Food bans

Caitlin - posted on 03/26/2010 ( 58 moms have responded )

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There have been a few articles i've read recently about peanut/nut bans in schools. First, a Chatelaine article where the author whines about not being able to send her son to school with a PB&J sandwich for lunch, because of a peanut ban in place because he's a picky eater. That sparked a ton of articles shooting down her statistics and opinions and generally created a huge uproar in the allergic community. This subject is quite divisive amongst parents, I have noticed.



Are you for or against a peanut/nut ban in a school if it can protect a student from a possibly fatal reaction?



I personally feel there is a place for the ban on peanuts/nuts in elementary schools, or junior high. Being the mother of an anaphylactic child myself (dairy, egg, peanuts, nuts, seafood, beef) I have seen my daughter on the brink of death, the first time at only 4 months old where she lost consciousness and stopped breathing in my arms (thankfully I was just getting to the ER at the time). My feelings are mostly because i've seen it happen, and wouldn't wish it upon anyone, let alone school staff having to treat the child. On the other hand, I think about children who have other allergies and have to learn responsibilty at a very young age, I know schools can't ban all allergens. There will always be the possibility of a reaction in my daughter, because dairy is in almost every lunch box, and cheese residues van last on dirty surfaces for quite a long time. It will always be hard to never be allowed to share food with friends or have cake at a friends party, but she will have to learn to cope with her allergy eventually and I can't rely on other moms to pack their children allergen-free lunches just so my daughter can reach in and help herself.



Long winded, sorry... I feel strongly about this issue for obvious reasons.

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Charlie - posted on 03/30/2010

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*sigh* schools make judgments based on the severity and number of children with the allergy , they dont usually blanket ban foods unless its incredibly common and dangerous such as nuts .

One child MAY have an allergy to wheat BUT in most cases its only when they themselves ingest the food meaning there is no need for other kids to stop eating it at school , the school would then make sure when they are providing food that there are wheat free options , if the child is sverely allergic to wheat ( very rare ) they would take stronger action to prevent a reaction .

Get it ? its not about blanket banning " just in case " its assessing the needs of the children who are allergic and making a decision based on their needs , Nuts happen to be the most prolific and dangerous allergy which is why it IS blanket banned in most schools , actual nuts not things that are made in the same plant UNLESS there is a person who is severely allergic and requires that action be taken .

Mary - posted on 03/30/2010

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Kati, I did not call you any names...I just said that I don't understand your point of view.



As for this leading to the bans of other foods...I'm not too concerned about it. I think peanuts are a big deal because of the greater prevalence of that particular allergy within the population as a whole, as well as the frequency of the allergy being severe enough to induce an anaphylactic response. I also think it is a bigger issue with elementary-school aged children, who are not yet mature enough to recognize the initial symptoms for what they are, or fully comprehend just how dangerous and life-threatening it is.



Yes, I know there are children out there similar to Caitlin's with multiple allergies, but they are a bit of an exception amongst the general population, and not the norm. I suppose that some schools may need to make special exceptions on a case-by-case basis, but I'm really not worried that all schools will suddenly only allow celery and water for lunch.

Lisamarie - posted on 03/30/2010

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I agree, Mary, I have no allergies, niether do either of my children as far as I know. But I am absolutely floored by the number of parents who would not support this ban. How selfish can you be if your childs "right" to have peanut butter sandwich comes before the LIFE of another child! What about that childs right to a safe educational environment? Honestly, how do you (general) expect to teach your children about compassion and looking out for eachother if you're teaching them that their WANTS come before the NEEDS of another persons life.

Pre school and lower school children, say upto 7 years old or even a couple of years older, only being in this world for a short amount of time, they are bound to make mistakes, they may eat the wrong thing, it is the ADULTS responsibility to look out for children, ALL children and if they haven't got us to rely on, who have they got?

How anyone can say they are against the ban because their child won't eat anything other than peanut butter sandwiches is beyond me, these parents who have children allergic to peanuts have got to constantly worry about what their child CANT eat not what they WON'T eat, I can bet who has the tougher job!

This has really shocked me and all I have left to say is no wonder our world is the way it is when fellow parents cannot rely on one an other to help keep their child alive!

Mary - posted on 03/30/2010

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I have to say, I really am sort of amazed that any mothers on here would object so vehemently to a peanut ban in school. Is it really that big of a deal? We are talking about ONE meal out of the day, and the occasional treat. Schools are singling out peanuts due to ever-increasing frequency of it's occurrence among children, as well as the increasing severity of reactions. Yes, other allergies exist, but not in the same numbers as the peanut allergy. No, you cannot ban ALL foods that any particular child is allergic to, but the peanut allergy is becoming pretty common...in almost any given school these days, there is more than one or two kids with this issue.



I just don't get it...you think a PB &J sandwich is so necessary that you would knowingly put another child in danger of DYING?? And be okay with that? Really??

My 16 month-old does not, thus far, seem to have any food allergies. The only thing we've avoided is shellfish, but that's really because I have an allergy to it. When she does go to school, it will not be that big of a deal to me that she can't take peanut butter...in fact I sort of assumed that it already was a banned food in all schools. I'm a little appalled that it's not. Perhaps my compassion for this is a result of seeing a child go into anaphylactic shock from peanuts...and maybe that's what those of you against it need to witness before you send those nut products in with your little one.

Charlie - posted on 03/29/2010

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Yes Junkfood is a problem one that needs to be addressed but its not in the same league as children who are anaphylactic , their little bodies go into shock , swell and die without quick treatment , junkfood is a long process to get to the death stage i dont think you can really compare it , most schools in Australia have junk free canteens for those that do buy their lunch but most childrens lunch boxes are packed at home under the responsibility of their parent , there is also a junk food free rule in most of schools.

Our school altered its food ban yearly depending on who had what allergy , products produced on the same line as nuts were allowed just not actual nuts , we had a boy who was severely allergic to eggs , nuts and red fish and i mean he couldn't have it near him at all those were banned for the two years he attended , it was very hard on him and his parents , we may not be able to always stop a reaction in these severely allergic children BUT we can take preventative measure's to ensure their lives aren't at risk .

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Rosie - posted on 03/30/2010

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i commend you caitlin for having such control (and i'm not being sarcastic). i feel like i would bitch until the cows came home-i think that's where our thought process differs, and i'm sure it's because you have lived through having a child with allergies. i can only imagine, and what i imagine is myself not stopping until i got my child's allergy foods banned as well. and then from there where does it end? if i believed that the schools would just stop at peanuts i would be more in favor of it for elementary school aged children, but i'm not convinced that they would stop there.

Caitlin - posted on 03/30/2010

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Kati - I wouldn't ask the school to ban any of my daughters allergens - but i WOULD expect them to not create an elevated risk by havinng classroom food parties or pizza days. I honestly would feel like quite an ass if I even thought the school would try to ban everything. If I wanted my daughter to be safe all the time, i'd home school and most likely die of a heart attack worrying everytime we went out into public.

Rosie - posted on 03/30/2010

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yes, i see that, that has all been said before. i guess if my kid was very allergic to dairy and peanuts were banned, i'd want dairy to be banned as well. and then the next kid is going to be allergic to wheat, and then since dairy and peanuts were banned that mother will want to have wheat banned and make a big stink until it was, and the cycle goes on.

my feelings are not this way because i'm an uncaring human being, quite the opposite. i know i'd want to ban a food if my child was allergic, just as much as the next one and the next one and the next one, i just don't see how it can work to only ban peanuts. how do you not think that other parents (who feel just as vehemently about their kids allergy as the next kids) won't make a huge stink. do you honestly think they'll lay down? do you think the school will say no?

Sharon - posted on 03/30/2010

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OMG let me spell it out for you Kati....

The other allergies that have been referred are more rare. Besides, the kid who is allergic to steak is really very safe at school. When is the last time they served real beef anyway? What kid takes steak to school for lunch? (Besides mine!)

I haven't seen shrimp offered at school recently either. And packing it in your kids lunchbox is NOT the smartest thing a parent could anyway, but then from what I read here, its gonna happen because some people can't say NO to their kids.

However peanuts are a common, cheap & easy to package snack that is relatively safe to pack into a childs lunchbox and frequently is. THAT IS WHY PEANUTS NEED TO BE BANNED and until allergies to twinkies hit an all time deadly high - you won't see a ban on them.

Charlie - posted on 03/30/2010

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AND a lot of allergic children will not get a reaction if you have it for breakfast before school only if it is their presence or eaten within the time spent around that child , for those that do have such severe reactions where it is airborne most schools will advise other parents on the severity .

Yes i think those that are making this out to be some kind of choice for the child or downplaying the severity of their allergies are COMPLETELY heartless in regards to to these children , their LIVES are at risk !!
Just because its not your child doesn't mean their lives are worth any less , i just hope that if your kids are ever at risk for anything the people surrounding them will have more decency to give a fuck about their lives regardless of whether its their child or NOT !

Caitlin - posted on 03/30/2010

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Kati - I did answer you ina sort of roundabout way. Peanut is a more dangerous allergen, mostly because it is spread around so easily. Schools have taken steps to keep classroms as safe as possible for children - and one of those way was to ban peanuts because of the oils. You can't practically ban dairy, it's an important part of a childs diet and has many benfits, and when meals and snacks are managed properly, a milk spill is very easy to contain, but peanut oil cannot be seen with the naked eye and spreads like wildfire, so it's more dangerous for that reason. That and it is one of the more common allergens causing serious reactions. My daughters reaction to dairy is not the typical dairy allergy, I can tell you, it is much more severe, though there are other kids out there with it as bad (or maybe worse *shudder*) than her.

Rosie - posted on 03/30/2010

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has anybody answered my question yet instead of calling me heartless indecent uncaring human being? how do you think this won't lead to banning everything that kids are allergic to?

Dana - posted on 03/30/2010

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Mary and Lisamarie, I too have been very shocked, it seems like basic human decency to me. It's scary to think parents are so put off by this and makes you feel bad for the parents of children with peanut allergies. I can only imagine what they must feel sending their child to school while other parents blow off the seriousness. It's heart breaking really.

Caitlin - posted on 03/30/2010

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Jess - There are studies out there to try to figure out, but there are so many different theories and chemicals out there that it's so hard to narrow it down. I wish there was a way to know, but I don't think they will narrow it down for a long long time.

Jess - posted on 03/30/2010

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Is anyone researching why our kids are now so allergic to nuts ? Is it something we are spraying on them, the soil they grow in or the way we process them ? Or are our kids just more sensative these days ?

Iris - posted on 03/30/2010

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Maybe it is a "false security", but some of us parents with none allergic children do take it seriously and that makes it less threatening to an allergic child.
I do make sure that my daughter doesn't eat PB&J until in the evening when she comes home from school. It's just one of those "treat" snacks she gets after coming home. My daughter loves peanut butter and she knows it will be there when she comes home.
There is no need to put other children in danger when you can easily make lunch with other type of food, and there is a lot of other food to choose from.

Jess - posted on 03/29/2010

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Lets just wrap our kids in cotton wool and stuff them into bubbles and be done with it ! I hate to break to you, but you can't police what people feed their kids ! So you can ban the peanuts all you like, but you can't stop someone feeding their kid peanut butter on toast before school and then wiping their nutty little fingers all over the school ! So unless you plan to kick these allergic kids out of school for their own safety or raid every parents kitchen cupboards, we gotta find a way to live harmounsly with these nuts !!! But attacking each other on here isn't going to help !

Sharon - posted on 03/29/2010

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LMFAO REALLY?? Now its a Twinkie thats on the evil list. LOOK OUT!!! Its a TWINKIE!!! EVERYBODY RUN!!!!!



If your child is deathly allergic to virtually everything then being the general public and public schools isn't safe and you can't expect everyone in the world to bow to those issues.



We're talking about ONE allergy. That is gaining in commonality. More and more children are being diagnosed with this allergy. Or at least they're coming more into the public eye.



Seriously. No one has any compassion for the poor child who is going to die..... have your kid wave good bye to his classmates as he munches on the treat his insensitive mother couldn't deny him then. God forbid a PEANUT should be disallowed....



Oh yeah, turning your kid into a lardass with twinkies is a dietary thing that is TOTALLY the mothers/parents fault. I'm not going to tell my kid he can't have a twinkie, just cause the lard ass next to him has no self control.

Rosie - posted on 03/29/2010

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i know the type of reaction i'm going to get, but if you really think about it, it is in the same category. what about junkfood? people die from eating that (in excessive amounts), are we to ban that so some of those kids won't die?

and i have stated before my son preschool is a nutfree zone as well, and i have no problem with that since we bring the snack for every child to eat. the problem that noone seems to be getting is that we would have to eventually start to accomidate EVERY allergy (and yes sharon, there are PLENTY of other life threatening allergies), and that's where i have the problem. did anybody read the list of food that caitlins poor daughter can't eat? like i said before, that doesn't leave much else to eat if we were to implement that for everyone.

i would also like to say that while i know that my sons weight issues aren't as pressing as caitlins daughters, his issues are lifethreatening and i have had to deal with this whole eating thing with him since they figureed out what was wrong with him at age 2. before that he threw up constantly, wouldn't eat, weighed less than the 3rd percentile (still does) and he's been hospitalized 3 times before he turned 14 months old. it's not just as simple as "give him something else."

i'm not heartless, i just don't see how this won't lead to a ban on all allergens.

Esther - posted on 03/29/2010

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I don't really get why this is such a big deal. My son's daycare is a nut free environment. They are not so strict that nothing can be made in a factory that also produces things with nuts, but there can't be any actual nuts in any product at his daycare (they also have a preschool and kindergarten on site so it applies to them too). If a kid has a birthday and they bring treats, the parents have to make sure it is nut-free (like cup-cakes) and any packaged candy (M&Ms, chocolate bars etc.) will be kept until the parents pick the kids up to go home, so the parents can make the decision as to what the kids actually get to eat. My son does not go through life starved & deprived because he can't have nuts at school. I'm not raising a squirrel. There are plenty of foods he can consume still. And if that helps a kid who does have a severe allergic reaction remain safe and healthy, then why on earth wouldn't I support that? Because I insist on my son's constitutional right to have a Snickers bar?

Caitlin - posted on 03/29/2010

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Sharon - Why are you being so confrontational and insulting? The smell can't cause an anapylactic reaction, airborne particles can, but they have to be ingested. If someone spits when they talk and it gets on your skin, you wash it off, maybe get a hive or two, but it wont kill you unless you lick it off or start making out with that person.



And actually, if you read my post fully at the begining, you WILL notice that my daughter is allergic to beef... which includes steak. And yes, the allergy can killl her, it causes her lips, face, mouth and throat to swell, so it's potentially life threatening if not treated immediately. Anyone can be allergic to anything, and sadly, lots of people don't understand. When I say my daughter is allergic to dairy, people say "oh, she's lactose intolerant?" No, this isn't my stomach hurts, I got the runs, this is a full body reaction, massive swelling, drop in blood pressure, breathing stops.. it's happened before.



Amie - I plan to make sure the school doesn't do pizza days, because the oil is insane, but I don't mind hot dog days or hamburger days, though she still couldn't have either (hot dogs have beef AND dairy in them, hamburgers.. well, obvious). In those cases, i'll send her with something safe that's pretty much the same thing, so she wont feel left out. She'll get her turkey or chicken dogs (we have 2 dairy free brands here) or she'll get a pork burger, or horse meat burger. The issue comes up mostly in the products that spread around everywhere, or those horrible elementary school classroom parties that are just a food free for all.



Every allergic parent knows that every day is a risk. I was changing for the pool one day with my daughter, and she saw something on the floor (she was only 13 months at the time). Thank god I saw her pick it up, I grabbed it before she put it in her mouth. Some parent ignored the no food sign on the door and obviously was feeding their kid those little goldfish crackers (with cheese) which ended up falling on the floor. She ended up getting hives all over her hand and wrist just from picking it up but I washed her hand before she had a chance to get it anywhere near her face and mouth, and she got a good dose of benadryl, and all was fine, but all it takes is a second (especially with young kids with low impulse control).

Sharon - posted on 03/29/2010

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OMG. ITS ON THEIR BREATH!!! Does your school also floss their teeth and water pick them, then scrub their tongues, cheeks and gums?

Did you NOT read that ITS AIRBORNE??? Even the SMELL is indicative that ITS CARRIED ON THE AIR! omg really... still breathing? I'm shocked. Procreating too.. omfg....

FYI - here in the USA - I understand you think we're all slovenly pigs who wallow in filth and pick our noses then eat the boogers followed by a good hour of ass picking then eating without washing our hands but I can assure your thoughts are wrong.

My childrens classrooms have their OWN BATHROOMS. AND utility sinks AND water fountains. There is hand sanitizer on the counter by the hallway door and hand sanitizer on the counter by the school yard door.

THIS WON'T STOP A CHILD FROM ACCIDENTLY SPITTING ON HIS FRIEND WHILE LAUGHING OR JUST TALKING!

If this is your level of reading comprehension, your school isn't as good as you think it is.

Jess - posted on 03/29/2010

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Perhaps the public school I went to here in Australia was better equipted than some of the schools in other countries. We ate our lunches in our classrooms, we were given wipes to clean our desks and we had sinks and soap in our classroom. Hand washing and desk cleaning was a requirement to being allowed to go and play outside. We each had to sit at our own desk and we weren't allowed to walk around touching things. Your kids are going to incounter these foods everywhere, the local park, the foodcourt at the shopping centre - How often do those tables get cleaned thoroughly? I underst that banning the food makes you feel a little more at ease, but its not fair to the kids who can eat the food. Imagine how you would feel it someone searched your lunch and removed everything that was hazardous to someone else. Would these kids be given "replacement" food or made to go hungry ?

Amie - posted on 03/29/2010

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That's true Dana.

Caitlin, what about schools that don't do pizza orders? My kids school has never done pizza orders (since mine have joined anyway and it's been 5 years). They do subway lunches a few times a year (each student/parent picks every topping that will be on the sub). It's a lot more planning but then the schools around here have really been advertising and educating the kids on healthy lifestyles. The worst they have is hot dog and burger family day. That happens twice a year. So that isn't an issue for us here either.

It's really strange seeing how different places are from country to country, never mind town to town.

Sharon - posted on 03/29/2010

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OMG - I have yet to hear of anyone who is deathly allergic to steak or carrots. REALLY??? deadly allergies to EVERY food?

I'm starting to think I need to move to Tucson and start a allergy free daycare/preschool...., I'll bet I rake in the big bucks.

Caitlin - posted on 03/29/2010

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Dana - While I agree most dairy doens't have an oily residue.. PIZZA! OMG that stuff is horrible, it gets everywhere, even I used to try to have it at home for just my husband and I, but the oil just spread everywhere and it wasn't worth the hassle running around with cloths and lysol wipes after. Cheese is almost as oily as peanuts and doens't dry up either. Either way, I support the bans in elementary school and daycares for sure, even if they only ban peanuts, it's one less thing for me to worry about every day. I wish I could home school almost, but wouldn't imagine doing that, because the social interaction is so important, but I never imagined how much I would worry about this all the time!

Dana - posted on 03/29/2010

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I don't think they go as far as banning foods from plants that may have had peanuts in them. Of course I could be totally wrong, I probably am. I've just never heard of that.



*Edited to add* Okay, no, from what I understand, our schools aren't that strict. It could depend on the school systems.

Amie - posted on 03/29/2010

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That's not true for my kids school Dana. Even products processed in the same plants could pose a hazard. My kids have been sent home with granola bars that didn't have the stamp that says (processed in a peanut free facility). So we buy the other kinds now. It's really not a big deal.

Does the states not have that type of system?

Dana - posted on 03/29/2010

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Kati, because dairy doesn't have an oil that spreads all over things. It's not like you can separate these kids in one room and hope that peanut oil doesn't get spread around the school. Yes, people can teach children to wash their hands but how about every little thing their hands touch on the way to the restroom.
So kids can't have peanuts, big whoop.

As far as worrying about if other kids eat something with that's been processed in the same plant as a peanut product, that's fine as long as the child who is allergic doesn't eat it. No one has ever said that kids can't bring something in their lunch that's been processed in one of these plants.

Rosie - posted on 03/29/2010

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i guess what i'm not understanding is that these life threatening reactions can and will happen with EVERY food, so why is it only peanuts that you all want to ban? caitlin has stated thiat her child is more allergic to dairy and wheat than peanuts, my sons best friend may or may not be lifethreateningly (is that even a word?)allergic to strawberries (his sister and mother are, he hasn't had a strawberry yet), my boss is lifethreateningly allergic to strawberries as well. my ex was that allergic to shellfish.
i do agree that education alone doesn't always work. look at the example i gave, i knew that i should be looking for peanuts in things like m&m's , but i was so damn worried about it that i forgot the main ingredient in the cookies was peanut butter. but this is going to happen whether or not there is a ban in place. i think it's more reasonable to have a peanut free room and have the children that are allergic go in there than to expect everyone to not bring crackers (or anything else) that they didn't kinow were processed in a place that processed peanuts.

Mary - posted on 03/29/2010

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Its not releastic and eventually these allergic kids, become allergic adults and those controls are gone. You can remove all the peanuts from school but just take a walk through your nearest shopping centre, try banning all the peanuts there. Its not going to work, more time needs to be spent on education than on implamenting bans.




No, these controls do not last a lifetime, but they should be in place for SMALL children who are still learning boundaries. I support these bans being in place at least through elementary school. Are peanuts all around the world around us? Of course! However, the average 6 y/o is not cruising through the grocery store unattended, helping themselves to whatever they want in the candy aisle. (if they are, that's another problem altogether!)



My 7 year old neice has several food allergies of varying severity, including a severe peanut allergy. My sister and BIL were very good about teaching her to question the contents of any food she was given from a very young age. She would even ask my parents if what they were serving had any nuts or seed in it...I beleive she was about 4 by the time she had this mastered. About 2 years ago, they were at a neighborhood Xmas party and cookie exchange. There were probably about 20 kids, and at least 10 adults present, my sister among them. The food was set out, buffett style, and everyone was migling and nibbling. My neice wanted a cookie, and asked the hostess (my sister's next-door neighborhood who knows Genna well) if the tray in front of her had any nuts in it...and the woman told her no. It was a bull's eye (home-made chocolate-covered peanut butter). Genna took a bite, and immediately ran up to my sister, saying "my mouth feels funny". Luckily, my sister always carries an epi-pen with her....gave her a shot, and called 911.



Now, this occurred in a home where all of the adults present KNEW about her allergy (she's not the only kid there with it, either), and my neice ASKED about the food content before eating. The adult questioned was distracted, and not really paying attention to what she was asked. No one is really at fault here...my neice was in a familiar environment, with a bunch of people she knew, including her own mother (who was changing my nephew at the time). Preventative education was not the issue.



I cannot begin to imagine how a teacher with 20-30 kids under her care could cope with that, especially if the contents of any given lunch are unknown to her. Even if a kid knows to ask, it doesn't always mean that the responder knows the correct answer. Is that really a risk worth taking when death is a possible consequence?

Jess - posted on 03/29/2010

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I think if we spend our time educating our children, and teaching them proper hand washing and how to clean their eatting surfaces, and teaching our allergic children how to best protect themselve's we would create a safer environment than trying to ban food. Arn't we impeading on other children's rights by trying to stop them eatting food that is perfectly ok for them ?

Dana - posted on 03/29/2010

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Jessica, if you read the other replies it's the fact that a child eating peanut butter can get it on his/her hands and spread the peanut oil around.

Jessica - posted on 03/29/2010

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The way I see it is, as long as your child knows not to share their home-packed lunch and why then why can't that specific child have the lunch they want? It's not fair on the other kids to impose restrictions like this. Surely, the parents of the child with the allergy have educated and informed there child as to what will happen if they eat this stuff and the child will be sufficiently aware so as to not eat other children's lunches!

Jess - posted on 03/29/2010

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As a mother who has held her unconisous baby in her arms I can understand why parents want to protect their kids. However as some on who is allergic to countless things, some of which will kill me, I don't think its reasonable to expect everyone else to accomodate my allergies. I mean in my case, morphine will kill me, does that mean every ambulance and hospital should get rid of their morphine to protect me? Should my work ban all food contain dairy, remove the milk from the fridges, take away the coffee machine and get rid of the beans and inspect all lunches and remove the foods im allergic to ? Its not releastic and eventually these allergic kids, become allergic adults and those controls are gone. You can remove all the peanuts from school but just take a walk through your nearest shopping centre, try banning all the peanuts there. Its not going to work, more time needs to be spent on education than on implamenting bans.

Erin - posted on 03/28/2010

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yeah accomodating EVERY allergy is ridiculous, especially when most of those allergies just make you uncomfortable to varying degrees. But death is rather permanent.


Totally agree Sharon. Take a Coeliac kid. If they eat gluten (which is in almost everything!) they will feel unwell, but it is not life-threatening. I would not expect a school to cater to my (theoretical) child's gluten-free diet. But you can bet your ass I would be all over that school if we were talking genuine anaphylaxis. It is the school's responsibility to provide a safe environment for EVERYONE. If a kid doesn't want to eat anything except PB sandwiches, well I'm sorry but that's a bit of bad luck. It is something that can be worked on and remedied. A child going into anaphylactic shock and dying from a trace of peanut oil on a toy or desk can not.

Amie - posted on 03/28/2010

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I agree with Sharon Grey completely!

Mostly because while I was still in school I watched a boy almost lose his life because of another jackass boy. He was allergic to peanuts. The other boy got kicked out of school. Ya it's not just about the kids with allergies, it's about all the little bastards out there who think it's a joke or "not that serious".

It's not a joke and it is very serious. My kids school has a peanut ban that was instituted last year. No idea which child it is, which grade or which class but it's a full on ban for the entire school because peanut allergies are that serious.

Sharon - posted on 03/28/2010

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Its one thing to get an upset stomach and fart alot or puke from an allergy and its quite another to DIE from it.



I haven't met anyone deathly allergic to wheat, steak, candy etc. I suppose those allergies are out there but they aren't as prevalent as the peanut allergy.



I've heard the arguement that people didn't used to be this allergic to peanuts... um ever think that maybe they died when peanut eating grandpa gave her a kiss and no one knew how bad the oils could be? I've seen case after case of death of unexplained anaphalactic reaction etc.



yeah accomodating EVERY allergy is ridiculous, especially when most of those allergies just make you uncomfortable to varying degrees. But death is rather permanent. Why can't you see that?

Caitlin - posted on 03/28/2010

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My daughter is allergic to dairy, egg, peanuts, nuts, seafood and beef. I couldn't even ask a school to ban all those things, my daughter will know she can only take food from her parents or food that we pack for her. She will know that she can't share food with anyone and i'd be happy if there was AT LEAST a peanut/nut ban in place, so I wouldn't have to worry about as many things.



I'd expect the teachers in the classrooms with my daughter to be very good about making sure the kids wash their hands after they eat and that her desk is wiped down after snacks and meals with a lysol wipe just in case there is any lingering oil. My daughter will always wear 2 epi-pens on her, because she is MORE allergic to dairy and egg than peanuts and nuts from the reactions she has had so far. I'd expect the teachers to be very careful, and I would really like it if they would control who brings food into the classroom, and give me advance notice if someone is bringing cupcakes for a birthday so I could send a safe one in for my daughter so she wouldn't feel left out.



I'd expect those halloween/valentines day/x-mas etc.. buffet style parties to be banned in the classroom, because there is pretty much no way to clean up the classroom after events like that, kids aren't neat and I'm not going to be the mom responsible for a buffet meal for 30 kids just so they can shove their faces full of junk, there are easier things to do, like arts and crafts and games to celebrate.



Kati - M&M's (at least in Canada) aren't peanut free products - they are made in the same factory, but Smarties are safe for peanut allergic kids (in Canada).

Caitlin - posted on 03/28/2010

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Kati - The allergen is only really dangerous when ingested, and the goal of a ban isn't so that the kids can share food and everything, it's mostly so that no direct peanut butter or peanuts are brought in. Though traces of peanut can be bad - the chances of getting peanut oil on your hands from a product that only "may contain" is much much lower. Most allergic kids know not to touch anybody elses food, the problem is the oil residues that stay everywhere - on tables and hands that then get transfered to toys. Having the allergic child eat in another room wont prevent the oils from getting on everything that that child will come back and touch afterwards. I understand it's hard to get kids to eat other things sometimes, but they have to learn to eat more than just PB&J.



Laura - There is actually no evidence that a person can have an anaphlactic reaction tot he smell of an allergen. There are cases where people can react if their allergen is being cooked (like frying eggs - which actually makes tiny little airborne particles of egg fly a short distance in the air - but that is actually the person ingesting those minute particles, not the smell of it). Restaurants that use peanut oil are dangerous of course, because they have range hoods over their friers which also disperse tiny particles of peanut oil into the air and therefore outside the restaurant, but yet again - that's ingestion. Reactions that happen to smell are actually psychosomatic - like a panic attack. When a child or adult smells their allergen, their body essentially freaks out and makes them feel woozy, short of breath which can also be symptoms of an allergy, but aren't in that case. Fish are particularly bad - a tuna fish sandwich can be tricky to a fish allergic person, but those are the airborne particles, not the smell..

Rosie - posted on 03/28/2010

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i completely understand what you're saying and i do feel empathy and have tried to put my kid in those shoes. i just don't see how a ban on just peanuts would work. because you know that the next kid with an allergy to wheat his parents wouldn't want him to be around wheat as well, so then they would complain and soon nobody would be able to have bread. it just seems like a never ending cycle to me. where does it stop? when there's nothing left to eat because a couple of people have allergies?

and also i know that alot of people don't realize that ALOT of things are made in facilities that process peanuts. so it cuts those things out as well, and somebody has unknowingly brought something with peanuts. hell, the other day i was supposed to make cookies for my sons preschool class. i was thinking moster cookies, but then i got all worried that the m&m's might have been processed in a plant that also processed peanuts. so i was trying to look up online (i didn't have the bag anymore) frantically to see if i could make these cookies with m&m's, that i COMPLETELY forgot that an ingredient in the cookies is peanut butter. i think alot more companies need to stop processing peanuts on the same equipment as other things. that would help me out immensely, giving more options for stuff to bring. the only thing my kid will eat is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, is he supposed to not eat cause one person can't eat in a different room? or maybe he can eat in a different room, hell, i don't care as long as he will be able to eat his pb&j. my kid is VERY small, and him skipping a meal isn't in the plan. i've had this imbedded in my head since he was 2.

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I rotate through 5 different elementary schools, and also see signs at my son's pre-school. There are various signs of "Peanut-Free Classroom". Isn't the overall goal to make ALL kids safe? My son's preschool does allow PB & J sandwiches and peanut based snacks, but I do know that 1 classroom does not. I have a few students with peanut allergies as well. The parents that make the big stink need to step back for a second and learn some empathy for the allergic kid and that parent. You think the parents ENJOY putting their child out there, subjecting to scrutiny and trying to protect the kid?

Dana - posted on 03/28/2010

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Well, hopefully if they continue to have more success exposing these kids to peanut oil in a controlled environment this will have be a thing of the past. :)

Isobel - posted on 03/28/2010

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the problem with lifting the ban (even later) is that some kids are SO allergic that even the smell can cause a reaction. Sending your kid to school with a peanut butter sandwich these days is similar to sending them to school with a hunting knife for show and tell.

Dana - posted on 03/28/2010

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I'm sure it's a pain in the ass but totally worth it when it comes down to a child's life. There is a huge difference between a peanut allergy and other allergies as some one has already stated, it's the oil that gets around. I use a natural peanut butter that's oily and when my son gets the peanut butter on his hands I'm sure he's coating the house with peanut oil. I can only imagine if he were in school with it.

LaCi - posted on 03/28/2010

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Like its really a big deal if my kid has to wait to eat a peanut butter sandwich after school rather than at lunch.

I'm absolutely in support of a ban like that. It's just safe. I really don't understand why anyone would oppose something like that.

Caitlin - posted on 03/28/2010

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I think if a lot of the parents that oppose this ban would just put themselves in the allergic child's parents shoes, they'd understand. If the tables were turned and it was their kid who could get very sick and/or die on exposure to this allergen they'd suddenly see the light.

Charlie - posted on 03/27/2010

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Ive never understood the parents that bitch and moan about having to leave out one or two ingredients in their lunchbox , its incredibly selfish , i had one dad at my school complain about the nuts rule saying it was " pathetic " as if the child should toughen up , i simply said to him " would you be comfortable knowing the nuts you knowingly packed were the cause of a child going into anaphylactic shock and dying ? "
He shut up quickly when the little girl who had severe nut allergies walked into the room , i hope he felt a little bit guilty about his stupid remarks .

Lea - posted on 03/27/2010

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Cathy, the reason soda is banned in your school is because it is not a drink a child should have on a regular basis. A lot of people know that soda is empty calories, it makes you fat, takes the place that a nutritious drink should, but a lot of people don't know that the phosphoric acid in soda leaches calcium from your bones. Calcium doesn't just build your bones, its also needed by your organs for various functions also. I hope all parents stop giving their kids soda!!!

Caitlin - posted on 03/27/2010

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One of the main reasons they picked peanuts to ban (so i've heard) is that peanut oil gets on everything, and is quite hard to wash off, so a kid that eats a peanut butter sandwich then goes to play with a firetruck - even if he has washed his hands(i'm sure we've all seen how wellmost kids wash their hands) - will spread peanut oil all over that toy and since elementary school kids and preschoolers have their fingers in their mouths so often, the potential for a serious reaction is there. MOST other allergens are easier to avoid (cheese is a hard one though - it is very oily as well and is hard to clean off) and only the ingestion of the allergen causes anaphylaxis - even in trace amount (depends on the child and severity of the allergy). My daughter gets hives all the time on her hands, no matter how careful we are because there is almost no way to have everything 100% safe for her.

Jenny - posted on 03/27/2010

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My daughter has a girl allergic to peanuts in her class. There is a total peanut ban and the teacher reviews the ingrediants on every food productin the room daily. It is a huge pain in the ass but keeping that little girl alive has to be the priority.

Rosie - posted on 03/27/2010

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i really don't think there should be a ban. there are so many kids with so many different allergies there would be nothing left to eat-literally. there are kids with egg, milk, wheat, soy, strawberry, peanut, any nut, chocolate, and the list goes on i'm sure. i think grapes would be the only thing left to bring!! at my sons preschool they bring snacks for everyone on certain days, and we know not to send anything with peanuts as there is a kid that is allergic. i have no problem with that since the kid has to eat what we provide. if it's a regular elementary school setting where kids bring their own food, than that's different to me. the child brings their own food, and if being around the particular allergen causes a reaction than maybe they need to sit in a special room or something. that sounds harsh, but i really don't see how the other can work.

Lady - posted on 03/27/2010

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In my daughters nursery in the uk there a sign in the front widow asking not to put any penut products in lunches as there is a child with an allergy. It doesn't bother me because there's nothing my daughter would ever take containing penuts anyway. At primary and high school it's not an issue.

[deleted account]

When I taught fourth grade I had a very responsible student with a peanut allergy. Friday afternoons a different student would bring a snack for a good behavior party. This particular student would always ask if the snack contained peanuts or peanut butter. If it did, I would send her to the teacher's lounge with a dollar to get a different snack. The kids all understood why she got this privilege and they didn't. I made the parents aware that their was a peanut allergy and asked them to send snacks accordingly, but parents don't always listen.

Sharon - posted on 03/27/2010

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I think common sense has to prevail.

We have peanuts in our house almost daily. They're snacks for us and snacks for our many birds. There is always a jar on the counter of salted or honey roasted peanuts.

My kids rarely take them to school but I often make peanutbutter sandwiches for the birds (weird I know but they love them) and then just wipe the knife and make mayo ham & cheese sandwiches for the kids.... if an allergic kid ate their sandwich... probably a bad thing.

Our school make it against the rules to share food. Its a little painful for my generous kids. I explained why but they don't understand why their friends who AREN'T allergic can't share. That isn't an easy explanation.

I think on a class by class basis is a good idea and definately no making peanutbutter in adjoining classrooms. For elementary school a ban on obvious peanut items is a good idea.

My point was -..... it has to go further than that to protect at risk children.

I'm willing to bet that if a teacher had taken the picky eater child aside and explained "hey see johnny over there? he is TERRIBLY allergic to peanuts. If you eat your sandwich here and the bag wound up over there, he could get really sick and have to go to the hospital and his mommy would be so sad...." crap like that gets to kids and generally makes an impression. I'm pretty sure the kid would be willing to forego his sandwich unless he were REALLY spoiled and determined to have his own way.

Part me despairs at keeping those sort of severely allergic kids safe. So many foods were made next to peanut items.....

But the basic ban on obvious items is a good start. I would go out of my way to help a child in my kids class that was diabetic or horribly allergic by providing foods & snacks that were safe or talking with the mom ... "I plan to serve this.... do you have a similar safe item your child can have so he won't feel left out?" I'm not into baking so I just buy cakes (not made in hypoallergenic conditions or with hypoallergenic items) but most moms of these allergic kids, learn to bake so their kid can share.

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