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12 Tips for Traveling With Kids With Food Allergies

Wish you could leave your allergies at home when you go on vacation? Follow these tips for smart traveling for you and your loved ones.

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Photo: Keith Levit / Design Pics / Getty Images

Take (Some) of the Fear Away

When you have a child with severe food allergies, you always walk a fine line. One side of you wants them to flourish, experience new things and try exotic foods, while the other side of you wants to keep them safely inside your peanut-free home all day. Whether it's milk, soy or sesame, at some point we have to let our kids out the door. This can be scary with the threats of unfamiliar kitchens. No worries — we've got 10 ideas for making traveling with food allergies a little less stressful.

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Always Be Prepared

The most important thing you can do is make sure you always have your epinephrine auto-injectors close at hand. No matter which brand you prefer, always have two with you. Yes, two. Having an over-the-counter allergy medicine on hand is also not a bad idea. As a parent of a child with food allergies, you know what your doctor has told you to do in case of an emergency and what the action plan is. Don't board the plane, hike into the canyon or ride off into the sunset without your EpiPen or Auvi-Q.

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Photo: Jennifer Perkins

Make Arrangements

If you're taking a plane, call ahead and ask that they not serve nuts, for example, during your flight. Remind the flight staff of your child's allergies once you check in, and they will often make an announcement asking passengers to also refrain from eating food with nuts while on the flight. The same principle could be applied to other travel options. I've even called ahead when taking a vintage steam train to ask about not serving peanuts after a previous ride where I spotted a precarious toddler wobbling around the aisles merrily spilling nutty trail mix behind her through the train cars.

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Photo: Jennifer Perkins

Inform (+ Re-Inform) the Fam

If your travel plans include visiting family, remind Papa to lay off his favorite snack of dry-roasted nuts, and tell Grandma that, yes, even zero-percent milk is still milk that your child cannot have. Sometimes it's hard for people (even family members) to completely grasp the severity of food allergies. Words like cross-contamination are not in their vernacular. I remind all my well-meaning family to keep the packaging of anything they're cooking so that I can double check for myself. More than once I've caught a chocolate chip bag in the mix that was labeled "may contain peanuts."

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