Allergies and intolerances, especially to food and ingredients, are becoming more apparent in society; it may be that the same level of allergies have always been prevalent, it is just that we are more understanding and able to deal with these food issues.
As parents, we are conscious of what our children eat but, when it comes to hosting a children’s party, it is important that food intolerances and allergies are taken into account. Today there are far more options for finding party supplies for any occasion, including allergy-friendly kid’s parties!
On one hand, you want to supply everything possible to make the party go with a swing but many hosts have concerns when it comes to allergies; this is understandable. It pays to equip yourself with the right knowledge such as does the child have an epi-pen, how to use it and what it is they are allergic too. Knowing this means that certain foods are not even on the table.
Here are 6 tips to throw a great safe party for ALL your guests…
- Know your guests before hand
Unfortunately, what can happen is that little Joe is dropped off by his guardian and you are given a plastic bag with an epi-pen in. You are told as they wave goodbye, that it is a ‘minor’ allergy to nuts and that it doesn’t normally bother him etc. etc. etc.
You are thrown in to a mild state of panic, with no idea if the food has nuts in or not and, worst still, you have no idea how to use the epi-pen should little Joe accidentally consume a nut.
It pays to ask the question on the invite and, if you do get a response from a parents regarding a food allergy, get the low down on it and act accordingly.
- It is not just your responsibility
Some children will have a plethora of allergies and when they are young, this is incredibly difficult to manage. This is not your responsibility alone and thus, if you feel it necessary, you can always ask the parent to stay and help supervise the food.
In most cases, older kids are used to dealing with and being vigilant about what they eat and thus, it is not always such a big issue but if you are not sure, be safe and ask the parent for help.
- Preparation is key but…
… you have planned everything to the last morsel on the plate and this is a great way to ensure that your allergy-free party goes with a bang, but the right kind of bang.
Parents on children with allergies will know and appreciate the difficulties of catering for a child that has a serious allergy or intolerance to certain kinds of ingredients. Some food stuffs are easy to see but some are ingredients in food, and not so obvious.
It can be difficult and nerve-wracking; if you are nervous, anxious or unsure talk to the child’s parents – they will understand and will work with you to keep their children safe. Ask them how to use the epi-pen and then what happens when this has been administered? Do you automatically call the paramedics, or ring them?
- Medications are important
Not all children or people with allergies and intolerances will carry epi-pens, the needle that on forceful contact with the skin administers a dose of adrenalin. Some people and children will have different medications thus it pays to know what they take, how they take it and what they need.
Always keep their medication in a place that is safe, out of reach of other curious party guests but accessible.
- The buffet table!
And finally, having bowls or crisps, nuts, snacks, biscuits etc. out for children to dig in to is great, as is serving a buffet style party food table but, this can lead to cross contamination – in other words, children can spread the ingredients from one bowl to another which, for a child with an allergy can be a real cause for concern.
Older children will probably avoid this ‘shared’ food area but, in some cases you may need to ensure that there are separate plates of food, discreetly put aside for such guests.
- Be discreet…
And finally, no one with a food allergy wants to be treated in a way that separates them from the rest. Make sure that you don’t ‘single them out as being different’. For example, if they arrive with their own food and snacks, take it off them without fanfare; when it comes time to eat, discreetly ensure they have their food, without making it supremely obvious or being over the top about it.