Background: The optimal time for transferring responsibilities for anaphylaxis recognition and epinephrine auto-injector use from adults to children and teenagers has not yet been defined.
Objective: To determine whether pediatric allergists have age-specific goals for beginning to transfer responsibilities for anaphylaxis recognition and epinephrine auto-injector use from parents and caregivers to children and teenagers at risk of anaphylaxis in the community.
Methods: Members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology (AAP-SOAI) were surveyed about when they typically begin to transfer these responsibilities from adults to children and teenagers.
Results: Eighty-eight allergists responded to the survey, 97.7% of whom provided service to children and teenagers with food allergies. Few allergists expected to begin transferring responsibilities for anaphylaxis recognition and epinephrine auto-injector use to children younger than 9 to 11 years. By the time their patients reached age 12 to 14 years, however, most allergists expected them to be able to describe some anaphylaxis symptoms (95.4%), demonstrate how to use an epinephrine auto-injector trainer (93.1%), begin carrying self-injectable epinephrine (88.2%), recognize the need for epinephrine (88.1%), learn to self-inject epinephrine (84.5%), and be able to self-inject epinephrine (78.6%) (cumulative data). The allergists rated the following as "very important" readiness factors for beginning to transfer responsibilities: medical history, developmental level, and ability to demonstrate auto-injector technique.
Conclusion: Most pediatric allergists expected that by age 12 to 14 years, their patients should begin to share responsibilities with adults for anaphylaxis recognition and epinephrine auto-injector use; however, they individualized the timing based on assessment of patient readiness factors.
Copyright © 2012 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.