Anaphylactic Allergy Friendly Parks
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It’s something you would never think about until it becomes part of your everyday life. Raising a toddler with life threatening allergies certainly has its challenges but I believe with a bit of education & community spirit, we can create safe places for our most vulnerable members of society to play freely.
My son had an anaphylactic reaction to formula when he was just 4 months old. Seeing his face fill with hives, then watching on as he was struggling to breathe and in distress with mucus pouring out of his nose & mouth is something I hope to never have to go through again. Thankfully he was well taken care of & responded well to the adrenalin & steroids and in 24 hours back to his usual bubbly self! After more tests we’ve discovered he’s highly allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts & wheat.
We have an EpiPen now, which certainly helps with the anxiety as we go about our daily routine. When we’re out, I wipe his hands frequently & hover (like a hyper helicopter Mum) to make sure he doesn’t find any biscuit crumbs or similar & put it in his mouth. At almost 18 months of age, he is bursting with energy & there’s nothing like an hour or two of outdoor play to burn it off (& get a good nap in after!) but I find myself limiting the amount of times we frequent the local park as it feels like the risk is just too high.. even with the wiping & the EpiPen, it’s terrifying & upsetting thinking about how a small crumb can bring on such a severe reaction. I’d like to think that our community is caring enough to help out a Mama & her allergy kid. And I don’t think it’d take much...
My plea & suggestion would be to have the local councils put together an iniative to have allocated eating areas in parks. I’d love to never see another toddler climbing the same equipment as my son with a peanut butter sandwich in their hand. I’d love to sit & chat with the other Mums & feel like my son is safe while playing (in a gated park of course!). I’d love there to be at least ONE completely food free toddler playground in every area of Sydney and then it’d be amazing if other cities & states caught on as well. I’d love there to be more education on the top 8 allergens & what foods they’re in, so people can make more educated, considerate choices when in a shared environment. Even if we just started with signs to remind parents to wash their kids hands after eating, that’d be a step in the right direction. I know I’m asking for a lot. And I don’t expect it everywhere we go, I’d just love SOME parks to feel safe for us rather than a minefield of muffin crumbs.
If this hits home for you & you want to help create a caring, inclusive community for our vulnerable young ones please sign this petition & help me get the ball rolling...
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