It can be difficult to remember to keep two epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs) with you and your child at all times. Here are some effective systems other parents have learned to count on.
Keep a checklist.
There’s a reason that pilots are trained to review a checklist before they proceed — it helps them avoid dangerous errors. Every time Lindsay of Puyallup, Wash., gets ready to leave the house with her 5-year-old daughter, who has a potentially life-threatening (severe) allergy to peanuts and cashews, they go over the things they need; epinephrine is always first on the list.
Store it by the exit.
“We purchased a blue case for ours that we hang on a hook near the door we use to leave the house, so we always see it,” says Kirsten from Monroe, Conn., whose daughter Maggie is severely allergic to peanuts.
Clip it on.
The bag you carry with you might change day to day, risking the chance that your epinephrine auto-injectors will be left behind. Putting them on a carabiner clip makes them easy to transfer from bag to bag, as well as fast to locate in an emergency. Holly of Panama City, Fla., has a young child who is severely allergic to dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, and seeds; for short neighborhood outings when she and her husband don’t want to bring the diaper bag where they always keep a small box with EAIs, they clip a separate set to his belt or her purse.
Divide and conquer.
For Wendy of Powell, Ohio, having multiple EAIs stored in various key spots helps ensure that some are always nearby. Her 10-year-old son Jackson has a severe peanut allergy, so Wendy keeps two EAIs in her purse and in his sports bag, and an emergency kit in the house and at school with the nurse.
Communicate with caregivers.
When her now 21-year-old son Tanner started school years ago, Gail of Grand Isle, Vt., knew that she couldn’t be there with him at all times. Her solution? Create a red emergency bag that contained two EAIs, to be kept in his classroom or with the school nurse. She met with her son’s teachers and the nurse, trained them on how to use an EAI, and established steps to be taken if her son had a reaction to anything peanut-containing.
Involve your child.
Someday, remembering to take EAIs everywhere will become your child’s responsibility—so whatever system you use, encourage your child to be part of the process. “We routinely ask our daughter before leaving what we need to grab before we go, and she always knows the answer is her EAIs,” Lindsay says. “She’s now even reminding us before we remind her.”