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New Alexander, the Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts DVDs Help Children With Food Allergies
Date:2/11/2008

Alexander the Elephant Leads the Way to Educating Children With Food Allergies

FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is proud to announce the release of two animated DVDs that both entertain and educate children about food allergies. Alexander, the Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts ... Goes to School and Alexander, the Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts ... Gets a Babysitter help children cope with their own allergies and teach other children about tolerance. Both videos combine colorful animation with interviews of real-life children with food allergies who talk about their experiences.

"Alexander is a wonderful role model for children with food allergies," says Anne Munoz-Furlong, CEO and Founder of FAAN, a 501(c)(3) organization. "Children love this character and can identify with the challenges he faces. They see him wondering about many of their own fears and learn coping strategies from him. The DVDs help them to not feel alone or different from other children."

Most children are apprehensive about starting school, but for children with food allergies, it can be an even more threatening experience. Alexander the Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts ... Goes to School is designed to make it easier for them. Alexander faces his first day of kindergarten with trepidation, but thanks to his bus driver, Mariel, who also has an allergy, he is encouraged to tell his new classmates about his peanut allergy. As he makes his presentation to the class, he discovers that his new friends not only accept his condition, but also are eager to learn about it and help him stay safe.

Alexander, the Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts ... Gets a Babysitter deals with a common worry that children with food allergies face: being left in the care of someone other than their parents. They are anxious about whether someone else can keep them safe from harmful foods and will know what to do in an emergency. Alex discovers just how much fun having a babysitter can be after his parents teach her all about his food allergies.

The first Alexander video, Alexander the Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts, introduced youngsters to Alexander 10 years ago. It was an engaging award winner that won critical acclaim from young viewers, parents, and educators. Children watched it over and over. That video spun off a series of books featuring Alexander and his friends, which has won its own awards. To date, there are 13 books in the series that examine how children with food allergies can stay safe while going out to eat, attending school, riding on an airplane, and going to a birthday party. All are beautifully illustrated in full color and are written for children ages 2 through 7 years.

Food allergy is a potentially fatal condition that affects more than 12 million Americans, or 1 in 25 - and 1 in 17 under age 3. It results in more than 30,000 emergency room visits each year and 150 to 200 deaths, which sometimes occur within minutes. The incidence of food allergy has doubled in the last 10 years, and scientists aren't sure why. Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. There is no known cure; strict avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction.

"If the 3.1 million U.S. children who have food allergy were surveyed to find out their heroes, it's a good bet that Alexander the Elephant would figure prominently on that list," remarks Munoz-Furlong. "This charming pachyderm has shown them that they are not alone."

The original and current Alexander DVDs are produced by Susan Leavitt of Time Frame Productions, Inc., who has produced all of FAAN's educational videos. The animators are Bill and Colleen Davis of Artbear Pigmation, who have worked on projects for Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, and Nickelodeon, among many other clients. The newly released DVDs were funded by an educational grant from Triad Foundation. Alexander DVDs can be ordered at http://www.foodallergy.org or (800) 929-4040.

ABOUT FAAN

Founded in 1991, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is the world leader in information about food allergy, a potentially fatal condition that afflicts approximately 12 million Americans, or one out of every 25, and is rapidly increasing in prevalence. A nonprofit organization based in Fairfax, Va., FAAN has 30,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and 62 other countries. It is dedicated to increasing public awareness of food allergy and its consequences, to educating people about the condition, and to advancing research on behalf of all those affected by it. FAAN provides information and educational resources about food allergy to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials. For more information, please visit FAAN at http://www.foodallergy.org, http://www.faankids.org, and http://www.faanteen.org.


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SOURCE Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network
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