further ensure their children stay safe from harm.
Photo credit: KymWhitley.org
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