Celebrations are an important part of the holiday season. As enjoyable as this time can be, it can also be a challenging time for families with children who have food allergies. With more than 2.6 million Canadians affected by food allergies, of which over 485,000 are children, Food Allergy Canada has some tips to help make the holidays easier and keep children safe.

For parents of children with food allergies:

Be proactive...

  • inform party hosts of allergies ahead of time
  • discuss the menu, ingredients, and safe food preparation with the host and include your child (as age appropriate)
  • offer to bring your own food/snacks
  • ask to see ingredient labels for foods being served
  • work with your family/friends to find allergy-friendly versions of holiday traditions

Teach your children...

  • to only accept food from you and to check with you if they’re uncertain about any foods
  • not to share snacks, utensils, or plates
  • proper hand washing technique for before and after eating

Always be prepared...

  • to carry up-to-date auto-injectors (such as EpiPen®) and wear MedicAlert® identification
  • to know how to identify signs/symptoms
  • of a reaction and what to do in the event of an emergency

For Family and friends hosting holiday parents:

  • Ask your guests about allergies before the event
  • Read and keep all food labels
  • Avoid products that contain or may contain relevant allergens
  • Wash your hands, dishes, and utensils thoroughly
  • Keep each dish separate and don’t mix serving utensils
  • Have alternate, safe food options available or encourage guests with allergies to bring their own food
  • Know how to recognize an allergic reaction and how you can help

For more information on staying safe over the holidays, visit foodallergycanada.ca/holidays.