STARTING KINDERGARTEN, I NEED ADVICE

Wendy - posted on 01/13/2010 ( 21 moms have responded )

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Hi, everyone, my daughter is starting kindergarten. She has Milk, Treenut, Pork & Beef allergies. She is also contact allergic to all. Along with all the other conditions like, severe hives from grass/pollen contact, Anything acidic touching her skin, sunblocks, et cetera. She also has asthma, which is under control with a maintenance inhaled steroid twice daily. I know I will not be able to ever be free of and have her away from her allergens, most kids sit at a peanut free table, I don't have that luxury, she will always have someone sitting next to her with one or more allergens. I do have the options of picking her up for lunch or having her sit by herself, which I would never do, I want her to be in a equal situation as the other children. In kindergarten at such a young age, I'm not confident that she can be an advocate for herself and really want an aide to be near her at lunch. I've heard many schools will have a peanut free table and all the children with allergies wil sit there with an aide trained to take care of them. I feel this is appropriate for my daughter also, but the school in which she will go says they don't have any food allergic children right now and if they did I would still not get a aide to watch. I would like to know what others are doing in this situation, that have more than just nut allergies, and are at a young enough age to not be in control of their own health issues? Do you have a specific aide for lunch, are they secluded, any advice would be great. I'm driving myself crazy with scenerios of what to do?

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Barbara - posted on 02/29/2012

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A great article was published on SnackSafely.com a few days ago entitled "A Mom’s Perspective: A Guide to Registering Your Food Allergic Child for Kindergarten" - it outlines a step-by-step process and provides a number of policies that your should engage your child's school to adopt. You can find it here: http://snacksafely.com/2012/02/guide-to-...

Katrina - posted on 04/19/2010

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My daughter will be starting kindergarten this year as well, with a peanut and milk allergy. Our school is very pro active with food allergies. I had more paper work to fill out for her allergies than i had to register her for school. The district nurse has already been in contact with me. And there is a special open house day for kids with allergies, where teachers, parents and kids will go through all the extras that our kids will need to know (if an exposure happens, lunch room, lunch line, ect). With this extra day we will all know exactly what to do with out being singled out in front of the other kids and all school staff will have face time to know allergy kids.
I was very scared about public school and her allergies. Lucky for me, moms before me have made there allergy needs known loud and clear.

[deleted account]

Here I am worried my son will have issues with drinking milk and there are such severe allergies out there. How do the kids find stuff they can eat!? It seems like everything has been made where they have been exposed to peanuts. Good luck.

Karen - posted on 02/27/2010

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Wendy, there is good news for you and your daughter. Today is much better living with food allergies than even yesterday. We all want what's best for our kids.



The allergies you mentioned your daughter will probably out grow except for the tree nuts. Children with a tree nut allergy are encouraged not to include peanuts in their diet because so often they are processed in the same food facility.



Encourage Peanut Aware Policy at the school. Get involved in everything going on. Educate what you learn yourself and be kind to parents of non allergic. SchoolSafe SoyButter is an awesome new peanut butter replacement that tastes just like peanut butter and is an inexpensive plant protein in comparison to meat and a very nutritious food staple. It will work for you and your childs classmates.



What most people object to is being told they cannot take something and not given a suitable replacement. Peanut butter has been a kids favourite sandwich for as long as I can remember. Principals, Teachers, Parents, Kids find School Safe Soybutter a perfect switch. There is even a School Safe Procedure Letter for use if needed. It endorses the parents commitment to school policy and needs of children with peanut and tree nut allergies.



The question of banning anything in schools is very controversial. We live in a world that is virtually contaminated with potential allergens. Anaphylactic children must learn to avoid specific triggers. While the key responsibility lies with the anaphylactic person and his/her family, in the case of the young anaphylactic child, the school community must be aware.



Other food allergens are not banned but kids are taught as you will have your own not to share any lunch items, containers or utensils and I have encouraged health units to include hand washing and hygiene for allergy protection when they educate flu prevention and the spread of germs.



For more information on SchoolSafe SoyButter and the Scool Safe Procedure visit: www.schoolsafefood.com, www.schoolsafeprocedure.com and for retail locations www.soybutter.com where the update stores carrying this item.



Embrace the peanut and tree nut free products that have been processed in peanut and tree nut free facilities where staff are scrutinized and adhere to strick regulations regarding plant peanut and tree nut policy. The very fact that they have stepped up to the challenge is further educating thousands of people on the severity of peanut and tree nut allergy.



Peanut allergy is not going away and continually shows signs of increase. We as responsible people must all be aware and we must thank parents for coming to our assistance because they are walking in our shoes everyday they pack their childs lunch for a peanut aware school.



Karen

Leanna - posted on 02/20/2010

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My mother works for an elementary school and as a parent of a child with egg and peanut allergies she is always keeping me aware of what to do when my daugher (now only 2.5 y.o) begins pre-school or school. Keep in really good contact with the teacher, office staff and nurse for the school or district, even the person head of the cafeteria. You'd be surprised how many kids suffer from allergies these days, if not exactly the same at least similar with some of the same allergies. I'm sure there is a program or someone available (like the lunch room monitor) to do a check-in or monitor the children during lunch. I would imagine that some schools even keep the kinder age kids separated from the older kids so they're easier to watch.

I also think it's important to begin teaching your child what they can and cannot have, which is extremely difficult with younger children but my mom has told me comparison stories about kids who have been taught to be aware and those who haven't been or arent't as aware. It's hard but choosing to seclude them makes it a little more difficult in the long run if she doesn't learn at a young age how to manage around and avoid potential allergies she'll encounter.

[deleted account]

My daughter was the first at her school. We compromised and she sat at the end of the table with the kids. She had a milk allergy (anaphylaxsis). You need to advocate for her. I went in at the beginning of the year with the DVD and stickers from FAAN. The kids really listened and really watched out for her. Many spent years at home telling their parents what my daughter can't eat if she was at their house.My daughter is now in 4th grade and just outgrew her allergy 2 months ago! She says to tell you that your daughter will need you to have a big mouth. She always felt safe because her friends were so careful.

Kelly - posted on 02/10/2010

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I am right there with you Wendy. Mine is starting next year and is allergic to WHEAT, EGGS, and Peanut, Tree nuts. So I am also looking for advice.

Karen - posted on 02/09/2010

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Maybe there could be at least one day a week where your daughter could be in the same calss with all her friends but all parents in the class would have to agree to take SchoolSafe Soybutter that day. It is peanut and nut free, gluten and dairy free and kids like it just like peanut butter. It's better than always being in a room by yourself. Your child's food allergies will, with your help, educate how important it is to reduce the risk of anaphylaxis due to certain allergens, what ones are the most severe and how to practice good hygiene. Health officials are already educating hygiene to prevent colds and flus but it is important to wash before and after eating in classrooms where children have food allergies. For the more severe peanut allergies great care must be taken because of the minute amount present that will cause a response and if ingested it could be fatal. Visit www.schoolsafefood.com and www.schoolsafeprocedure.com.

Lynn - posted on 02/06/2010

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Hello,and I know how stressful this is,ugh! My pn allergic child is also VERY allergicto shellfish,and his school serves shrimp poppers,he does sit at the allergy free table,and this table MUST be free of all of the childs allergens.We do not have an aide just for him,but they are wonderful at looking out for him.I also have a snack rule for the classroom,he can only eat food for his snacks that I provide,so I have a bg of snacks just for him.I make sure that I am at all parties,if I can't be,my Mom goes. The kids who sit with him at the allergy table are "checked" by the staff to make sure that their lunch is allergy free,they do a good job at his school,and I feel fortunate,but I do still worry. Good luck♥

Karen - posted on 02/05/2010

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Wow! As long as soy is not a problem you can direct your school to SchoolSafe SoyButter made in a tree nut and peanut butter free facility. It is gluten free, egg free, dairy free, cholesterol free, trans fat free, no artificial colour or preservative. Has omega 3 and 6 good sub for child diabetics. So often children have peanut allergies vs. tree nut allergies so if yur school has a peanut free policy which usually includes tree nuts but your child can't be where other protein foods are this is a win win for you and classmates - parents too its a simple whole natural food staple kids love and no one has to eat alone. It tastes just like peanut butter which kids love and has no contact with other nuts where it is produced. Visit www.schoolsafefood.com and schoolsafeprocedure.com.

Wendy - posted on 01/21/2010

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Thank you all so much for all the advice. I'm taking it all in and trying to figure out now what is best. I will keep you all posted how things go. I really do appreciate it. Thanks.

Susan - posted on 01/21/2010

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We put our son Jack into a Montessori school in part because we were disappointed with the public schools' pariah approach to allergic kids. His school is not "nut free" and allergic kids are not singled out. Instead, all of the children are taught never to share food at lunch, not to eat anything off the ground and not to touch other children until they have washed their hands after eating. Jack sits between two responsible six year-olds at lunch and is monitored by two teachers, both trained to use an Epi-pen if needed. I feel completely at ease when Jack is at school, because I know they are vigilant and care deeply about his safety. If private school is not an option, I suggest that you investigate whether your daughter's allergies are severe enough to constitute a disability, entitling her to special assistance, such as an aide at lunch. You might even consider contacting a disability rights attorney for a consultation. Good luck and please let us all know how it goes.

Heather - posted on 01/20/2010

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My son will also be startining kindergarten and has peanut, treenut ,soy,egg,pollen, and insect sting allergies. Does your daughter have a medical alert bracelet? Also check daycare centers if you can afford the tuition. They have stricter rules about allergies, and smaller groups of children. I guess all we can do is educate our children and the people caring for them. Good luck with everything! And you can never be too tough on people when it comes to your childs life! Its hard enough living with it, nevermind having to be paranoid about other peoples stupidity!

Amanda - posted on 01/19/2010

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My daughter has multiple food allergies inluding peanuts, milk, eggs, fish and so on. The nuts and eggs are life threatening.I was able to contact the school nutrition center and get my doctor to send in to them all of my daughters food allergies. Most days she is able to eat what all of the other kids are eating. If they have something she is unable to have they provide her with an alternate lunch. This may sound a little bad, but you need to make sure they know you are a pain in the butt. I talked to the nutrtion center at least 5 times before the school year even started and , of course, on the first day the lunch aide gave my daughter milk instead of juice. When she tried to tell them she can't have that they told her to take it and go sit down. I went into the school the next day and raised h*ll! I told them that she knows what she can and can't have and when she tried to let the aide know she didn't listen. Granted the milk would have only made her sick but if it ws nuts she could have died! She got the aide on the radio and let her have it. Just let them know you mean business and them not taking your childs allergies seriously will not be tolerated. Which by the way was really hard for me because I am not an agressive person by any means:)

Chris - posted on 01/19/2010

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I would try to educate your school first and create a plan that will work for her there. She will be in school with the kids from her neighborhood. If you have exhausted all ideas and they won't be helpful I would go higher up. Your child might be the first but there will be many more behind her.,
Just FYI, when my 4th grader started he was the only one in his grade with a food allergy. The principle sat with him at the allergy table the 1st few days till the kids got to know each other and then he could pick 2 friends everyday to sit with them. I had to give him an epi when he was 2 and he has always been very careful of what he eats. Since the school serves Peanut Butter sandwiches I do not let them buy lunch. He knows from an early age what he can and can't eat and doesn't wish to be sick.
Also, My kindergartner was at music class and the teacher was handing out pretzel nuggets the 1st week of school and she told her she couldn't eat them. As you may know some pretzels ate made on the same equipment as peanuts so I don't let them eat them. (snyders) but they eat Rold Gold or Utz. I was impressed that my 5 yr old knew the difference and told the teacher. The teacher learned something knew and made sure she had tthe right pretzels next time.
Have Faith and keep good communication with your kids and the school.

Chris - posted on 01/19/2010

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I have two allergy kids 4th grade just peanuts and Kindergarten Peanuts & eggs both have asthma also. Only on the high pollen days do they see the nurse after recess.



Ask for the allergy table anyway. They can put it at one end of the lunch room and the regular lunch aides can keep an eye on her. At our school, the kids get to invite friends from their class to sit with them. (as long as they don't have any peanuts, nuts) This will help your child to be social and to be away from most of her food allergies. They also have all the kids wash their hands before going back to class so there is no contact in the classroom.

I send a snack box in with my kids to have in case there is a celebration of a birthday or the teacher is giving out a treat for something. They have peanut/nut free classrooms and the snack box has snacks that they can have.

I am in contact with the teacher or class parent from the beginning of the school year. We talk about the allergies and I educate them if they are not familiar. They usually ask for a list of things that is good and then when they have a bigger party (like Halloween, Christmas, Valentines, Easter, Last day of school) they have a good amount of stuff that my kids can eat. I also make sure there is 1 thing that I make so I know they are able to have at least one homemade item. (cookies, cupcakes brownies.) Then even if the parents don't think of it the classmates don't want their friend to get sick so they will check to make sure they send in stuff that can be shared,

Your school has to recognize the needs of your child. And if they are not willing to do that go to the next person higher up, till you get someone to see the light.

Hope this helps.

[deleted account]

I don't think it would be rediculous at all! I've learnt from my daughters I have to listen to my instincts.

Wendy - posted on 01/16/2010

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Thanks for responding. I was thinking of asking the district to put her into another elemtary school in this district with more food allergic children. I haven't yet and don't know if I'm asking for something ridiculous. She is severly allergic and she is very good with asking about the ingredients of things, but she's five and I'm not truly confident that she won't do it. I've been with her for the past 5 years to make sure that hasn't happened so I just don't know. But thank you again for your advice

[deleted account]

Hi Wendy, Can't you look for another kindergarten for her with more children with allergies? It would be the most relaxing for you and I think the best for her too, because she wouldn't be "the different".

How severe reactions does she have? How old is she?

My daughters are very good they don't even think to eat of something I didn't check before. But if they would have some several reaction, I wouldn't risk.

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