How far is too far?

[deleted account] ( 117 moms have responded )

Food allergy bans in schools - where do we draw the line? Who's responsibility is it? Are any of your children afflicted with serious allergies?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

Well, when a child is so severely allergic to peanut butter that just a very tiny residue on an object has the potential to KILL them... I don't think there is such a thing as too far. For the record, none of my children have any type of food allergies and going w/out peanut butter would certainly be an annoyance to me, but better my annoyance than to know that I was partially responsible for the death of a child.

Caitlin - posted on 09/08/2010

1,915

5

171

Wow, it was interesting over there I couldn't resist replying. And Dana, if you're looking for a great group for parents with allergies - I have a great site for you, I'm on their forums and they are a great source of info for someone just entering the realm of allergies! http://www.allergicliving.com/

Mary - posted on 09/07/2010

3,348

31

119

No, I don't think a separate lunch room is the answer either. I have to imagine, in the eyes of a small child, it would seem like a punishment for being "different", not to mention depriving them of one of the social learning arenas of school that the lunch room is.

My daughter does not have any allergies thus far that we are aware of. My neice, however, does. She is 8 now, and thankfully, her peanut allergy has decreased in severity over the past 2 years...but my sister has not gotten through her early school years without some scares.

Part of the really scary thing is how long it can take for someone to realize a reaction is occurring, and then respond accordingly. The epi-pens are brought to the school nurse at the beginning of the year with all of the child's pertinent info, and kept by the nurse in her office. So, when a child does have a reaction, someone needs to first identify it, and contact the nurse with the child's name so that s/he can bring the epi-pen and administer it. In the event of a severe anaphylactic reaction, mere SECONDS count...and depending on the size and physical layout of the school involved, it is going to be a few minutes before that epi-pen is given. A minute that can mean the difference between life and death.

Now, I realize that schools cannot ban all allergens, but I do think the peanut ban is necessary across the board in all schools. I also don't see it as a unreasonable sacrifice on the part of those kids who don't have an allergy. You can educate your child non-stop about their allergies, but a 6 year old is still a 6 year old, and WILL make mistakes. I just don't think the cost of being and "imperfect" child should be life-threatening.

Charlie - posted on 09/05/2010

11,203

111

401

Ugh , seriously the speculation of schools banning close to all foods is so far fetched its funny .

We have still had class parties with , YES you guessed it plenty of delicious foods , with anaphalactic kids present , we even cater to the food intolerance kids ( mainly wheat ) its really NOT THAT HARD to find alternitives hey you might even find some new delicious foods if you just step outside the box of whats "normal" for you , i will never understand the whinging and complaining from parents who have nothing to worry about other than their lack of imagination when it comes to food.

Sharon - posted on 09/04/2010

11,585

12

1314

1. peanut allergies affect a child through the air or from the hands of their friend who just ate a PB&J. it could kill them. I've heard of some peanut reactions taking 5 epi pens - who carries 5 epi pens?

So the peanut ban is not to much. its a pain in the ass, yes, but its not to much to ask for.

Banning all foods that might have been in touch with a peanut product - THAT is to far.

honestly - if your kid is that allergic would you really trust his life and health to other people? Not me.

I'm beginning to think that with the rampant and dangerous allergies children have they'll have to open a special school for those kids.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

117 Comments

View replies by

Stifler's - posted on 09/09/2010

15,141

154

597

It's just peanut butter people. There's plenty of other foods that don't contain peanuts or peanut by products that kids can eat and like. The kids with allergies should have the right to go to public school and eat with kids with no allergies.

[deleted account]

I think you misunderstood them, Shannon. This debate is going on in another community and people are saying that when there is a ban, all the kids are punished because they don't get to eat peanut butter, which is what you were saying in a sense. But really, what is "fair"? Not getting to eat peanut butter during school hours because someone has allergies OR dying because someone insists that their child has the right to eat peanut butter KNOWING that another child has severe allergies?

Richardson - posted on 09/09/2010

9

0

1

Dana and Caitlin - my post wasn't about punishing kids with allergies, it was about their safety. I guess it was misconstrued. This is why I hate internet blogs ! LOL I thought I'd give COMs a try.... anyhow. Cheers.

Caitlin - posted on 09/09/2010

1,915

5

171

Shannon.. it might be all well and good if we could all afford to skip the second income to stay home and home school our kids and have the time to drive them to a plethora of activities to ensure that they have the appropriate interaction with their age counterparts, but unfortunately some of us lower middle class (even middle class and low class) can't afford that option. That's why we have a public school.. How about if you don't like the nut ban and you have so much extra money, you can stay home and home school your kids, or pay the extra cash and send them to private school where they can bring anything they want to lunches?

Stifler's - posted on 09/09/2010

15,141

154

597

they should inspect lunches anyway, and write a note home with a pack of information on nutrition for school age children and how twisties and prepackaged cake don't fit the bill.

?? - posted on 09/09/2010

4,974

0

171

My mom is a lunch time supervisor for an elementary school. She has been since I was a baby. There have been children with severe allergies from peanuts to bee's in the school since she started.

When the school had 150 kids there were 3 supervisors, 4 teachers, and 8 teachers aids, now that the school has under 20 kids she is the only supervisor but there are 2 teachers and 2 teachers aids.

They ALWAYS inspected EVERY lunch box. They have NEVER had a child have to go to the hospital. There was only ONE child to ever have a reaction and it was a bee sting that couldn't have been helped.

These children were pre-k to grade 7.

It is NOT that difficult for a school to have lunch time supervisors in classrooms. Between the teacher, the teachers aid and the supervisor there is absolutely NO reason ANY lunch box should be missed.


To say that 1 child should be taken away from the benefits of a public school - the social interaction, the authority interaction, the educational stand point - because 3 adults in 1 classroom are unable to make sure they do their duties for the safety and health of 1 or more children......... that's the most ridiculous 'solution.'

Dana - posted on 09/09/2010

11,264

35

489

Ah, and so we're back to punishing kids because they have a food allergy that already makes them different.

Richardson - posted on 09/09/2010

9

0

1

My personal opinion (my kid goes to a "nut banned" school) is that if the allergies are absolutely life threatening, and the child is not of an age where he or she can be expected to use an epi pen or some other treatment, then those children should be home schooled. It does not make sense to me to try to impose rules on 500 children and those rules are nearly impossible to enforce. If they were to be enforced to the fullest extent, hours per day would be taken to inspect every single lunch box. Which is a waste of teacher's time and our money. If my child had a severe life threatening allergy I would take matters into my own hands and home school them or find another way. It's not worth the risk.

Stifler's - posted on 09/08/2010

15,141

154

597

HAHAHA! I can just imagine the teasing is all, based on when I was in school. I had a friend with allergies and her mum used to make the hugest deal of it and we would be like OMG you shouldn't do this.. you might be allergic (we were in grade 3).

Charlie - posted on 09/08/2010

11,203

111

401

LOL Emma i just imagined mini thugs with chains and baseball bats throwing down at lunch time !

Stifler's - posted on 09/08/2010

15,141

154

597

I agree with Loureen, everyone would benefit from the banning of peanut butter anyway... what with the obesity epidemic and all. Segregating people with allergies would probably just encourage bullying and turf wars.

Charlie - posted on 09/08/2010

11,203

111

401

People who whinge about their rights to food piss me off because clearly that is far more important than the health and life of a child .

[deleted account]

Thanks so much, Caitlin.....it's pretty overwhelming at first. Luckily Roxanne's only "severe" allergy is to peanuts, although she's also allergic to eggs and soy as well. It must be nothing compared to your lil' one......dairy, eggs, beef and peanuts....ACK! Thanks for the support.

Dana - posted on 09/08/2010

11,264

35

489

Oh, and someone should totally invite Anika Koziarski to DM. I think I'll do that now. ;)

Dana - posted on 09/08/2010

11,264

35

489

LOL, I had gone right over there and read it after you had said that. I had to refrain from replying because I was about to be rude. Ignorance is bliss.

Dana - posted on 09/08/2010

11,264

35

489

I can't believe someone would be completely against bans in schools...how asinine.

[deleted account]

Nope. My thoughts mimic yours, Dana.



"I think of course that no schools should enforce a ban unless there has been a medical test done and results from a doctor AND only if there is a severe reaction, intolerance's do not count. I don't think they should ban strawberries because some kid gets hives if he eats them." ~ Dana Schenk



I completely agree and I seriously wonder about some parents. I posted this thread in PD&HT as well and one of the moms who is completely against bans in schools gave an example of a kid who was "severely" allergic to strawberries and would get hives that looked like burns AND she couldn't understand the difference between that and a child going into anaphylactic shock or dying. I think schools need to insist on proof.



I also think we need to educate students, staff and parents about allergies. Enforcing a ban on peanuts is only the first step to decreasing the risks when there is a severe allergy. EVERYONE needs to be more informed and more prepared in the event that something does happen. EVERYONE needs to understand the severity and how to help prevent a serious reaction.

Dana - posted on 09/08/2010

11,264

35

489

Wow, I'm really late to this debate. A couple of things first, here in the US they now recommend NOT holding off on peanut butter for young children.

Jodi, I too had what I thought was an allergy to bee's. I swell up horribly and get a rash,. Once my foot swelled up 3 times the size and I couldn't walk on it for several days, I seriously thought my skin was going to split open from the pressure (not from walking, just the swelling itself). I went my whole life (well, since 1st grade) thinking I was allergic. I went to the allergist, he said it's not an allergy (after testing), it's just a strong reaction. Although...I am allergic to wasps and hornets. So it is good to have a test done and see exactly what it is. I now carry and epi pen, which I should have been doing for years. :|



I think of course that no schools should enforce a ban unless there has been a medical test done and results from a doctor AND only if there is a severe reaction, intolerance's do not count. I don't think they should ban strawberries because some kid gets hives if he eats them.

I wouldn't be opposed to a peanut ban if there was a child who had an allergy to peanuts.



Does anyone think there should be a full out ban on peanuts even if there isn't a child in the school with an allergy?

[deleted account]

Here is where I stand. On things like peanut butter.. it's already in place and won't be changing any time soon. Could this be dealt with better yes? I fully believe that they could just do an allergy room for the children with food issues and everyone else in general rooms and hand washing being required after they finish eating --they should already be doing this, but actually enforcing it.

Also there are way too many people listing that their child has an allergy to something (peanuts) who do not. I feel that for this severe an allergy claim, documentation should be supplied and yes they should be carrying an epi pen.

If we continue to ban everything we will eventually run out of things safe for children to eat that are healthy/appealing.

Also parents need to start educating their children better. My cousin is severely allergic to peanuts. So much so that she was told an epi pen won't even save her unless she happened to be in the hospital at the time of exposure.
She grew up being exposed to peanuts and peanut products all through school (she always took her lunch). She never once had to use her epi pen and she is a live and well today.
She was taught from the time she was 2 that she had to ask Mom or Dad before she ate anything when they weren't at home. If someone offered her something at school she had to say no because it could make her sick and go to the hospital. As she got older they filled in more details.
She was taught that smarties were the only safe chocolate candy and jelly beans were also fine. Anything else she had to bring home unopened to her parents.

So as to who's responsibility is it with regards to allergies and school? Mainly the parents and the child. The school staff are really just support in this case. They are there to help facilitate that the child does not eat anything they shouldn't (so nothing that isn't in their lunch) and that proper clean up is done.

Those are my 2 cents. I might have more later.. ;)

Jaime - posted on 09/07/2010

4,427

24

196

You also make a lot of great points Mary and that's why I will always support food bans in schools. But, on the flip side I hope that schools can begin a proactive approach to dealing with allergies. Not just reacting when a problem occurs. I agree that young children are more prone to making mistakes or being tempted and dismissing their allergy for a mere second. I do think it is wholly up to the parents and school staff to communicate and fully educate students across the board about allergies so that everyone can be prepared. Even if it's a code that the kids learn, where one student or two are given the task of running for help to speed up the process of delivering the epi shot. It could cut down significantly on the worry that some parents feel when their kids are at school all day without the safety of constant supervision.

[deleted account]

I agree Cailtin, impulses in kindergarten are definitely something to watch for and can be an issue... now the problem lies in the lack of supervision... a whole new can of worms.

[deleted account]

Mylene - my concerns are the same as Caitlin's. I'm not talking about highschool or college bans....I'm talking about daycares and preschool aged kids....they can't be trusted. I can't trust Roxanne at 3-4 years old to understand the gravity of her allergy and I certain won't trust another person's child.

Caitlin - posted on 09/07/2010

1,915

5

171

Jessica - so you want us to stick all our allergic kids on one room and not allow them contact with other kids at lunch? So they can`t make friends and chat with other kids? That just fuels the fire IMO and kids will be making fun of that kid for being different. What about in a smaller community where there may only be 1 or 2 allergic kids? Where do they eat, in the hall? That still doesn't solve the problem of peanut oil beign spread everywhere by a;ll the sticky little hands touching all the toys.
And just so you know, taking my daughter anywhere - a play place, a party, a family dinner requires a ton of preparation, and ends up being no fun for me. All the kids in ym family make sure they wash their hands after they eat so they wont touch my daughter and cause a reaction, I have to keep her in a high chair while everyone eats so her grabby little hands dont grab the wrong food (she's not even 2, she can't even begin to understand) and I sit there with her medical kit, watching her every move so I can spot a reaction just when it starts so I can intervene early and save us a few days in the ICU..

Mylene - while I agree with most of what you said, I have problems with trusting a 5 year old to be 100% responsible when it comes to food. No matter how often you tell them and explain it, that chocolate cupcake with pink sprinkles (and possibly an allergen inside) may be too tempting, their impulse control in Kindergarden isn't well enough developed. That is also why I plan on making sure my daughters teacher in the future is VERY good at spotting the signs of a reaction.

Jaime - posted on 09/07/2010

4,427

24

196

Well said Mylene...you make some very good points. And it's interesting that your friend who is allergic to multiple foods is on the anti-ban side of the argument. I agree that children need to be informed on all fronts...not just the kids with allergies, but everyone. It's not a bad idea to have discussions about safety procedures and emergency situations to prepare children for a potentially traumatic situation. We support fire drills, tornado drills, earth quake drills and on and on...but we don't insist on educating children about allergens? Instead we want to ban these allergens and just deal with the problems as they come. I'm a big believer in pro-active rather than reactive.



Dana, I know you are new to the allergy game and you are doing some mad research right now on all fronts, but I really think you have gone about it the right way. You're open-minded about educating your daughter about her allergy, while also considering the potential danger of sending her to school where she can't be monitored at a young age. I absolutely feel that schools need to be hands-on about allergies and have safety measures in place (some schools do and some don't). Kids are in school for about 1/3 of their day, and 1/3 they are sleeping...so it's really a 50-50 split between home and school. It makes much more sense to educate overall rather than micro manage each case as it happens.

[deleted account]

I have a friend who was allergic to about 20 different foods growing up... chicken, eggs, tree nuts, seafood, etc... Did they ban all those foods when he was in school? NO. He learned to deal with his allergies and was always very careful of what he touched and ate. He is against bans in schools and I agree with him. Kids who live with allergies that are life threatening should be educated about it early on.



I do support however that any students who are eating peanut butter sandwiches or other foods containing common allergens (peanuts and nuts mostly) should be eating at a specific table away from children who have allergies and taught to clean up properly after themselves. It teaches both children who are allergic and those who are not responsibility.



These same children who have allergies have to know how to prevent allergic reactions and how to deal with them as they are growing up. Peanuts aren't going to be banned in College or the workplace... If kids don't learn, how will they survive? In this case it is really a survival issue and IMO, it's detrimental for children to be shielded from such an important issue.

Jessica - posted on 09/07/2010

215

41

24

i think that its getting a little crazy!
I understand that many children have serious allergies and am LUCKY that my son is fine so far.
My concern is - how do you take the child anywhere else? any play place, the park, what happens when they grow up?
I think children with serious allergies should have a seperate lunch room. This way they will be able to bond and make friends with other kids in the same problems as they have, which may give them options of places to go in the future. (allergy free bday parties for eg.)

JuLeah - posted on 09/06/2010

3,133

38

681

I knew a father once who had a PBnJ for lunch, did wash his hands after, but still had peanut oil on his hands when he went home and picked up his baby girl.

Within minutes, she was not breathing and had to be rushed to the ER

We are all responsible, in my opinion.

We don't feed our kids food, but ediable food like substances - fast food, trans fats, chemicals, sugar, dyes.... we heat up formula in plastic bottles, we allow them near all kinds of harsh cleaners, pestidides .... their little bodies can't handle the toxens we give them

Allergies are one of the many poor results .... we also have more Autisum, cancer, ADHD .... on and on

Our kids are not expected to live as long as we are - they are overweight, sick, have learning problems ..... and we, as a society, seem to be okay with this

[deleted account]

I don't necessarily think there's been an increase in allergies....I just think people are more aware that food allergies can lead to other medical problems so testing for them has become more prevelant. I would have never guessed Roxanne was allergic to eggs and soybean but she is. Peanuts are her only severe allergy. Perhaps there seems likes theres an increase only because more people are being tested nowadays? If Roxanne's peanut allergy wasn't obvious, we would have never had her tested and therefore we would never be claiming she had allergies. Do I make sense? I do in my head.

Charlie - posted on 09/05/2010

11,203

111

401

haha I KNOW .

its easier to understand on their site what they used to suggest like delayed feeding of eggs , milk ect and excluding allergen foods in pregnancy and breastfeeding is no longer valid unless your family has history of allergies .

They have virtually done a backflip on their food policies reguarding possible allergies .

Stifler's - posted on 09/05/2010

15,141

154

597

You hear all sorts of shit you're not supposed to eat or do when pregnant, it's ridiculous.

Jodi - posted on 09/05/2010

25,928

36

3891

LOL Loureen, that info just confused the heck out of me. One minute they say you can, next you can't, and then a week later you can.......so really, in conclusion, they really don't know what the fuck they are talking about???

[deleted account]

@ Dana. I apologise if it looked like I was implying that parents who have children with allerigies don't teach them about it. That's not what I was saying, but I can see how it might have come across that way.

It's a difficult issue and I'm not sure what the solution is. It would make life more difficult for us if nuts were banned from school, but it wouldn't be life threatening liike it is for some children who might come into contact with nut residue. I can understand the reason behind a nut ban, but I'm not sure how far food banning should go. I certainly don't think children with allergies should be chased out of school though. Children with allerges have as much right to a public education as anyone else and some schools might have to do something drastic to accomodate it.

Charlie - posted on 09/05/2010

11,203

111

401

Yes but the AAP no longer advises that pregnant women stop eating peanuts .

"A 2003 study found no association between breastfeeding and peanut allergy, and there was no difference in peanut intake during lactation between mothers with and without children with peanut allergy."

So feel free to eat peanuts girls :D

Charlie - posted on 09/05/2010

11,203

111

401

In the AAP’s 2000 recommendations it was recommended to delay introduction of foods with the most common allergens. The recommendations included cow’s milk at twelve months, eggs at twenty-four months, peanuts, nuts and fish at thirty-six months; however, these recommendations have changed based on more current research. The AAP now recommends no delay in introduction of any of these foods. They state “there is no evidence for delaying introduction of any foods beyond this period [4-6 months], including those considered highly allergenic (e.g., fish, eggs, foods containing peanut protein)”



Although previous AAP publications have suggested that pregnant women avoid peanuts,3,11 a more recent study has reported that there is no association between the maternal consumption of peanuts during pregnancy and childhood peanut allergy.12 Previous AAP publications have advised lactating mothers with infants at high risk of developing allergy to avoid peanuts and tree nuts and to consider eliminating eggs, cow milk, and fish from their diets while nursing.3,11 Dietary food allergens can be detected in breast milk, including peanuts, cow milk protein, and egg. Two studies found a preventive effect of maternal dietary exclusion of milk, egg, and fish while breastfeeding on the development of atopic dermatitis in the infant. Other studies found no association between the development of atopic diseases and a maternal exclusion diet. A 2003 study found no association between breastfeeding and peanut allergy, and there was no difference in peanut intake during lactation between mothers with and without children with peanut allergy. Dietary food allergens in human milk may interact with the mucosal immune system20 and induce allergic reactions in infants who are known to be clinically allergic to the antigen. Rare cases of anaphylaxis to cow milk protein present in human milk have been described even in exclusively breastfed infants.



http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi...

[deleted account]

My personal, unscientific opinion on the subject is that it's avoiding things like peanut butter while pregnant that increase the risk of allergies. Obviously eating it while pregnant doesn't guarantee that your child won't be allergic, but I do think avoiding it can/may create even more allergies. Maybe it's just cuz there are no food allergies in my family anyway, but I ate peanut products during pregnancy and breastfeeding and all my kids had them by age one.

Then again, I know a woman who's child reacted badly to peanut products (and many other foods) while she was breastfeeding. He has a LOT of severe allergies.

Yeah, so basically I don't really know what I'm talking about. I just want to be included. ;)

[deleted account]

Yeah, I normally don't like peanut butter. But I've craved it with both pregnancies. Maybe my body needs the protein and iron or something.

Stifler's - posted on 09/05/2010

15,141

154

597

I think we should still be allowed to celebrate with food. It's people sending chips, cookies, cake and slice in the kids lunch box every day that is causing obesity not an end of term class party.

Stifler's - posted on 09/05/2010

15,141

154

597

I still ate peanuts and prawns because I thought it was a load of crap. I still ate fish too and deli meat and coleslaw and cheerios because I craved them.

Caitlin - posted on 09/05/2010

1,915

5

171

I spoke to my daughters allergist about the connection between eating peanut butter and pregnancy and she basically said it's the latest load of bull. I was asking at the time because I was pregnant with our second and wanted to know if avoiding peanut butter while pregnant might make a difference, and she said you can make studies say almost anything you want by manipulating the numbers. We still have our fingers crossed for #2 not having allergies!

I wouldn''t home school my daughter because of her allergies, and I'd go off on anyone telling me I should.

The only thing I will truly advocate for when my daughter is in school would be eliminating food holidays. Those things are stupid in my opinion, and we're teaching our kids the only way to celebrate anything is with cookies/cakes/chips etc.. I don't see why, even though when I was a kid, I loved those days, but it's just so dangerous, and with obesity ont he rise, I don't see why people are so defensive about their right to bring in cake/cupcakes/donuts etc for any holiday or birthday when there are so many non-food ways of celebrating.

Even if a parent sends the ingredient list into school, it wont help. For instance, there are a ton of baking ingredients that arent' safe. Fry's cocoa powder (the big can) may contain milk, store brand marshmallows sometimes may contain peanuts, most packaged nuts may contain peanuts (actually, i'd say 99% or them), an whos to say the parent didnt' bake peanut butter cookies last time on the baking sheet, and there were still traces of the peanut oil (I know sometimes my baking sheets don't get 100% clean afterwards, but I never bake with those ingredients for just that reason!)

Also, parents of kide without allergies may not understand all the alternate terms for a food (like dairy - there's anything with lactose in the term, whey, casein... all terms for milk proteins.. for egg, anything with "ovo" in it, or albumin, it's a confusing world out there! Another reason iI wont trust my daughter to be responsible for knowing these names and reading the labels on her own till she is much older!

Jodi - posted on 09/05/2010

25,928

36

3891

I ate peanuts when I was pregnant with both kids. It wasn't on the banned list then..... It just sounds like another theory they are testing.

C. - posted on 09/05/2010

4,125

35

238

Yes it is, Jenny. At least within the last year or so. I heard it on the Today Show while I was coincidentally making my son a PB&J sandwich.

They are saying it can give your baby an increased risk of the food allergy, BUT at the same time.. How many moms ate peanut butter while pregnant and still nothing happened? I ate LOADS of peanut butter with my son and he's been eating it himself since he turned 1 year old. He is not allergic. I know that I can't base it on just my son or anything.. But what about the numbers of women that eat it and nothing happens to their babies at all?

Jenny - posted on 09/05/2010

4,426

16

126

The only things I was told not to eat while pregnant were sushi and certain fish due to mercury concerns. Is this peanut ban while pregnant fairly new?

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms