After finding out my son, Benjamin, had a nut allergy, I experienced a mix of emotions that I’m sure many parents of kids with food allergies have felt. I knew nothing about how to protect kids with food allergies when I first started, which is probably how a lot of parents feel. I quickly realized it was my responsibility to educate my family and most importantly, my son, so that we could come together and keep Benjamin safe.
Over the years, I’ve become much more knowledgeable, but unfortunately, a lot of my knowledge has come from my own experience with my son and the mistakes I’ve made along the way. My son has experienced anaphylaxis and afterwards, I had to fight the feeling of guilt for not asking the waitress if that slice of pie had nuts in it. (Side note: who knew key lime pie had nuts?!) When he was younger, he accidentally shot epinephrine into his thumb and HOWLED in agony. A painful, hard lesson learned: thoroughly train kids with food allergies on how to use auto-injectors! But, every experience is a learning opportunity. After his trip to the emergency room, Benjamin realized it was his responsibility to ask about foods and carry his allergy medicines, too. I feel a responsibility to share these lessons learned the hard way with other parents in similar situations.
In the beginning, I found teaching Benjamin about his nut allergies to be much more difficult than I expected. I was confused as to why there was nothing in the marketplace that addressed kids with these health concerns in a fun and creative way, and so, AllerMates was born. All of our medical alert bracelets, dog tags, charms, medicine cases and more are designed to be kid-friendly so kids with food allergies and other health concerns actually like wearing them.
A mother of a child who developed juvenile diabetes at an early age and was tirelessly dedicated to raising awareness for her child’s condition once said to me, “sometimes it’s our children who lead us“. This resonated with me so deeply because I realized that it was so true for myself, so I thank my son for giving me a cause. I’m so thankful that my son’s allergy has given me the opportunity to connect with so many other parents and caretakers going through the same experience.
To all the parents who have recently found out their child has a food allergy, remember you are not alone! Unfortunately, food allergies and food intolerances are a growing concern. The best advice I can give you is to not be afraid of asking your child’s doctor questions until you have a better understanding of the situation. We aim to keep the information we provide at AllerMates clear and easy to understand so parents can come to us if they feel like their doctor is speaking a different language. Our website is updated frequently with food allergy and kids’ health news so parents can always stay in the know.
If you’d like to join the AllerMates community of parents, caretakers, educators and physicians dedicated to spreading awareness about kids with food allergies, sign up to receive our AllerMates newsletter. Every month, we’ll send the latest news, product updates and allergy-friendly product reviews directly to your inbox!
All the best,