Many parents like me experience anxiety in sending our children to a new teacher or school. For families like mine, a return to school brings added stress: My child has a life-threatening allergy.
My 6-year-old son is allergic to peanuts. As he entered first grade a few weeks ago, I was filled with questions: Will the teachers and cafeteria workers be able to accommodate his needs? What happens if there is a substitute teacher or a birthday party? Will he impulsively try a treat without permission, and forget all he has been taught since he was a toddler?
It’s a tall order for a little one to take on that responsibility. Having to start a new school and riding a bus for the first time is stressful enough. But he has the added burden of carrying an EpiPen with him and having to remember and follow his many rules of keeping safe.
Many parents have trained school staff and others about food allergies. But Ohio, like many other states, needs a law that would require schools to stock epinephrine medication for anyone who experiences a life-threatening allergic reaction or who doesn’t have an EpiPen.
This is critical not only for youths such as my son, but also for other children who have undiagnosed allergies to certain foods or insects.
Epinephrine medication is an inexpensive tool that saves lives. It’s time for Ohio to improve protection for the growing number of schoolchildren who suffer with allergies.