Practice restaurant skills at home. It’s never too early to start. Use real menus to role-play with your child. Teach proper questioning and instruct about safe ingredients and problematic dishes. Make it comfortable and fun.
Research restaurants in advance. Look over menus and allergy information online. Pick up a menu beforehand. Call ahead during off-peak hours.
Carry emergency medicine—always, always! Check the dates to make certain the medication has not expired.
Keep safe, nutritious snacks in your car or purse, in case a meal must be returned to the kitchen and there’s an unexpected wait. This is particlarly important for young children.
Model assertive communication. Speak clearly and confidently. Talk with the manager or chef. Ask questions until you’re satisfied. Bring along dining cards listing food sensitivities.
Involve children in explaining their allergies and sensitivities to staff. As kids grow older, let them take over the responsibility of questioning and ordering.
Double-check when the meal arrives. Is this the dish you ordered? Is it safe?
Uncomfortable? If you sense the establishment doesn’t understand your concerns and won’t prepare the order safely, do not hesitate to leave.