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SafeMedicationUse Newsletter



Back to School: Keeping Children with Severe Allergies Safe


2021-08-17

Back-to-school time can be stressful for parents who have children with potentially life-threatening allergies. Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to help keep children safe at school.

If a life-threatening reaction (also known as anaphylaxis) occurs, the medication epinephrine can be lifesaving until emergency services arrive. It comes as an auto-injector to make it easy for children or others to give the medication quickly. The auto-injectors available in Canada are shown below.

auto-injectors EpiPen Emerade Allerject

SafeMedicationUse.ca has the following tips for parents to prepare their child with serious allergies for the return to school:

  • Talk with your child’s doctor about making an anaphylaxis emergency plan. Share it with the school to help teachers and other staff members be prepared. To learn more about emergency plans, visit: https://foodallergycanada.ca/tools-and-downloads/downloads/emergency-plan-forms/.
  • Teach your child to always carry an epinephrine auto-injector. Most children by grade 1 can store the labelled device in a small pack worn around the waist.
  • Practice how to use the auto-injector with your child when they are ready. You can get a training device (with no medication) from the company that makes the auto-injector.
  • Check that the auto-injector that does not expire until after the school year is over, if possible. Replace any that are approaching the expiry date or that are used.


Medication safety bulletins contribute to Global Patient Safety Alerts

This newsletter was developed in collaboration with Best Medicines Coalition and Patients for Patient Safety Canada.

Recommendations are shared with healthcare providers, through the ISMP Canada Safety Bulletin, so that changes can be made together.

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