The school year is almost upon us, and that means teachers will be preparing classrooms, students will be getting ready to go back to their friends and classes, and parents are buying supplies and worrying about their student’s safety. There are many ways in which parents, students, and school personnel can work to protect and promote safety for all students—inside the classroom and out of it.
Perhaps one of the most common problems for students in classrooms is allergies—particularly to peanuts or other foods. While individual students, especially older students, can be wary of what they are eating and avoiding their allergens, it is important for parents and school staff to be aware of them as well. It is a good idea to inform your child’s teachers of any allergies that they have, especially if those allergies can cause anaphylactic shock (a severe allergic reaction that can cause dizziness, rash, confusion, and swelling of the air passages). Students with a severe allergy should inform the school and provide medication information (such as EpiPens).
When it comes time for class parties and celebrations, it is always a good idea to approach your child’s teacher to find out if there are any food allergies in the class. Peanuts aren’t the only allergies to worry about. Some others include gluten intolerance and allergies to milk, eggs, and cocoa. Store bought materials are a good way to avoid many of these allergens, but it isn’t always a safe bet. It is always a good idea to ask your child’s teacher about possible food allergies.
Avoiding allergies isn’t the only thing that parents have to worry about when students go back to school. Having your child in school is important for them to grow and learn, but it also means that they are exposed to a myriad of different germs and viruses. To help prevent the spread of illnesses, it is a good idea to teach your child to wash their hands regularly with soap and hot water for approximately 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice). When soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizer is an okay substitute. Another good way to prevent the spread of illnesses is to avoid sending your child to school when they are sick—particularly with illnesses such as the flu, chickenpox, or other communicable diseases.
While most people think of school safety as the security of the school building, it is more than that. It is also being mindful of student allergies and the ways in which illnesses are spread in schools. Perhaps the first and best rule of this kind of school safety is this: when in doubt, ask! It may do more than keep your child from getting sick, it may just save a life.