When actress Holly Robinson-Peete realized her son, RJ, had accidentally eaten a nut-laden dish and they had left his EpiPen Auto-Injector at home, she was frightened. A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) could cause his air passages to close—and kill him.

Fortunately, Robinson-Peete was able to administer epinephrine, the anti-allergy med found in EpiPens, in time. “I don’t know where we would be right now without it,” she said.

Anaphylaxis can easily be treated with epinephrine, but many kids (and their parents) don’t know they have a food allergy. This has lead to plenty of scary episodes.

As a result, in January 2011, the federal government passed legislation to create national guidelines to educate individuals and help schools better respond to students’ allergic reactions. Hopefully, this means both parents and kids will breathe easier.