Many families go on vacations during the summer. They may travel by plane, train or car. As part of traveling, dining out is unavoidable. For parents with food allergic children, traveling and dining out can be a source of tremendous anxiety. Eating at unfamiliar restaurants in other cities can be extremely stressful. Parents worry that their kids may be accidentally exposed to food allergens in restaurants and suffer severe or even fatal allergic reactions.
Below are some tips for families who have members that have food allergies when traveling this summer.
1. Plan ahead and do your research.
Once you know where you are traveling to, research the restaurants in that area. Many restaurants have their menus available online. Many restaurants' menus not only list the dish, but also provide ingredient lists and allergen statements.
If you know the specific restaurant you want to dine at, look for online resources provided by food allergy groups that may provide some feedback or reviews about the restaurant.
2. Ask questions upon arriving at the restaurant.
Even if your research shows that the restaurant is food allergy friendly and that you or your child will not be accidentally exposed to the food allergen, you should still ask questions when you get there.
You want to inquire about the cooking process and if they have separate cooking utensils and pots used for dishes that contain the food allergen, such as peanuts. This is to make sure that your child's meal is not cross-contaminated.
3. Be prepared in case of an emergency.
Make sure you have EpiPens with you at all times. Before you leave, check that the EpiPens have not expired and are still good. In addition, research the nearest medical facility or hospital of where you are traveling to. This way, if you or your child suffers a severe allergic reaction, such as an anaphylactic shock, you know where to go. You don't want to waste time on trying to figure out where you need to go if there is an emergency.
4. Dine during off-peak hours.
Another helpful tip for families traveling with kids or other family members with food allergies to follow – dine during off-peak hours, i.e., dine a little earlier or later than the normal dinner time. During peak hours, restaurants can be very busy, i.e., busy servers and busy kitchen. Therefore, there is a higher chance of mistakes. For example, a busy server may not be 100% focused on what you are saying to him about your child's food allergy, and miscommunication may happen. Further, the kitchen is very busy and cross-contamination may occur when the chef is preparing the meal.
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If you or your child suffered a severe allergic reaction due to a restaurant’s negligence, you have legal rights. Call Daniel J. O’Brien, a PA and NJ personal injury lawyer to schedule a FREE consultation and discuss your legal rights. Call 877.944.8396.