Peanut allergy

Laura - posted on 02/21/2014 ( 7 moms have responded )




My son started kindergarten this year. He has a peanut allergy that is life threatening. His school is not peanut free but they do have a peanut free table. At the beginning of the year, we sent a letter home to the parents that have kids that eat at the same time, informing them of the allergy, severity, and asking them to be mindful when choosing items for lunches. The school has been vERY cooperative and helpful in making sure that we feel comfortable with this allergy and his safety. With that being said, they can't monitor everyone, all day, everywhere. We have had 3 situations so far this year that have made us nervous. The first was a holiday snack cake that was going to be passed out in the class, and after reading the box, realized that it may contain peanut or tree nut. They of course refrained which was fine, but it made me realize how much out there NOT nut related could have nut in it and not even think about it. Second was a day that I ate lunch with him, a boy (that didn't have permission to, but at the time I didn't know) sat at the table with us. As he is unpacking his lunch, he pulls out pbj sandwich and peanut butter crackers. I quickly asked him to sit at a different table and explained why, but I wonder how long he would have have stayed before that was caught, had I not been there. Last was recently, a boy in his class apparently thinks it's funny to chase my son around to try and touch or wipe his hands on him after he has had peanut in his lunch. Now we have made the teacher aware, however on the playground or in the classroom with 25 kids all doing something different, she may not have realized that was happening until it was too late.

I realize that it is not necessarily a reasonable thing to ask parents to never send nut to school for various reasons, however, considering the possibility of what could happen, why would you take that chance? After this last incident, I am angry, frustrated, but most of all terrified! I know not everyone thinks the same, but I would NEVER intentionally put a child's life at risk! What if it were your child! Is it that parents are not educated enough in allergies? Is it the thought of losing convenience in lunch making, or do parents simply not care since it's not their child?

I understand some kids will ONLY eat pbj for lunch, or whatever the reasons may be, but I am honestly having a hard time understanding ANY reason that is equal to chancing a child's life! I can't protect him from the world, only educate him the best I can in the chance he has a reaction, but I don't feel like school should be a place I fear him to be.

I am not trying to start debates, or fights with this post. I am genuinely wanting to know what it would take for parents to save the nuts for after school, or weekends and not school. Or what questions do parents have so that they may better understand how serious this is? What ideas for compromises in schools to insure safety? If you are dealing with a similar situation, what do you or your school do?

Thanks! Laura


Kayla - posted on 02/21/2014




My husband's sister (who we have custody of) is 7 years old and she has a severe peanut allergy. Her school is also very cooperative in ensuring her safety. But since she has lived with us, 2 years ago, we have taught her that it she is the number 1 person who can keep herself safe from this allergy when we are not around (example:at school). Her teacher can not keep an eye on a classroom full of children at all times, there is no way. She knows what to avoid, and to ask before she eats. Most parents are the same, and they wouldn't intentionally hurt another child. But at the same time, sometimes things get busy at home and oops you were in a hurry and sent pb&j for lunch. We are in the same situation as you are, and we don't expect other people to change what they eat because our child has an allergy. To me, that's the same as asking everyone to not keep a cat as a pet because I am allergic.
I am not trying to be rude in the slightest, just giving my opinion :)

Jodi - posted on 02/21/2014




In Australia, most schools are now nut free. It's something we are used to. I don't think it's that big a deal to have a nut free school. Heck, last year, we had a latex free school, so that meant I couldn't even use balloons in science (which are great for MANY science experiments) and we had to purchase latex free gloves for every purpose (from cooking to science to gardening) because one student in our school could die from mere contact. I don't see an issue with changing school policy to cater for children who have anaphylactic level allergies. But as I said, I live in a country where this level of allergic reaction is taken quite seriously in schools.

There are different levels of reactions in each child to their allergies. if it is a deathly allergy, then I don't think it is extreme to take extreme measures. It all comes down to risk assessment and the severity of the reaction.

Michelle - posted on 02/21/2014




The school my children go to have been nut free for at least the 9 years my oldest has been going there so schools can implement it. They also make sure the children wash their hands as soon as they get to school, after eating and playing.
The school can help by teaching children from the first year that they are there that they need to wash their hands after eating.
My oldest son and now my 4yo daughter have both and anaphalactic children in their classes and they haven't had any problems.
Maybe discuss with the school again and come up with some more precautions.


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Laura - posted on 02/22/2014




@michelle - Thanks for your reply! That is exactly what we are going to do.
@ Jodi - If I thought making it a peanut free school was the answer, I would. Unfortunately I do think he needs to continue to be in the environment where it is a possibility so he can be prepared ( as hard as that is), however, I don't want to purposely put the nuts in front of him... maybe we will move there :)

Laura - posted on 02/21/2014




@ shawnn - Thank you for your opinion. I asked for honesty and although I thought I might get some negative responses, I was not prepared for some of what you wrote. With all due respect, I do not feel as if I am the selfish one. First, I hope your son stays safe with his strawberry allergy! My son is also allergic to raw apples, peaches, and watermelon however, they are not life threatening yet and I pray it stays that way. Like I said to kayla in the above response, I couldn't agree more that it is our responsibility along with educating our son first and foremost. He is very attentive, and inquisitive when it comes to his allergy, however I could teach him and he can learn until we are both blue in the face, but that is NO GUARANTEE that the ONE THING that you so stubbornly sent in with your child, wont be that ONE THING that sends him into such a reaction that the epipen nor the paramedic can get there in time. Having a child (and yourself) with allergies, I would assume that you know how important that one second can be in a life or death situation. I am sure that you would feel awful if your child happened to touch the peanut free table corner on their way to the bathroom, not realizing they just ate peanut butter and hadn't washed yet, and then someone elses child happens to drop something from their lunch in that same spot, and because they are "at the safe table" puts it into their mouth and their throat closes up before anyone even thinks to look for something to be wrong. Education and preparation is not a fool proof solution, so why wouldn't I ask for help with that simple thing a parent can do to help insure my sons safety.
Second, I am sorry that you felt sending a note would have been selfish and overboard. And this I think is what is so hard for me to grasp. If you sent a note home with my child, informing me of your sons strawberry allergy, my reaction would be "that is terrible, I am glad that I don't have to deal with that (or I can totally understand their concern), and I am glad that I now know so I make sure I send in blueberries instead." Where the idea that I (or other allergy parents) are asking you to change the world or monitor my childs allergy is beyond me!! That to me is simple ignorance. It has NOTHING to do with you or your world! It is simply asking, from one parent (who also has dealt with allergies my whole life) to another, to have some consideration for a situation that is NONE OF OUR FAULTS and maybe think, for once, about someone other than you and your world! Since when did we become such a self centered society that something as serious as a LIFE OR DEATH situation becomes about the person that is being inconvenienced! I am not asking for any of the other allergies to be avoided, simply the one that could kill him. I am sorry if you or anyone else out there that feels as if I am trying to control your life, or lunch for that matter. But when it comes the the safety of my child, I will do whatever it takes.
Third, thank you for the information about the gummies! I did not know that. I also appreciate that you cared enough to check the label and can only hope that other parents will do the same in the future. Because that is the nice, and right thing to do

Laura - posted on 02/21/2014




@ Kayla- I didn't think what you said was rude. :) I asked for honesty whether or not I agree with it. I am trying to understand the flip side of this situation. I completely agree with making him (and us) responsible! He is extremely cautious and careful thankfully as well. I however think that the only way the cat scenario can be considered "the same" is if your cat allergy was life threatening and your boss brought his/her cat to the same work place that you have to be everyday. They have the option not to bring it, but bc it's your allergy and not theirs then they bring it anyway. Thank you for your opinion and I hope your sister in law stays safe!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/21/2014




Laura, I understand that that particular allergy is a tough one, but YOU have to teach your son how to manage it. He is not always going to be in a situation where things are monitored closely, and the sooner that he learns how to handle his allergy, the better off he'll be.

You are right. It is not reasonable of you to dictate to the entire school body (or that portion of it that interacts with your son) what they can or cannot bring to school in their lunches.

My kids attended school with other kids who had severe allergies as well. My own son had an anaphylactic reaction to strawberries. He knew, from the age of 4, to avoid strawberries, to ask if they were an ingredient in foods, and how to handle it in case of accidental exposure. I did not sent notes home to every parent of every kid that my kid interacted with asking that they please change their routine or lifestyle to accommodate my kid’s allergy…that would have been, in my opinion, selfish and overboard!

You’ve already indicated that the school, itself has done everything it can to ensure your son’s safety, and that is as it should be. I’d have mentioned the lunch incident to the lunch monitors immediately, and asked that the peanut free area be clearly marked, which is reasonable. Asking that child to move, again, was reasonable, as he was in a peanut free zone. And, the child who chases your son thinking its funny to try to touch him after he’s been in contact with peanuts is another problem that needs to be addressed, both at school, and with that particular child’s parents. He’s a bully, and it needs to be stopped now. And, letting the parents of the children in your child’s immediate classroom know of the allergy, and asking them to be aware when sending classroom treats is also not out of line. (And speaking of, did you know that most gummi candies could be made in a facility that also processes nuts? Found that one out when I was a soccer mom…had I not taken the time to read the package, I’d have felt really bad later.)

For everything else, it is not that other parents ‘don’t care because it’s not their kid’…its that we are tired of hearing people in situations such as yours try to tell us that it’s OUR responsibility to monitor your kid’s allergies. Nope, it’s YOUR responsibility to teach your kid the mechanisms needed for the management of his condition. I sympathize, because allergy management can be challenging, but having not only lived with my own severe allergies, and raised my kids with allergies, I have to say that it’s only been in the last 15 years or so that everyone with allergies has wanted the rest of the world to change for them.

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