For most kids, Valentine’s Day at school can be fun.
It’s a time to exchange valentines, celebrate with your classmates and maybe enjoy a snack. And lately, due to the threat of peanut allergies, those snacks have tended to be nut-free.
And for good reason: Roughly eight percent of school-age kids have a peanut allergy, which manifests in most cases as itching, redness and hives. But in more serious cases, consuming nuts when you’re allergic can lead to dangerous, even fatal, allergic reactions.
All of this has led schools to keep peanuts off the menu. But that can be easier said than done when planning a party. Shopping for nut-free chocolate can be tough, as anyone who’s browsed the candy aisle can tell you.
It’s a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Here are a few steps you can take if you’re concerned about your child being exposed to allergens at this year’s school Valentine’s Day gathering.
- Find out ahead of time what kind of food and other refreshments will be served. Ask if treats will be exchanged and eaten in the classroom or if the teacher will be sending candy home.
- Make sure teachers and other staff members or volunteers at the school know how to recognize an allergic reaction and respond to one.
- Read labels! Valentine’s candy might be made in a different facility than candy of the same brand, and this presents a cross-contamination threat. If there’s no label, don’t make assumptions. It should be off limits.
- When bringing treats to school, put a label on the dish to alert people of any allergens.
- If the class will be exchanging little Valentine gifts, suggest trading non-food items like pencils, erasers, finger puppets or small toys.
- You can also suggest that the students do a craft or play a game instead of using food to mark the holiday.
- If you’re really concerned, you can always volunteer to come in and help.
- Always keep a two-pack of epinephrine with you. Make sure it hasn’t expired.
If you’d rather avoid candy altogether, you can suggest alternatives such as:
- Cuties or other citrus treats
- Apple slices with sunbutter (a sunflower seed-based peanut butter alternative)
Of course, if you think – or your child thinks – that Valentine’s Day isn’t Valentine’s Day without candy, Skip’s can help.
We carry a wide array of nut-free chocolate and other treats packaged in a dedicated nut-free facility (and patrolled by an allergen sniffing dog).
We also carry nut-free chocolate designed specifically for Valentine’s Day, including heart-shaped pops, Cupid chocolate molds and chocolate-dipped pretzels.
Shop right here on our website or visit us at one of our stores (Peddler’s Village, and Doylestown, PA), where you’ll find the best nut-free candy for this Valentine’s Day and every other holiday on the calendar.