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Allergy Awareness

Being Food Allergy Aware at Boston Children’s Museum!

The Museum is not “allergen free” or “nut free.” As a public place with 550,000 visitors per year, the Museum cannot be allergen free – but staff and visitors can work together to create a respectful space for children and families with food allergies. That’s what being food allergy aware means!

One in 13 children and one in 10 adults have food allergies. Going out to public places can be tricky for families managing food allergies. Here’s the challenge:

  • For some people, even a tiny amount of the food they’re allergic to has the potential to cause a severe, and even life-threatening, reaction.
  • A person can be allergic to any food. There are eight major foods that people are allergic to – milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. Milk is the most common for young children.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter (and tree nuts and tree nut butters) are a big concern because they are sticky and can travel easily from hands to other places. So a person eating peanut butter can spread peanut residue on their fingers to a door handle without knowing, and then that door handle is a hazard for someone with a peanut allergy. Peanuts and tree nuts also tend to cause more life-threatening allergic reactions than other foods.

Since food allergies affect so many children and families, we can all work together to help reduce the risks at the Museum (and in other public places).

  • Because they’re extra sticky, consider leaving nuts and nut butters at home.
  • Eat and drink in designated snack and lunch areas only.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you eat to help reduce the spread of allergens around the Museum.
  • Use a wipe to clean up after yourself – the Museum provides them in eating areas.
  • When playing in the exhibits, put loose parts that went in your child’s mouth into the designated bins for cleaning (to remove germs and food particles). Loose parts are things like golf balls and pretend food.
  • Let staff know if you see messes that need cleaning anywhere in the Museum.

Thank you for being Food Allergy Aware – and helping to make the Museum a safer place to play for all children and families!