Young allergy sufferer inspires new Dudley Zoo signage

Dudley Zoo and Castle is leading the way in raising awareness about life-threatening children’s food allergies with new signage around site, inspired by the young son of two of its Zoo Keepers.

Three-year-old Jasper Grove, son of the zoo’s Lower Primates Section Leader, Jodie Dryden and Carnivore Section Leader, Sam Grove, has ten of the top 14 food allergies, including milk, peanuts, egg, gluten and fish.

Eight of these require an EpiPen if triggered, some simply through accidental exposure to a discarded chocolate wrapper or a dropped nut shell, which could bring on anaphylaxis. Jasper's mum, Jodie, said:

“Jasper’s allergies impact our lives on a daily basis. Trips to the park, the zoo or soft play are so difficult for parents of allergen children as you’re constantly having to scout the ground for discarded litter or wiping down anything that could have been touched by children previously running around with ice cream or chocolate.

“It’s these simple things that visitors may not realise impacts children with allergies and before having Jasper we certainly didn’t even understand or think about it either!”

Jodie and Sam are calling on other family attractions to include similar signage to help educate the public, which ask visitors to eat away from children’s play areas, dispose of litter correctly in bins and wash hands after eating. Jodie added:

“We’re really grateful Dudley Zoo has installed the signs around site and would love it if more attractions and businesses got involved too as there is definitely a lack of public awareness around children’s food allergies.

“We understand people won’t always do what the signage advises, but if they can help one family realise something that they didn’t previously think about then the messaging has worked and could potentially save a life."


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