"Risk." It's a funny concept. Economists, engineers, insurance companies and even fraterinities all study "risk." But parents do more than study risk, they live it.
There's risk in every day life -- a car could crash into you on your way to work or your house could explode from an undetected gas leak.
Life means risk. but if we get caught up in analyzing all that could go wrong, we lose sight of all that life has to offer and miss out on all that can go right.
As parents of allergic kids, we too get caught up in the risk associated of living with food allergies. Sometimes we let our concept of risk control our lives, rather than realizing it is our job to control the risk. We must engage in accurate risk assessment.
Two ways to do this is to practice strict avoidance of food allergens, while committing yourself to 100 % access to emergency medicine. Studies show that the reality of a fatal reaction associated with food allergies is very, very small.
On the surface level, controlling your child's ingestion of food seems very manageable. But this is a myth. The omnipresence of food, the existence of cross-contamination and the growing independednce of your child make this a challenging feat.
But this isn't that different from parents all over the world who are not living with food allergies. Dangers lurk in every corner -- from strings on hooded sweatshirts to the playground at the school. We cannot remove all risk from life or our child would not be living.
Instead of fruitlessly trying to control our children's lives --making both parent and child miserable -- we must focus on that which we can control.
What we can control is educating others about the seriousness of food allergies, teaching our children about how to keep themselves safe, and ensuring our child has ready access to life-saving medicine in the form of epinephrine.