School and Peanut Butter!

Melissa - posted on 02/09/2009 ( 16 moms have responded )

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My son is eight years old and allergic to peanut butter. Thankfully, It is not as severe as some cases I have heard about. He only has a reaction if he ingests it. We have had him tested and our school has the papers from the doctor on file. He came home from school the other day and told me that he sat down at the lunch table and there was something all over the table. He had peanut butter all over his hands and arms from the lunch shift before his class. Thankfully he realized what it was and told a teacher who sent him to clean himself up. I understand that it is unfair to other children who want to bring peanut butter sandwiches for their lunch, but this is my son's life. It is so scary to think that he could have begun eating his own food with peanut butter on his hands. How do I protect my child when I am not around?

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Bonnie - posted on 02/09/2009

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I have a child with peanut allergies... among others. She is in preschool where they have snack, not lunch. I am always keeping my eyes and ears open for what to do when she starts "big school". I don't like the idea of a peanut only table in the lunch room. I think my daughter should be able to eat whereever and with whoever she wants... not just those who happened to pack a peanut butter free lunch! I like the idea of a peanut table. If you want to bring it to school, then you have to sit in a contained area. I have no idea how easy that would be to do, but it's something I aim for!

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Tiffany - posted on 05/05/2010

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I have a little girl with peanut and tree nut allergies. It is definately the scarriest thing ever. I stay at home with my kids which is great but when she is not with me I get so paranoid because of her allergy. She starts a busy bees program at school and I have went to the school hoping that they go nut free. I would feel so much better. They are working on it so I would try and mention it to your school. My daughters is bad enough that I have to have epi pens with me at all times. Good luck and hopefully something works out.



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Missy - posted on 04/11/2010

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I'm thinking banning all the foods would pretty much make everyone hate my family - lol - my son is allergic to: peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, peas, eggs, and apples. My daughter is allergic to tomatoes, yellow squash, dairy, and soy. That would would make a HECK of a lot of trouble for those parents. Peanut, however, is the most deadly and the most common - so banning peanut is NOT overkill. I'm for it.

Sherry - posted on 03/25/2010

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I so understand ..i had 2 deal with milk,egg,soy,wheat,peanut,and citrus flavors during my sons younger years.

Sherry - posted on 03/25/2010

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yes, see my son Justin would have reacted just from smelling and touching it..he stops breathing and throat swells up and closes.hives all over sometimes throws up..starts wheezing bad we have an epipen,,we did k-3, k-4, and kindergarden in small preschools where i paid 2 send him,,but then 1st- 3rd grade he went 2 a Christian school and they were wonderful,,I talked with public school near by when our private one closed and they told me they could not watch my child 24/7..theey were very rude..so I deciced 2 homeschool him..

Lisa - posted on 01/18/2010

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I am new here but have been dealing with peanut allergies with my kids for over 10 years now. My oldest had an anaphylactic reaction at the age of 2. It was the most horrifying thing I have experienced. Our school has a peanut free table. If there is ever any possible contamination, it is properly sanitized to protect the children. The table is the closest to the door to put it close to the nurse (her office is just across the hall). My youngest is also allergic but has never had a severe reaction. Last year, he panicked after possible cross-contamination and was sent directly to the nurse. They cleaned him up, changed his clothes as a precaution and monitored him for a few minutes. This year, his teacher has taken the extra precaution of having the class wash their hands after lunch (he was very scared after that incident). Anyway, I don't think that it is necessary to eliminate peanut butter from the school. My son's teacher has made their classroom a peanut free classroom. I appreciate her concern and wish there were more teachers like her. In the real world, our children can be exposed to peanuts in any setting. We need to teach them to watch out for their own well being while they are young so that they can make informed decisions about things as they get older. My oldest is in 7th grade and no longer sits at the peanut free table. He is allowed to carry his epi-pen and knows how to use it. He knows not to share food if there is any chance he could react. Last year he was at the peanut free table and felt like an outcast as the middle school table only seats 4 kids...... So far, so good. Good luck to all!

Caitlin - posted on 01/07/2010

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Quoting Lisa:






Quoting Melissa:






 I understand that it is unfair to other children who want to bring peanut butter sandwiches for their lunch...










Melissa, you are not going to believe this, but I am a mom of 3 kids, none of them have food allergies and I dont feel it is unfair at all for a school to go completely PEANUT FREE!!!... yeah I said it.  I think the school should ban any food that any child is allergic to. (chances are there are never more than 2 or 3 in the same school)






Kids eat  21 meals in the course of a week, only 5 of them are in school.  What harm is it to eliminate peanut butter containing foods from those 5 meals.






 






I was one of those moms who got completely ticked off when the school my daughter attended was implementing a ban, and I admit, there are ignorant people out there who will never "get it" but if people actually take the time to learn about food allergies they will come around.






The problem of banning any food that a child is allergic to is that the more bans in place, the less food that can be eaten and the more chances of a parent just not caring or knowing.  For instance, my daughter has a life threatening allergy to ALL dairy, egg, beef, peanuts, tree nuts.  Even I have trouble coming up with lunch ideas for her, though she is still young, it is impossible to ban everything, especially considering there is quite the benefit for kids to have milk/yogurt/cheese and milk products are in so many things that most wouldn't think of, most hot dogs and bread being some key ones.



 



I wouldn't expect any other parent to take the precautions I do while preparing their childs food, therefore a crumb could be dangerous to her, since such minor reactions have caused her anaphylaxis.  I would rather educate my child to keep herself safe, and although she will miss out sitting at a table with her friends during meals, she can play with them afterwards, after they all wash their hands of course. 

[deleted account]



Quoting Melissa:



 I understand that it is unfair to other children who want to bring peanut butter sandwiches for their lunch...






Melissa, you are not going to believe this, but I am a mom of 3 kids, none of them have food allergies and I dont feel it is unfair at all for a school to go completely PEANUT FREE!!!... yeah I said it.  I think the school should ban any food that any child is allergic to. (chances are there are never more than 2 or 3 in the same school)



Kids eat  21 meals in the course of a week, only 5 of them are in school.  What harm is it to eliminate peanut butter containing foods from those 5 meals.



 



I was one of those moms who got completely ticked off when the school my daughter attended was implementing a ban, and I admit, there are ignorant people out there who will never "get it" but if people actually take the time to learn about food allergies they will come around.

Autumn - posted on 04/06/2009

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I teach an afterschool Kindergarden program at our local YMCA.  We have a policy in place that requires all parents to pack a nut free lunch, only if we have an allergic student in our class.  That way all students get to eat with their classmates every day without worry.  It does take some work at the beginning of the school year training the parents how many things contain peanut or tree nuts that you don't even think about.  We just send it home with a note.  They get awesome at it.  Also... we ALWAYS wash tables and chairs.  Another idea is compiling a list of "peanut free" snacks and treats to send home to the parents at the beginning of the school year.  We encourage them to choose a birthday treat that all the kids can enjoy.  The kids loving doing special things like that for their friends.



However, I love the suggestion about educating our children about taking responsiblity for themselves and learning the do's and don'ts.  My daughter very quickly learned what she could and couldn't have (corn allergy).  At age 1 1/2 she would repeat to everyone she saw with food - Emma corn.. dairy.  Emma corn... dairy.  It was enough for them to wonder.  Sounds like your son is doing awesome.

Missy - posted on 03/24/2009

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Be pro-active! The school should be wiping the tables down between lunches and not just because of alleriges!!! It's just unsanitary and gross to let kids sit and eat where other kids have spilled food and drink! Tables are wiped between sittings at a restaurant and it would not take that much effort to wipe down the lunch tables. I think that this warrants a phone call to the school to express your concerns. The staff is probably supposed to wipe the tables anyway, and may simply need a reminder that this is an important job and not just a courtesy.

Claire - posted on 03/16/2009

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Hi, My daughter is nearly 10 and has had a severe nut allergy since been 4years old. Her allergy is really severe she doesnt have to eat nuts to cause a reaction - just be in the same room.  Lucikiy she has always been really good about her allergy (but she would love 2buy a big bun she has seen in Greggs window!!), She used to stay school dinners but the choices she was getting was so bad she now refuses to stay and takes sandwiches.  If she realises someone is eating something containing nuts she will not wait to be told to move, but just moves herself.  Although its hard you cant expect others to stop eating certain products (although my daughters friends mums will not purposely send anything which can cause a reaction), but as long as your child is aware of their allergys hopefully all will be OK.(they have to be able to live as 'normal' as possible). I dont agree with seperate tables for allergic children as this only sets them apart from others even more.  My daughter is quite happy to stand up in class and give talks on her allergy to make other children more aware (and thankfully we have not had any problems), by educating our children they can then educate others.

Abby - posted on 03/15/2009

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I know my daughter, who is 10, has never wanted to eat at a peanut free table. Her peanut allergy is also active only with eating. However, with unclean tables that is a real risk - I will have to speak to my daughter also. How about sending him with some wipes to clean down his space at the table - they also have table toppers but the ones I have seen are more for babies/toddlers. It is good your son figured out what it was before he had a problem! Good sign that he is taking responsibility for keeping himself safe - have you tried asking him?

Jo - posted on 03/15/2009

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wow, i have spoken to my sons primary school who have band any form of nuts including the bird feeders. I was concerned because he goes to grammar school in sept 09 but the new grammar school have band any for of nuts too. To protect my son, i went shopping with him and showed him all the chocolate and food he could eat and the ones he couldn't it took a long time, but now he 10 and he knows what to eat at parties and when im not around, ive show him how to inject his epipen, just in case and thank fully hes never had a reaction and hes had it 6 years. I feel i needed to educate him and his friends (and their parents) about the allergy because we have such busy life styles and he needs to grow up safe and without me by his side. He is able to sleep out, eat out with his friends family just like any other 10 year old. You need to communicate wih as many people you and your son comes into contact with by doing this your son does not feel as he has been made wrong (that what my sons said the first time he was told about his allergy). Educate is the way to protect and which will allow your son to have as normal life as possible. Hope this helps take care JO

[deleted account]

I think your school should take your situation more seriously and definitely have tables WASHED in between classes -- if they aren't doing it for all classes at least YOUR SON's table should be cleaned before he sits down!

Michelle - posted on 02/10/2009

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That could raise all kinds of problems though. Seems like there would be more bringing PB than not bringing PB so it makes more sense to make those with the problems sit elsewhere where it is safe... but I don't think that is fair either.



Think about people with celiacs disease who can be contaminated with only a crumb of bread. Are they to be set apart at a different table so they don't come in contact with anyone who might have anything with wheat, barley, rye or oats in their lunch?



There is no easy way around it, other than to educate the kids and the teachers as best as you can. Otherwise you are separating kids based on various food problems and that would be a huge hassle to keep track of. What about those who are GF but can have peanut butter? There is yet a 3rd table that would be needed!! LOL It would go on and on and on.

Tess - posted on 02/10/2009

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How about talking to the school to designate a peanut-free table? Your son could eat there with his friends that bring peanut-free lunches.

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