New Guidelines for the Management and Safety of Food Allergic Children in the School Setting

The Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs were prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the Division of Population Health to ensure the safety and regulation of food allergy management within the school setting. This document outlines practice guidelines for school staff and administration, food allergy preparedness and prevention measures, and practical management and implementation of emergency action plans.

This document may be printed and provides a structured outline for safe practices. You may bring this document with you to your initial 504 meeting. With some modifications, the guidelines can be adapted to suit children with Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES).

The content of the Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs outlines the following:

  • Parental obligation to provide the school or early childhood education program, prior to the start of every school year, with documentation from their child's physician or nurse supporting a diagnosis of food allergy, and any risk of anaphylaxis, if applicable; identifying any food to which the child is allergic; describing, if appropriate, any prior history of anaphylaxis; listing any medication prescribed for the child for the treatment of anaphylaxis; detailing emergency treatment procedures in the event of a reaction; listing the signs and symptoms of a reaction; assessing the child's readiness for self-administration of prescription medication; and a list of substitute meals that may be offered to the child by school or early childhood education program food service personnel.
  • The creation and maintenance of an individual plan for food allergy management, in consultation with the parent, tailored to the needs of each child with a documented risk for anaphylaxis, including any procedures for the self-administration of medication by such children in instances where the children are capable of self-administering medication; and such administration is not prohibited by state law.
  • Communication strategies between individual schools or early childhood education programs and providers of emergency medical services, including appropriate instructions for emergency medical response.
  • Strategies to reduce the risk of exposure to anaphylactic causative agents in classrooms and common school or early childhood education program areas such as cafeterias.
  • The dissemination of general information on life threatening food allergies to school or early childhood education program staff, parents, and children.
  • Food allergy management training of school or early childhood education program personnel who regularly come into contact with children with life-threatening food allergies.
  • The authorization and training of school or early childhood education program personnel to administer epinephrine when the nurse is not immediately available.
  • The timely accessibility of epinephrine by school or early childhood education program personnel when the nurse is not immediately available.
  • The creation of a plan contained in each individual plan for food allergy management that addresses the appropriate response to an incident of anaphylaxis of a child while such child is engaged in extracurricular programs of a school or early childhood education program, such as non-academic outings and field trips, before- and afterschool programs or before- and after-early childhood education programs, and school- sponsored or early childhood education program-sponsored programs held on weekends.
  • Maintenance of information for each administration of epinephrine to a child at risk for anaphylaxis and prompt notification to parents.
  • Other elements determined necessary for the management of food allergies and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.

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