Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act

On November 14, US Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced a new bill that they plan to introduce in the Senate this week: The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act.
Inspired by an Illinois law that was passed earlier this year, the bill will encourage all states to improve school access to life-saving epinephrine auto-injectors.

Please take a moment to contact your state representatives and ask them to support this bill.

Contact Max Baucus (D-MT)

Contact Jon Tester (D-MT)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We Survived Halloween with Gummy Bears

We dressed up as Japanese samurais.
We did not go out, but we welcomed kids to our home.
We did not touch the candy, but we handed it out to others who could enjoy it.
We were not the Halloween Grinches after all (although mom was very inclined to be one, just so she could keep us out of trouble).
We stayed safe and had fun.
At the end of the evening, we had our own treat:  a couple of these yummy Gummy Bears. And these. And these.
And we were just fine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What Is BHT and Why Should You Care?

Today, in honor of Food Day, I took a hard look at all the things in my pantry that come in a box. Crackers. Kids' cereal. Popcorn. Cookies. Pasta. I've read these labels so many times, I should know them by heart already. Allergy-wise, they are safe. Nutritionally, some are better than others, I'll admit. There is one thing I see on the nutritional label that I don't know much about, though. It is called BHT and it is added to packages "to preserve freshness". Since I have no idea what BHT is, I turn to the internet to find out.

Here is what Wikipedia says: Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), also known as butylhydroxytoluene, is a lipophilic (fat-soluble) organic compound that is primarily used as an antioxidant food additive (E number E321) as well as an antioxidant additive in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, jet fuelsrubberpetroleum products, electrical transformer oil,[2] and embalming fluid.

Hmmm....an additive in embalming fluid? And in jet fuel? In a cereal box???

I'd like to know more, so after some research I find out that BHT (like its close relative BHA) is commonly used in the food industry as an anti-oxidant, preventing fats from becoming rancid and preserving food color, odor and taste. Not only it is added to packaging, but it can also be mixed directly in cereals, meats, butter, chewing gum, baked goods, shortening, dehydrated potatoes (chips), and even beer.

As unappealing as it already sounds, it begs the question: how safe is it? Does it cause allergic reactions? Well, yes, it can. Both BHA and BHT are suspected of causing urticaria and angioedema, although this is a rare occurrence, according to AAFA. Nevertheless, the Center for Science in the Public Interest does recommend to avoid BHT when possible, due to potentially causing cancer in animals. BHA, on the other hand, is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" by the US Department of Health and Human Services and therefore should be avoided.

I guess I'll toss the Chex and the Wheat Thins and go on yet another wild goose chase at the supermarket, trying to find nut-free, soy-free, egg-free, sesame and sunflower seed-free, and now BHT-free cereal and crackers. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Food Allergy Study

Amy Hahn, a graduate student at UMBC, is conducting a research study on food allergy knowledge. Mothers of children (0-18) are invited to participate.

"The measure we are developing", Hahn says,  "will be among the first of its kind.  The results of this study will help pediatricians and allergists determine how best to supplement the information that parents are typically given when receiving a food allergy diagnosis. The development of this food allergy knowledge test will also allow parents to examine their own knowledge and determine whether they would like additional information regarding diagnosis, treatment, responses to allergen exposure, or other aspects of managing their child’s food allergies."

If you are interested and would like to participate, read more about it here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Groupon Ridicules Kids With Food Allergies

Another unbelievable story of ignorance and callousness in regard to food allergies.
Groupon, a deal-of-the-day website that started in Chicago and went on to expand in hundreds of location worldwide, just isolated itself from the food allergy community by allowing this ridiculous post on their website:

The Groupon Kidz Quorner: Your Ultimate Tree House

Hey, kids who have unlocked the awesome secret of reading! Here's your guide to building the ultimate tree house, tree fort, or awkward tree duplex you share with your former best friend who changed during summer camp. Let's get started!
  • Find a tree in the backyard that can support your ambitious plans and the growth spurt your lying mother insists is coming "any day now."
  • A well-armed tree fort needs plenty of ammunition. Fill your tin buckets with as many collected chestnuts, pine cones, dog bones, unseasonal snowballs, and dad tools as you can find lying around.
  • A good fort layout is still available in the 1952 Dennis The Menace story arc entitled A Few Good Menace, where noted terrible boy Dennis the Menace starts a counterfeit money ring.
  • Ditch that outdated "No girls allowed" sign in favor of the modern "No peanut allergies allowed."
  • Why go up into a tree, when you could go down into a well and become a TV star?!

Speechless? So am I.
I was first made aware of its existence yesterday via Jodie Hommer, founder and leader of Spokane Food Allergy and Support Network. She contacted Groupon and requested that the offensive post be taken down. Groupon replied a few hours later, apologizing and claiming that the feature has been changed. I followed this link and apparently the post is still up. What do YOU think of it? 

Update: the post is still up and some of the comments on it are downright insulting. Apparently, parents of kids with peanut allergies don't have much of a sense of humor?!?! We're "taking it all wrong"? If only it were that simple.

Monday, October 3, 2011

On Chicken Allergy and IgE Testing

A couple of months ago our son had his annual food allergy check-up. After having four vials of blood drawn to test again for dozens of foods, we were excited to find out that he was outgrowing his chicken and turkey allergy. Turkey used to be a class 2 allergen - it came back a class 0. Chicken, initially a class 3 (it had sent us to the ER two years ago), was now a class 1. Well, class 1 is equivocal but he tolerates all the other allergens included in this class. Which made us hopeful that he could try chicken again. Very important to us since he eats very little meat (pork and beef), he is highly allergic to nuts, seeds, and legumes, and we always struggle to feed him an adequate amount of protein.

With these encouraging test results in mind, about a month ago we tried turkey. After just one bite of turkey breast, a rash appeared around his mouth and he said his tongue was "spicy". We immediately administered a dose of Benadryl and the rash subsided in 20-30 minutes. Fortunately, he did not develop any other symptoms, but the experience left us wondering about the accuracy of the test results.

Last night, we thought we'd try chicken. Same thing happened. One bite of chicken breast, immediate rash around the mouth, and he complained of burning tongue and stomach pain. We gave him Benadryl again, wondering if this would be the beginning of anaphylaxis. I was already going through the food allergy action plan in my head, dreading the fact that we might have to give him his first epinephrine shot ever. To our great relief, he responded very well to Benadryl and all symptoms disappeared in about half an hour.

These scary episodes reminded us that we can't rely on blood test results only, and that clinical symptoms trump everything when it comes to food allergies. If you haven't read it yet, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: Summary for Patients, Families, and Cargivers (you can download an electronic version here or get a hard copy at our support group meeting, this Saturday - see sidebar for details).

Have you or your child had a similar experience? I would love to hear about how you dealt with the situation, either here in the comments section or at our group meeting. Please keep in mind that if you are familiar with food allergies and have had plenty of experience, you could greatly help someone else who is just starting down this path. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Guess Who?

This is not meant as a promotional post. This is just a story of a great company responding with love and care to a mom's request.

A while back I had contacted the CMO of this company on Twitter, inquiring about the availability of a sample package. We had not tried their products before except for one, and that was back when my son was 18 months and allergic to everything under the sun. So after hearing people in our support group talk about the many great products this company had to offer, I thought it was time for us to try them again. I just did not want to spend a lot of money on cookies and cereal and chocolate, only to see my son reject them all. My hope was to get samples and see what he liked best, and then buy whatever he chose.

So I wrote to the CMO. And I was amazed to see that he replied in less than 24 hours, telling me to contact one of their marketing assistants with my request. Which I did. And what do you think they did in response? They sent me two big shipping boxes filled with full-size boxes of vanilla graham cookies, double chocolate cookies, snickerdoodle cookies, lemon cookies, the most delicious chocolate crunch granola ever,  puffed crunchy flax cereal, chewy snack bars, and semi-sweet chocolate chunks. All free of the top eight allergens. All delicious.

My son loved them all. So did my non-allergic daughter. And so did I.

If you already buy their products on a regular basis, I'm sure you already know who I'm talking about. For those of you who don't, here is the answer to this riddle.

Thank you, Joel and Alina!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trick-Or-Treat: It Can Be Sweet!

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Kimberly, The Food Allergy Mom

As the fall holidays approach, parents of children with food allergies collectively cringe at the food-related challenges they bring.  After all, both Halloween and Thanksgiving are completely centered around food!
Still, if you’ve visited my blog, The Food Allergy Mom, you know I don’t believe in letting food allergies define our kids.  Kids deserve to be kids…no matter what.

Halloween is a little more than a month away and it’s time to start thinking about how you can safely capture the magical fun and food of the holiday. 

Before I break down the different ways to safely celebrate the day, there is one cardinal rule to remember.  Foods and candy that are normally considered “safe foods” are not necessarily safe at Halloween. 
Many popular candies and treats can have altered ingredients or are processed on equipment that also processes a known allergen.  Many of these changes are due to special packaging and festive appearances of brand name products. Never let your child consume food or candy that is individually packaged unless you checked the ingredients and warning labels of the larger bag it came in.  Ingredients and warnings are required to be labeled on the exterior of the product, but not necessarily on its individual components.

Now that you know what not to do, how can you safely celebrate Halloween with the family?  Here are few frightfully delightful ideas:

The Candy Swap:  Older children or children with very mild food allergies (not requiring epinephrine), may be able to safely trick-or-treat around the neighborhood if the ground rules are laid out beforehand.  The most important rule is for kiddos not put anything in their mouths!  Accompany your child from house to house allowing them to collect candy with friends.  When done trick or treating for the night, let your child swap out the candy they collected for safe candy (candy you personally bought and approved) or a non-food prize.

Selective Trick- or-Treating:  If you have family or other food allergy friends in the area, take your child to trick-or-treat only at those “safe” houses.  This may require driving around the neighborhood rather than walking but is still just as much fun when in costume!  Make sure the treats served are truly safe by providing friends with an approved list of treats ahead of time and then double-checking the ingredients again before your child consumes them.

Pumpkin Party:  Halloween parties are usually a high-risk zone for those with food allergies and require extra care.  Even if you are the host or hostess for the party and are providing allergy-friendly food for friends, a well-meaning guest usually shows with a special dish they think is allergy-free. 
If you do decide to host a Halloween party, consider making it a non-food party or make sure your children know to eat only the food you personally place on their plates.  If you are attending a Halloween party, bring an allergy-friendly dish.  It is a great idea to bring extras of the allergy-friendly dish in your purse to provide your child with so there is no chance for cross contamination or look-alike mix-ups.

Falling For Fall:  Another option is to avoid food all together by enjoying the simple pleasures Halloween has to offer.  Load the family in the car and head out to a local pumpkin patch.  Enjoy the fall weather and take your time picking out the perfect pumpkin before enjoying a picnic.  Some pumpkin patches even host a festival on the weekends with lots of food-free activities such as carnival games, hay rides, and costume contests.
Whatever you do this Halloween, make it a safe and boo-tiful experience for you and your family!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Going to Preschool with Food Allergies

And here we go... it is time to give preschool a try. A very exciting time for my child, and a very scary one for me. Letting go, trusting others with his care, trusting him to remember at least some of the things I've been repeating incessantly for the last month. Wash your hands before you eat. Don't drink from the water fountain. Don't share food. Eat only what I send in your backpack. Etc. etc. He is 4! How much can I really rely on him to remember all that?

Luckily, his teacher is wonderful. We met a while back before school started and we talked extensively about making his school experience safe and enjoyable. She listened carefully and understood my concerns, taking them all very seriously. And we both came up with this plan for my son:

  1. The classroom will be a nut-free area
  2. There will be an EpiPen in his backpack and one in the classroom. 
  3. She will be the one administering the epinephrine in case of emergency (the school is small and has no nurse on campus). 
  4. He will only eat safe snacks that I will provide and drink only water from his own cup. 
  5. He will wash hands with soap and water, and if that's not possible, he will use baby wipes to clean his hands. No hand sanitizer, as it has been shown that it does not remove peanut residue completely.
  6. I will provide a safe treat and volunteer at birthday parties as much as I can, to minimize accidental exposure to cupcakes and/or cookies.
  7. The teacher will have a copy of his food allergy action plan in the classroom.
With all these steps in place, the first week went without a glitch. We are now into the second one, he seems to love it so far and I am slowly starting to relax.

How about you? What steps have you taken to make school safe for your child? Do you have any tips you could share?

For older kids and high school students, you might find this video useful. It is about a California teenager who developed a peanut allergy at age 15 and about the steps her school put in place to ensure her safety.

Also great to share with your school is this web-based training course created by a team of food allergy experts in cooperation with FAAN and FAI. It is comprehensive, yet easy to understand, and provides examples of real life situations and how to deal with them. It is designed for educators, but anyone can benefit from watching it. Highly recommended.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Community Education Classes for Families Dealing with Food Allergies

In case you missed this announcement on our Facebook page, here it is again: Billings Adult Education is offering a series of community education classes for families that are new to food allergies. If you need some help in learning how to shop, cook, eat out, and even party with food allergies, here is your chance.
The first class teaches "How to Shop If You Have Food Allergies & Special Diets" and it is scheduled for Tuesday, September 20, at 5:30PM. The instructors are Heather Mattson and Kristin Thompson. Classes will be held at the Lincoln Center.
For more details, click here, call 406-281-5010 or contact Heather Mattson.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The EpiPen Holder Your Child Will Love to Carry

"Mom, we got a package! Can I open it? What's in it?"

As I walk to the door to pick up the package, he follows me closely, his little steps hurried and his big brown eyes curious and glimmering with excitement.

We open the package and he sticks his little hand in the box, pulling out a brown, fuzzy thing that looks like a stuffed animal.

"Mom, I love this! This is great! Can I keep it? Can I feel the texture inside?"

Love at first sight.

The fuzzy thing is actually a little monkey-shaped EpiPen® holder made by Activeaide, an Australian manufacturer of allergy and asthma-related products.

The zipped pouch is big enough to hold one or two epinephrine auto-injectors and a few pre-filled Benadryl spoons. You can even include a copy of your child's food allergy action plan and instructions for epinephrine administration.

Fully insulated, the pouch has a multi-layered construction to keep the medication at constant temperature. The big red cross on the back makes it easily identifiable as a medical product. Kids won't see it as such though. For them, it is a cute furry friend they can hook on to their backpack and take with them wherever they go.

For older kids, teens, and adults, Activeaide offers various types of holders that can be kept in a purse or a backpack, hooked to the belt, or, for the active and sporty types, strapped to the arm/leg. I prefer the Twin auto-injector holder. It is easy to find in my big, cluttered purse and it is the perfect size for an EpiPen and a couple of  pre-measured Benadryl spoons.

The company offers several other allergy and asthma products, as well as anaphylaxis and asthma books for children.

Activeaide ships worldwide, including the US and Canada. They offer a flat shipping rate and 4-7 business days delivery.

Disclosure: I received free Activeaide merchandise for review but no monetary compensation to write this article. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Namaste Foods Contest

Are you a good baker? I am not, and the fact that our family has to avoid a long list of allergens makes it even more difficult. Nevertheless, I would like my children to be able to experience the wonderful world of cookies once in a while. Enter Namaste Foods, a company based in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. They offer a variety of mixes for breads, cookies, pancakes, cakes, and even frosting! Although we have not tried them all, the ones we have tried turned out delicious even when using egg replacements.

It is worth noting that Namaste Foods is now located in a new facility that is free of the top 8 allergens. In addition to the top eight (dairy, egg, wheat/gluten, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish) the facility is also free of corn and potato.

Namaste Foods is currently hosting a recipe contest for kids. There are two categories: 10 and under, and 11-16 years-old. If you think your kids would be interested in participating, go here to enter.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and I have not received any incentive to write it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Food Allergy Presentation

How many of you are familiar with slideshare? It is like a YouTube for presentations, documents, and professional videos. There is a bounty of slides to browse and share, on all sorts of topics, including food allergies.
This particular one I share below comes from UC Davis and it presents an overview of food allergies, including statistical data, immune mechanisms involved in the allergic response, as well as diagnosis and management. I hope you find it interesting and valuable.

Food Allergy Seminar.Lecture.Class
Source: Susanne S. Teuber M.D., UC Davis

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lending Library

Due to a generous FAAN grant, we now have a lending library for our support group.
Here are the titles that are available:
  • Preparing for Camp and Overnight School Trips 
  • Letting Go: Teaching Children Responsibility 
  • "Food Allergies for Dummies" by Dr. Robert Wood 
  • Nutrition Guide to Food Allergies 
  • Childcare & Preschool Guide with DVD 
  • School Food Allergy Program 
  • "The BugaBees Friends With Food Allergies" by Amy Recob
  • "The Peanut-Free CafĂ©" by Gloria Koster 
If you are interested in borrowing any of these materials, please leave a comment here or on our Facebook page, specifying the item you would like to borrow. 
Please feel free to add any allergy-related materials to the library. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

FAAN Reduced Annual Membership Fee

If you have been thinking about joining FAAN, now it is a great time to do it. They are offering a 30% discount, as long as you are a support group member. That brings the membership fee down to $35/year.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Food Allergy News: Packed with practical tips for managing food allergies, allergen-free recipes, nutrition information, the latest food allergy research, and much more.
  • Food Allergy News for Kids: Loaded with games, tips, education, and fun activities for children who have food allergies.
  • Discounts on everything FAAN has to offer: events, products, books, and more
There is a new feature for members only: you can e-mail questions at member@foodallergy.org. Every month answers will be posted from a special guest in the Members Only section of the FAAN website.

Remember, you have to join a local support group in order to qualify for the discount. The offer ends June 24, 2011.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Food Allergies Workshop Wednesday, May 18

Good Earth Market will be hosting a workshop titled "Food Allergies - Are They Real?" Wednesday, May 18, at 6:00PM. The speaker is Dr. Deborah Angersbach from the Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic.

Here is the description posted on GEM's website: "Food allergies – are they real? How can you find out if you have them, and if you do, what do you do about them? In this talk, Dr. Angersbach will explain about different types of food allergies and intolerances, and what symptoms are associated with them. We will go over what testing is available, and what can be done to treat and heal the GI tract."

Although I completely disagree with the title, I have no doubt that the workshop will be interesting and informative.

Good Earth Market is located at 3024 2nd Ave N, Billings, MT 59101.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Food Allergy Awareness Week: May 8-14

FAAW 2011 has arrived. It is time to accelerate our efforts and spread the word about food allergies. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) website offers many resources to help raise awareness: flyers, various presentations, brochures, and posters, all aimed at different age groups and segments of the population.

Remember, understanding your or your child's food allergies is essential, but it is NOT enough. Educating others is just as important. Get out there and spread the word in any way you can. Put a flyer up at work or at school, hand out brochures when you're with friends and family. The more people around you understand why and what you do, and how serious food allergies are, the safer your environment will be.

Have a great week!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Keeping Up With Recalled Products

As an allergy mom, I try to stay informed and be aware of safety recalls involving food items, cosmetics, and drugs that we might currently use or have stored in our cabinets. FDA offers several ways to stay updated. You can sign up to have recalls e-mailed to your inbox, subscribe to their RSS feed, download an app for your Android phone, add a widget to your website and/or blog, or follow them on Twitter. Whichever you choose, I'm sure you will find it useful. You will be surprised by how many recalls there are every single week, many of them involving undeclared allergens.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

No Child Left Behind....Let's Hope!

If you are familiar with the Edgewater Elementary story and are interested in supporting the allergic girl and her family, there is now a support page on Facebook and a mass e-mailing campaign is planned for this coming Monday, March 28. Please show your support by joining the group. There is not much else we can do for them right now.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The 2011 American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Annual Meeting

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Annual Meeting is currently underway in San Francisco. Food allergies are, of course, among the many topics that are being discussed. I have been following the #AAAAI hashtag, @utahallergy, and @allergistmommy (she is a must-follow, by the way) on Twitter and thought I'd share some of the things I learned.

  • Sensitization alone is not sufficient for diagnosis of food allergy. Diagnosis should be based on a combination of sensitization (blood tests) and clinical symptoms.
  • There is insufficient evidence to recommend dietary modification/restrictions from allergens during pregnancy. In high risk food allergy families, peanut may be a notable exception.
  • Peanut and sesame oils may contain trace amounts of protein (depending on how they are processed), so should be avoided.
  • Those who tolerate baked milk are more likely to outgrow their allergy, and faster than those who don't.
  • Approximately 75% of children with food allergy will tolerate heated egg or milk.
  • As moms, we do our very best for our children. Please never blame yourself for child's allergy. INCREDIBLY complicated. (I particularly appreciated this comment since I keep asking myself what I could have done better/different to prevent my child's allergies.)
There are many more on Twitter. I have mentioned only a few to give you an idea of the valuable content you can find there.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Flying Delta With A Peanut Allergy

After much consideration and many hours of research on the internet, we decided to take our allergic 3 year-old son on a trip to Hawaii. He is allergic to too many foods to list here. Suffice it to say that he is anaphylactic to peanuts.

Due to various circumstances, we had to fly Delta. Unlike United, Continental, and American Airlines (click to read about their peanut allergy policy), Delta still serves packaged peanuts on their flights. After reading their policy in regard to peanut allergy, we called two weeks in advance and notified them about our son's special needs. The agent we spoke to confirmed the guidelines, entered our son's medical info in their computers, and recommended we notify the gate agents before boarding.

Which is exactly what we did. In addition to this precaution, I boarded every one of the four planes we took a few minutes before my son boarded, so I could wipe down the seat carefully and inspect the area around it. That proved to be a good idea, because two out of four flight segments, I found peanuts on the floor.

An hour into the second flight (SLC-HNL), the flight attendants started serving refreshments. We spoke to them, too, and informed them about our son's allergy. They said they had no idea, the gate agents had not communicated the information to them. So they offered the buffer zone, per airline policy. Unfortunately, they forgot about it when they came around a second time. The flight attendant I had spoken to directly offered peanuts to the passenger seated right in front of me, who kindly reminded her about the boy with peanut allergy. The other flight attendant offered peanuts to my husband, seated next to my son. I was outraged at the time, but in retrospect I wonder if the flight attendants made mistakes because of poor communication or insufficient training in regard to peanut allergies.

On our way back, it proved to be a bit simpler since we took a red-eye out of HNL. People don't snack too much (if at all) at night. The flight attendant appreciated that we let her know, because once again the gate agent had not mentioned anything about my son. We were guaranteed the buffer zone and this time they took it seriously.

Overall, it was stressful experience but I'm happy to report that our son did OK. The last two hours of the SLC-HNL flight, he coughed incessantly. As soon as he got off the plane though, he felt fine. I don't know if he reacted to peanut dust or just poor air quality on the plane.

What I learned form this experience:

- Communicate. A lot. With the airline before the flight, with the gate agents, and with the flight attendants AS SOON as you get on the plane.

- Clean the seat and the surrounding area. It takes a few good minutes to do a thorough job, since the seats are unbelievably dirty. Any type of wet wipes will do (thanks Jenny Kales, who kindly enlightened me about this). I used Huggies baby wipes and it took 5-6 wipes each time (for my son's seat, the back of the seat in front of him, and the window area).

- Airplane seat covers are available for purchase from Plane Sheets. I have not purchased one yet, and I'm afraid they might not work on all airplanes. We flew a Boeing 767 with entertainment screens on the back of the seats. A seat sheet might partially cover the screen of the person behind you.

- Have various safe snacks. Plan on more than you think is enough. It's amazing how kids can get an appetite at the most unexpected times, especially when bored on a plane.

- If you have an airplane-approved car seat and it is not too inconvenient to bring it aboard, do it. We had ours on a previous (shorter) flight to California and the stress levels were way lower. It is familiar, it is clean, and the child can't easily unbuckle and hop off to explore the airplane floor. As big and bulky as ours is (we have a Britax Roundabout), I would bring ours again.

- Vacation in places that require shorter flights for less stress and increased security. 4 hours to California (including layover) vs. 11 hours to Hawaii (again, with layover)? As much as I love Hawaii, I'd choose California in a heartbeat. At least if you need an emergency landing in case of anaphylaxis, it can be done.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


We are a group of parents of kids with food allergies, located in Billings, Montana.
We meet every second Saturday of the month to share experience and discuss various food allergy-related topics. Our goal is to encourage, educate, and empower one another while helping our kids live life fully in spite of their food allergies.