When a Cub Scout has a food allergy, plan ahead so that he or she can share the same snack as the other kids in the den. Not only will this avoid a serious medical situation, but all the kids will feel included.
If you decide to serve snacks at your den meetings, make sure you ask parents about allergies. We have one boy in our den who is allergic to peanuts. While he understands that sometimes he can't have what other kids are eating and his mom ensures that he gets a treat when he gets home, I hate to exclude him.
Most dens rotate which family will bring snacks or have a sign-up sheet. It's important to note allergies on the sheet. But if it's been six months since a parent has signed up, they are not likely to remember the allergy. When the snack-bearing parent realizes that one of the Cubs can't have the snack, they are always embarrassed about it.
To solve these two problems, I talked to the parent of the child who has the allergy to find out what the safe snacks are for this child. In our particular instance, the parent told me to check the nutrition label. If the product doesn't mention that it contains peanuts or if it doesn't say that it was made in a facility where peanuts are present, then it would be fine for the child.
I always send a reminder email to the family bringing the snack. The main focus is to remind them that they are to bring snacks, but I include a blub saying, “remember that one of our members has a peanut allergy, so please plan your snack accordingly.”
If they ask me what they should bring, I pass on the information about checking the labels. If the child has allergies to multiple foods, their parents may decide to send in a snack for him. Regardless, you'll find that they are grateful that you considered their son's situation!
Do you have snacks at your den meetings? How do you handle allergies?
Yours in Scouting,
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