One of the most difficult things for parents to come to terms with when they split is the prospect of not maintaining a watchful eye over their children when they’re not with them. This is particularly the case if they know that their child has special medical needs, such as allergies.
Data published by the National Institutes of Health shows that only 5% of children under age five suffer from severe food allergies. Many of these can be kept at bay by children steering clear of consuming certain foods. Parents may be able to administer epinephrine using an auto-injector device in the rare event of an unexpected exposure to reverse the allergy’s effect.
What happens is a parent doesn’t take their child’s allergies seriously and lets them eat whatever they want, leaving them vulnerable to suffering a serious reaction? What can you do to protect the health and safety of your child?
What responsibilities does your co-parent have?
Your co-parent has a responsibility to take steps to ensure your child’s well-being while they’re in their care. While many things go into this, perhaps most relevant to the allergy situation is that parents must make sure that their diet doesn’t include any ingredients to which they’re allergic.
All parents have a responsibility to ensure that a child’s school, babysitter, or anyone else they may allow to take care of their child is aware of their allergies as well.
When your co-parent’s choice to ignore your child’s allergies becomes a problem
It’s one thing if your co-parent isn’t aware of your child’s allergies or accidentally neglects to tell a caregiver about them once. However, repeated failures to regulate what your child eats or tell someone else may come off as negligent. Your child’s repeated hospitalizations for allergic reactions due to your co-parent’s failure to keep an epinephrine auto-injector on hand raises concern.
The best thing that you can do is to discuss the matter with your co-parent. You may want to confirm that they’re aware of your child’s different food or environmental sensitivities. You should also verify that they’re aware of the ways to avoid adverse reactions and to treat them if they occur. Once this discussion occurs, there’s little excuse for slip-ups. If it continues to be a problem, you may have a valid reason to petition the court for a custody modification.