Flying with Kids with Food Allergies
Flying with kids with food allergies can seem a little scary, but with the right preparation you can fly confidently knowing your kids will be healthy and safe. My 9 and 7 year olds are allergic to peanuts, soy and eggs and here are some of my top tips for flying with allergies.
Carry On Your Medicine
You are allowed to bring medicine with you in your carry-on bag including liquid medicines over 3 oz and injectable medicines such as epinephrine. That’s right, even if you are carrying on, these items DO NOT COUNT as toiletries and do not have to meet the 3 oz limit. Specifically, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states on their website that you are “allowed to bring medically necessary liquids through security check point in any amount.” They recommend limiting the amount to what is reasonably necessary for the flight.
When flying, I pack our EpiPens and Children’s Benadryl separately from our other toiletries in a ziplock bag. Although not required, we usually carry these items in their original packages in case anyone has questions on what they are. We put this medicine bag through the screening process just like our other items and I let the screener know what it is. Also, I recommend bringing multiple EpiPens because if one doesn’t work you will need another one and you cannot call 911 for back up.
Pack the Cleaning Supplies
With many people carrying on snacks and full meals, you have no idea what has been consumed in the seat you are sitting in. I always take a look for loose peanuts in the cushions, and then I wipe down all of our trays before take-off in case of food residue. This also helps with germs!
Bring Your Own Snacks
The best way to keep kids from having an allergic reaction is to bring your own food to eat on the plane. This is not the time to try a new snack from an airport restaurant! Some things we bring are sandwiches, prepackaged lunches that don’t include a drink, cheese and crackers, homemade trail mix with safe ingredients, bags of dry cereal, and our favorite safe candies like Tootsie Rolls. You know what safe and yummy snacks work for your family and flying is the time to stick to them.
Communicate With the Airline and Your Seatmates
Several airlines have already stopped serving peanuts, one of the top allergens, on flights. Other airlines such as Delta have a policy that states if you call them 48 hours in advance to inform them of your peanut allergy they will not serve peanuts on your flight. Depending on the severity of your allergies, this communication may be a step you need to take.
Remember though, no airline can guarantee that there won’t be a certain allergen like peanuts on a flight as passengers are allowed to bring on any foods they like. Therefore, you may also need to be ready to communicate with your seat mates.
If you can arrange to have your child with allergies sit between two family members or you and a window that is the best situation. If you end up in a row with someone consuming a food your child is allergic to you may need to speak up politely.
If you communicate in advance and on the plane, and bring the right medicines, cleaning supplies, and snacks you will find flying with kids with food allergies is very manageable.
If you have any other tips please let us know!
Susan is an enthusiastic traveler and mom to a 11 year-old boy and eight year-old girl. Originally from North Carolina, Susan is a Southerner at heart, although…