Emergency response plans 

You never want to have to use an emergency response plan, but if you have a child with allergies, making a plan is critical for their health and safety. Equipping any secondary caregiver with a detailed plan in case of emergency will give them the proper information to respond quickly and administer emergency aid in the case of an allergic reaction.  

Who needs a plan?

Anyone with a severe allergy should have an emergency response plan. If you’re not sure if your child’s allergy is severe, consider this: what’s the worst-case scenario if your child has an allergic reaction? If there’s a chance they could have trouble breathing or go into anaphylaxis, you need to have an emergency plan.

If their allergies would at worst cause just a sneeze, an upset stomach, or fatigue, you probably don’t need to draft an emergency plan. You can just make sure your child’s caregivers are aware of their allergies, and know where to find medication if need be.

If their allergies do put them at risk of going into anaphylaxis, anyone who is taking care of your child when you’re not around should be aware of the allergy, and the emergency response plan. Whether it’s their grandparent, or just a babysitter who’s going to be there for an hour and a half while Baby is napping, make sure that you equip all of their caregivers with the information needed to prevent, identify, and respond to allergic reactions.

When should the plan be used?

If your child has a severe allergy, your plan is probably “inject with epinephrine.” You should state clearly in your emergency plan under what circumstances this should happen. Some children might only need epinephrine if they have symptoms, and others will need it immediately after being exposed to an allergen, regardless of symptoms.

If your child only needs antihistamines with mild symptoms, write that in your plan. Outline clearly what constitutes a mild symptom and what is a severe symptom. If your child is experiencing severe symptoms, make it clear in the plan that they should be given epinephrine immediately.

What should the plan include?

Your emergency response plan should be a written document with information about your child, their allergy, their treatment, and their emergency contacts. When you’re writing up the plan for your child, include:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Allergies
  • When to use epinephrine (list of symptoms)
  • Where to find your child’s epinephrine autoinjector
  • The required dose and brand of epinephrine
  • Instructions for administering epinephrine and additional medication (always after injecting the epinephrine)
  • Emergency contacts: 911, your healthcare provider’s phone number, your phone number, the phone number of another caregiver

If you’re not sure your emergency plan is accurate, or you don’t know if it says everything it needs to, consult your child’s pediatrician about what to include.

  • “Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan.” FARE. Food Allergy Research & Education. 2016. Web.
  • “Sample Anaphylaxis Emergency Action Plan.” AAFA. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 2016. Web.
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