Moving to France with kids with food allergies
If you’re moving to France with a child who has food allergies, you may be feeling anxious and overwhelmed. In this blog article, you will find some useful tips from communicating with schools to finding local resources and support that will facilitate your transition and help you navigate the challenges of raising a child with food allergies in a new country.Raising a child with food allergies can be a wild ride for parents. In France, there has been an alarming increase in cases of food allergy and anaphylaxis in ever-younger children. Parents may experience episodes of allergic reactions as life-threatening for their child, thereby creating a family life that's always on high alert.
One of the challenges faced by parents is communicating with schools and educating teachers about their child's food allergies. It's important for parents to work closely with the school to create an allergy management plan that includes information on how to recognize and respond to an allergic reaction.
In France, Individual Healthcare Plans (IHP) for food allergies aim to: identify children at risk of allergic reactions; reduce the risk of allergen exposure; provide emergency kits containing adrenaline auto-injectors (AAI) if needed with emergency action plans and instructions on when and how to use AAI. IHPs were introduced into law in 2003 and were updated in 2021. The number of IHPs for allergies has been increasing for the past 10 years (50,000 IHPs for allergies/year).
If you're moving to France with a child who has food allergies, one of the first steps you should take is to contact your child's new school to discuss their allergy management plan. You should also familiarize yourself with local resources and support groups for parents of children with food allergies.
Here are some tips for parents of children with food allergies in France:
- Work closely with your child's school to create an allergy management plan.
- Educate teachers and school staff on how to recognize and respond to an allergic reaction.
- Provide the school with any necessary medication, such as an epinephrine auto-injector, and make sure it is easily accessible.
- Consider providing the school with safe snacks for your child to have on hand in case of accidental exposure to allergens.
- Familiarize yourself with local resources and support groups for parents of children with food allergies.
Here are some useful websites to consult before or after moving to France:
- The French Ministry of Education website (https://www.education.gouv.fr/) provides information on the French education system and how to enroll your child in school.
- The French National Association for the Prevention of Allergies (https://www.afpral.fr/) provides information and resources for individuals and families affected by allergies.
- The French Social Security website (https://www.ameli.fr/) provides information on healthcare coverage in France.
To find support as a parent of a child with food allergies in France, you can reach out to local support groups or organizations such as the French National Association for the Prevention of Allergies. You can also speak with your child's healthcare provider or school for additional resources and support.
It is important for parents to have support and a seamless encounter with health professionals, with multidisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing to develop the parents' self-efficacy. Health professionals must provide information and support parents on their path through the health-care system in having a child with a food allergy.
We finally recommend you to check a podcast about the food scene in France and how you can deal with food allergies: Dealing with food allergies in France
We hope this information helps you navigate the wild ride of parenting a child with food allergies!