Planning Safe Sleepovers When Your Child Has Food Allergies

Food allergies can be incredibly disruptive to daily life, especially for a child who just wants to have fun with other kids. The good news is that with practice and precautions, it’s still possible for a child with food allergies to enjoy him- or herself while socializing. Assuming that the child is mature enough, it’s always a good idea to encourage him or her to be a proactive patient. At each visit to the allergy doctor’s office, ask your child if he or she has any questions or concerns about upcoming events, like sleepovers.


Introduce your child to sleepovers gradually.

Remember that your child might be nearly as nervous about staying safe during sleepovers as you are. Build up his or her confidence level by starting slowly. Plan to have a sleepover at a trusted relative’s house first. Later, your child can plan to have a sleepover at a friend’s house. It may be best to start with sleepovers in which your child is the only invited guest. Sleepover parties can be more difficult to manage.


Meet the other child’s parents.

If you’ve never met the child’s parents before, then it might be a good idea to have an in-person talk, rather than a phone call. This allows you to get a good sense of how responsible the friend’s parents are likely to be regarding your child’s food allergies. You can also reiterate the critical importance of preventing cross-contamination with the allergen. Don’t be shy about discussing the potential consequences of allergen exposure. You should also demonstrate how the epinephrine auto-injector works.


Send your child to the sleepover with plenty of supplies.

Find out in advance which meals will be served. If possible, feed your child dinner before sending him or her off to the sleepover. Send your child to the party with plenty of safe snacks (pack extra for your child to share), dinner if needed, and safe breakfast foods. Provide your child with a reusable water bottle labeled with his or her name, and remind your child not to share cups, water bottles, or eating utensils with anyone else. And don’t forget to pack your child’s allergy medications!


For all of life’s events, you can count on the medical and lifestyle guidance you’ll find at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM. These board-certified allergists/immunologists work one-on-one with patients of all ages to ensure they fully understand their treatment plans. To request an appointment with one of the allergy specialists in Blue Bell, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, Doylestown, King of Prussia, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania, request an appointment online at or call 1-800-86COUGH.