My daughter has a peanut allergy, we just had her retested and now she is very severe. I thought I would be proactive and start working with our school district prior to her starting kindergarten. (fall 09) It was a good choice, and the school district is really working on a plan, but I need input from other families. Are your schools peanut free and why are some families so openly hostile about the nut free idea? In my daughters case even being touched by someone who has peanut residue on their hands could be deadly.
Shelia - posted on 05/16/2013
I just found this group and am very thankful. I have a 12 year old daughter that we have dealt with a life-threatening Peanut allergy since she was 1 years old. (along with a hole host of other allergies) It blows my mind to think and I have witnessed not just parents but even teachers that have treated her (discriminated) against her in the classroom. It breaks my heart. I have found that being proactive is certainly the best approach and I don't worry about offending others. It is refreshing to read some of these comments and know that there are others that have had some experiences. I wish I had found this early. We are entering Jr High and it is scary each school year to educate everyone on the do's and do nots.
Aaryn - posted on 01/27/2009
Thanks for your comments, the school is working with me in forming a plan. I don't think we're there yet, and I feel like this isn't just for my child, but for every child with a severe allergy. I agree that many adults believe that food allergies are just a farce and that they can be treated with exposure! Can you believe that? Actually, I can.:) Thank you again, it helps to know that there are people who I don't know who care. Thank you again.
DeNeice - posted on 01/27/2009
I think that most people think of allergies in a "makes you uncomfortable" sort of way
not in a "touch it and you die" way. Because they don't realize the seriousness of the
allergies, they don't understand why everyone has to give something up because of one person. To you, it seems like a no brainer. But you live this everyday, they do not.
Maybe some education on allergies via flyers and hand outs could be sent home with each child in the school that explains how serious and deadly an allergy can be. No
one wants to be responsible for harming a child, they just don't understand. Cut the
other parents and the school a bit of slack. They are not out to kill your child. Education is the key.
Jennifer - posted on 01/26/2009
I work in a school and believe it or not this is the first year we have had a severe peanut allergy! I was mortified to find out that there were parents in this child's class who were "balking" at the request for the room to be peanut free! They actually refused to follow the request! The teacher has since established the routine that any child with a lunch box is to leave it outside of the classroom in a laundry basket. There is then a peanut free table at snack and in the cafeteria that the allergic child sits at with her peers that do not have food that would be harmful to her. I do not know if this "compromise" of sorts would work for your child, or if the allergy is too severe - good luck!
Emily - posted on 01/14/2009
It seems that every year there are more and more children in my children's school that have severe reactions to peanuts, though there are some to other foods as well. My friend's daughter is one of these children and I know that she has gone to great lengths to make sure her child is safe at school. I believe it is called a 504 plan that is a plan in place, allowed by law, to see to her safety. The cafeteria has a nut tree table and they are sure to clean it with separate rags so as to not just smear the peanut butter from one place to the other. I believe her teacher has and knows how to use an epi pen, but that is the teacher's choice to do that. The nurse, as long as the school has one on the premises every day, is ok. But with so many kids with this allergy, I feel the more people that know what to do, the better. I know that she has changed the bus route so that her daughter is not the last off the bus as the bus driver will not use an epi pen. She has to be constantly vigilant, even with art projects, but this child has multiple allergies, not just to peanuts. She is also allergic to flour and dairy among other things, so these allergies really dictate how they live.
As a parent, I do not send in snacks with peanut butter or other tree nuts and for birthday parties or other special occassions, if I know who the child is (Hipa laws prevent disclosure), I ask the parent what are safe foods. The teacher always knows, so they can be liason for me. I have been taught that you always have to check the labels as recipes change and even when I prepare foods at home that are nut free, ideally I use a disposable pan and all utensils have been run through the dishwasher before use.
I feel these kids have been dealt a tough hand and I want to help them feel as included as possible. I agree that most parents are only becoming aware of allergies, so be empowered to educate them if you can. When I was a child, the only allergies I knew of was hay fever and that didn't kill anyone that I knew of. Once we realize children in our neighborhoods are in danger, we come around to do what we can. Of course, I am still really afraid I might accidently hurt a child, but I will do what I can to make sure these kids have as normal a childhood as they can, including being invited to my house for birthdays and sleepovers. I can deal with a little inconvenience. Best of luck to you. Make sure you get the emotional support you need as well.
Angie - posted on 01/14/2009
I work in a school system where one school is totally peanut free, including the teacher's lounge area. This is due to a child having severe peanut allergies. I understand to a certain extent about allergies. I had in my classroom several years ago, a child that was allergic to a LIST of items. We all had to be sensitive to this child and what she could and could not eat. I checked labels like a madman! Recently I thought that since the child was older I would no longer have to deal with this type of allergy sensitivity. My own children do not have any food allergies, unless pickiness is one! :) Anyway, in my class this year I have a child with severe milk allergies. It is so bad that even if a child accidentally spills milk on him, I have to give him Benadryal and possibly use the Epi-pen.
I believe that some people and schools, do not take others into consideration. We all have things that are our weakness, much like peanut M&Ms, but if it makes us fat.....then we need to cut it out! We need to be proactive and take all into consideration. We already do this with children by teaching appreciation of all colors of skins and races. Maybe you should take this opportunity to your local school board and see what they can do. Best wishes in your venture! I know that you will do your child justice.
Connie - posted on 01/14/2009
My daughter had a student with severe peanut allergy. They made that classroom peanut free. You couldn't bring anything in that had peanuts in it or was made in a peanut place. My daughter is in special education so I don't know if that would make them more accomadating.
Nicole - posted on 01/09/2009
Hi Aaryn, I hope your child's severity does not increase due to exposure and I understand your concern in sending her to school next year in a place that does allow peanut based products. You are right in starting early to make a change. While it is a scary undertaking, and can be a frustrating road it can be done. I would recommend you do a search on peanut allergy or anaphylactic allergies in schools as I am certain there are some programs out there to assist and help you make a change in your school. It has been done so there are groups out there to help you. It is both a lack of education and a lack of understanding that drives others to a devensive position. We live in a world in which allergies are becoming increasingly more severe and more difficult to manage. But, it is still the minority that must deal with these ongoing challenges.
Schools struggle with the needs of many children who require medical attention and special procedures. I have found, in my own personal battle, to approach the situation understanding that the school and I are a team and we both have the same goal... to keep my child safe. I have utilized resources out there to support my fight and to help me facilitate the best team approach possible. We have put procedures in place, training has taken place, and while it is not perfect I work each day to improve things and to keep making progress toward my end goal.
The fact remains that your child has an allergy that she will have to manage for her entire life and she will have to live in an imperfect world. My child's challenge is different, but very severe and fully mis-understood as well. A cooperative approach has been my best ally along with resources and a solid plan. My goal is not to change the opinion of the communityaround me, but to facilitate a change in the school and leave it to the school to manage the community response.
It can be done and your dedication to your child will pay off if you approach the school with a goal and try as hard as you can to eliminate as much emotion as you can when pursuing your goal of a peanut free school.
Crystal - posted on 01/07/2009
The main problem is lack of education. Most people who grumble about schools going nut free really don't understand just how severe these allergies can be. Peanut butter is definately one of the easiest, least expensive things to send in a child's lunch, so for some families on a tight budget they are looking at it from the perspective that they can't afford anything else. I think that if more information on the subject was made available to parents before the school goes nut free that might help. Newsletters could be sent home, or even an evening seminar or something explaining the whole situation. No one wants to endanger a child's life, they just don't understand how severe such allergies can be.
WOW! That is a severe allergy. It amazes me how something that is food for one person is deadly for another. I have allergies so I understand to some degree what you're dealing with (although none of mine are instant death!) I understand your motherbear instincts as I'm the same, and I think its good and wise to take such precautions. I can also understand the parents who don't have this issue to deal with and feel inconvienced; however, for the sake of a child's life inconvience is no excuse. If you're not allergic to nuts they are a very healthy food and my family eats alot of them, but I would NEVER knowingly have them anywhere around someone with allergies. Infact if I take food to a gathering I write down ingredients so that anyone with allergies can make wise choices.
I honestly don't know if the schools in our area are peanut free because I'm choosing to homeschool but I can imagine that in larger centers it wouldn't be uncommon. I wish you all the best as you prepare to have your child in a safe place.
Amy - posted on 12/30/2008
i was a bit poutty when our school became peanut-free as my son would only eat peanut butter at the time.hes now in grade seven and has managed to find many other things he likes to eat so it was a bit of a blessing as he was forced to try other foods. it was hard at first as i didnèt really understand the severity of the allergy until i saw on the news on day that a teenage boy accidentally killed his girl-friend by kissing her as he forgot he ate peanut butter earlier. i dont know how ANY parent can think its o.k. to put anyones child at risk due to laziness! bulling in unacceptable well so is peanut butter so people should just learn to deal its not the end of the world to give up peanut butter or peanut things just eat them in the comfort of your own home as we all know those who have a problem with being peanut free would be singing a different tune if it was them who had to trust other people with their childs life and it is a matter of life and death. i live in canada and our schools are peanut free and all the kids seem to be growing quite nicely without peanut butter in their life best of luck and my best advice is educate the school most parents dont understand the severity of the allergy u would allow bees into a class where a child had an allergy so why allow peanut butter good luck to you a your little sweet pea.
Aaryn, I think it is lack of communication and education about the severity of the issue. I noticed someone else wrote something about it being inconvenient to other parents. That's an unfortunate attitude that I think is quite pervasive and explains a lot of the hostility. It may be inconvenient for other families to have to ensure their children go to school with nut-free foods, but it would be tragic if a child died because they didn't.
Jana - posted on 12/15/2008
I agree with your last post! I don't personally know anyone with a peanut allergy and my daughter won't be in school for a few years but I would do anything asked of me to help keep children healthy/alive. I hope that it won't take long before more people realize that a peanut allergy is no joke and that change isn't always a bad thing. I always remind people that if things didn't change, women wouldn't have the right to vote, so changing how we need to pack school lunches is nothing in comparison. I wish you and your family the best and I hope that if you keep the pressure on, the school will change their ways. Good luck and good health!
Aaryn - posted on 12/15/2008
Thank you all for your responses, I have been a little overwhelmed by the whole prospect, the school is reluctant to make changes, and I know that people will be resistant. I love peanuts, peanut butter, frankly anything containing peanuts! But I love my child more. Thats why I get so frustrated by the "convenience" argument, and the cost argument. There are other inexpensive options.
A funeral for a young child is neither convenient or cost effective. And I realize that parents who don't have this concern often can't see past the no peanut deal. But I don't get how parents don't understand the importance of keeping any child safe. I love all kids, I would be heartsick if I knew I had anything to do with even passing on an illness to a little one. Forget doing something that could contribute to a childs death. This is so much bigger then my child, or peanut butter. It's a matter of life and death for people with anaphylatic allergies.
Jennifer - posted on 12/09/2008
My youngest child has peanut allergies. The school that my older two attend must have some sort of plan in place. I have attended lunch at the school and there is one little boy who sits at a table (with friends), but has a big sign for everyone to see that says "Peanut free zone". And when my oldest child was in kindergarten, they told us that there was a child in the class with deadly peanut allergies and that we could not send any form of peanut. Now being in 3rd grade, he does have a child who has peanut allergies, but we were told he is ok and they can bring peanut stuff, but the staff is very observant with what everyone has, so that hands are washed properly and everything is cleaned. When my oldest entered school and they told us about the child with deadly allergies, I was so upset...how can you expect parents to afford deli meat and avoid peanuts (how do you live without peanut butter cups?). But as I started to understand the allergy, I realized that I would not want any child to die, because I screwed up. So, we made the change to help other children. Our kids understand the allergy thing and get disappointed about not being able to have peanut m&m or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but they understand and don't want anything to happen to someone they know and they know all the kids at school). So, their understanding has helped us to reinforce no peanut products. And of course, now my youngest has the allergy and they won't retest him until next winter. So, for now we keep a peanut free house and when we send snacks to school, we always double check labels! I too intend to work with my school when Brayden is old enough to start school
Laurie - posted on 12/03/2008
To be fair to the rest of the moms out there, banning peanut butter is a big inconvenience to a majority of parents, who did not have children with allergies. Peanut butter is a low cost, high calorie food that will not spoil when it sits in a lunch bag, and kids are actually willing to eat it. There was a reason our moms packed it when we were kids. By comparison, making a turkey sandwich is more expensive, often includes giving kids processed meats with nitrates and could be breeding ground for bacteria as it sits in their desk all day. Basically, I think it comes down to convenience, and feeling like there are so many rules now that just did not exist when we were growing up. I have a dear friend with a nut allergy, and I get that it is terrifying that a simple mistake could be deadly. At the same time, I also understand when 1000 people have to change their habits to accommodate one or two children it results in resistance.
Jana - posted on 11/24/2008
I don't have any advice but I have some thought as to way some people just don't understand peanut allergies. I think people who are hostile towards being nut free is because it requires them to have to think about what they do with their children. Plus I have heard from my sister in law whos school is nut free (Canada) that some parents think that nut allergies are a myth and that kids just need to "toughen up" Oh I guess I do have one tip that you should make sure happens because of your daughter severity, if the school does go "nut free" make sure the teacher lounge in "nut free" too. Some schools think that teachers can just wash their hands and be ok thay don't think about peanut dust/residue on clothes. I wish you luck in your crusade and hope your daughter never has to worry at school.
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