As the mother of a preschooler with a newly discovered sesame allergy, I am somewhat unfamiliar to the world of epi-pens and the importance of teaching a young child to speak up for themselves in a potentially lethal—but seemingly innocent—situation. It’s scary to be told your child has a serious allergy, and that the next seed to cross her lips could cause her throat to close up. While nut allergies are a known condition that can trigger anaphylaxis with tongue swelling and the inability to breathe, sesame allergies are a somewhat new, albeit growing phenomenon. As a parent, it’s my job to keep my children safe, and to make sure that no matter where my daughter is or whose care she is in, she will not be in danger.

allermates.wristbandMy daughter’s pediatrician recently stressed to me the importance of teaching Lena to always ask whether there is sesame in any food she is given, and to always ask a parent or teacher if it’s okay for her to eat. However, she is 4 years old, and new to this allergy herself. She does not understand the potential consequences of eating sesame, and it is extremely difficult for her to remember and be held responsible for something so serious.

allermates.medcaseThis is why I was so enthusiastic when I was contacted by AllerMates, and introduced to the company’s expanding line of products for kids with food allergies. The company launched in spring of 2012 with wristbands, dog tags, and insulated lunch bags, and has expanded its offerings to include its Health Alert Charms, Reusable Snack Bags, Allergy Medicine Cases, allermates.lunchbagAsthma Inhaler Cases, and more. I can now send Lena to school and on play dates more confidently (though I always warn the adult in charge beforehand!). The Allergy Alert Wristband has an identification strip that can be permanently customized with a child’s contact info and allergy info (Lena is allergic to sesame and carries an epi pen, for example).

Until she is older and more confident in speaking up for herself (and when I’m confident she will remember to ask if it’s okay before eating), AllerMates’ line gives me a cute way to remind caregivers about her allergy and make it easier for her to carry her inhaler and epi pen wherever she goes.

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Check back regularly for more commentaries from Jackie. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!