by Kelley Lindberg
Depending on the statistics you read, food allergies affect anywhere
between 1 in 12 and 1 in 25 kids these days. They have, unfortunately, become
so common that almost every classroom, soccer team, scout troop, or summer camp
has at least one kid with an allergy.
Because of the tireless work of folks like the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, Kids With Food Allergies, the Utah Food Allergy Network,
and the dozens of organizations and hundreds of bloggers that have surfaced
over the last decade, more people are aware of food allergies than ever before
And here is a sign that not only is awareness rising, but
there is a genuine effort to reach out to adults and children with food
allergies. American Girl®, the maker of those wildly popular dolls, has just
come out with the ultimate accessory set for any food-allergic girl:
The American Girl® Allergy-Free Lunch!
Now your American Girl® doll can indulge in a make-believe
lunch that is allergy free. The set contains plastic play-food that represents
food items that are free from the top 8 allergens. It includes a fake berry
smoothie, a container of vegetables, and two “sandwich skewers.” Even better,
it also comes with a medical bracelet for the doll, allergy stickers, and even a
fake allergic epinephrine “shot” in case the doll has a pretend reaction. The whole
thing comes in a fabric lunch bag.
I think it’s great that this has come out just in time for
back-to-school shopping. If you’ve got a food allergic first-grader who is a
little nervous about carrying her lunch to school this fall, this could be a
perfect “get ready for school” gift. Or just a “thanks for being strong” gift.
Or a “because I love you” gift. Or do you really need a reason?
But it’s not just for food-allergic girls. This lunch set might
make a great birthday present for a food-allergic girl’s best friend. She would
see that food is still yummy (and fun!) no matter what, and that it’s easy to
keep her allergic friend safe by choosing non-allergic foods. And the fake
epi-shot will remind her how serious it is, so that maybe she’ll take even more
interest in being a helpful friend.
Obviously, my teenage son is not interested in this
innovation, so I guess I won’t be buying it. But I sincerely appreciate
American Girl® for taking this progressive step in constructive, positive,
self-esteem-building play. I know a lot of girls will love this new accessory
for their favorite doll.