T.F. asks from Overland Park, KS on March 27, 2008
Anxiety About Nut Allergic Child Starting School
I was wondering if anyone has a child with severe allergies that's nervous about sending him/her to school in the next year or two. I have a 4 year old son who is severely allergic to ALL nuts and I have learned our school district actually serves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the menu. I know it's inconvenient for many parents to think of an alternative lunch ( I miss nuts and peanut butter tremendously). However, it's truly a life or death issue for us and I am so terrified to send my "baby" to a place where he potentially wouldn't be safe. I am hoping to start working on this with our school, and would love some help, advice, etc. THANKS!
R.D. answers from Kansas City on March 31, 2008
I think the most important thing is to EDUCATE EVERYONE he comes in contact with at the school and help/make them understand how important it is they do exactly what you and this doctor says!! Let them know the consequences! I have learned people want to help when they can. Help them help you keep him safe!
D.H. answers from Springfield on March 28, 2008
R.B. answers from St. Louis on March 28, 2008
Work with the school district and the school principal. It is amazing what the lunch ladies remember. My daughter is lactose intolerant and the cafeteria ladies knew she couldn't have milk and if she did they asked her if she had her lactaid. In her school they have peanut free tables, etc. The more you go in armed and ready to educate them, I have NO DOUBT a good school will be willing to work with you.
B.W. answers from Kansas City on March 29, 2008
There are many allergies out there--and intolerances and diseases like diabetes, celtic disorder etc, and the schools cannot accomidate all or there would be no food in the cafeteria...however they are responsible for the saftey of your child. Information to the school and an epi pen in the nurses office is a must. The second must is informing your child. They know. A freind of my ODD's was diabetic, and at 5 she could read a lable and tell if an item had to much "sugar" for her. You won't have a problem till he is about 12, when he decided he doens't want to be different in any way....and might push the envelope. You can't expect as one poster said for others to change thier ways for your son, but you can expect saftey for him at school. If even being in a room with nuts is bad for him...the school will accomidate him - even if it means not eating with other kids - and making sure it isn't in the room at parties. It might mean he is stuck in one room for the party but then again he has the allergy and will have to learn his own saftey as he becomes an adult. It is sad for him - but then again maybe they can do a buddy thing like another poster mentioned???? What a way to make new friends.
1 mom found this helpful
C.S. answers from Kansas City on March 28, 2008
I am in the same boat! I did send my son to pre-school at Stepping Stones and it is a peanut FREE school! Which was great! but he will be going to K next year and he is highly allergic to peanuts. I am also allergic to all nuts (except peanuts) so we are a nut free house. The only thing I can suggest is to really teach your son about his allergies and make sure his teacher knows and everyone else in the school. My son will ask me before he eats anything! Even if a friend offers him a piece of chewing gum! I'm afraid once they go to school though we are going to have to be that over protective parent that tells everyone about there allergies. It is a very common allergy so I'm sure we wont be the only ones! Good Luck!
1 mom found this helpful
S.C. answers from Kansas City on March 28, 2008
I used to be a teacher and even 7 years ago the peanut allergy was common. There is usually a food allergy table in the cafeteria where kids sit. They are not ostracized or off in a corner. The school where I taught had the lunch helpers (adults) wipe down the tables with a bleach and water solution after each class had lunch. You may want to request to have and IEP with the OHI descriptor. An OHI is ... Other Health Impairment. This would spell out excatly what your childs needs are with this allergy, and the neeeded modifications. You also have to be aware of classroom parties and snacks. As you know many baked good mixes have the nut allergy warning on the box, as well has candy being brought in during Halloween and Easter. (Those times of the year typically produce more peanut butter type candy). Having the IEP would LEGALLY bind the school to protecting your child. An IEP is a legal docuement that must be honored. There is also another avenue that you could try is Section 504. hopefully, these suggestions help ease your worries. I did have kids in rooms with food allergies, and I always took care of them, and double checked at lunch to see what the others where eating around them. You could also call the Central Office of the school district and ask them what precautions the schools take, and what you need to do, physician documentation of the severity to ensure his safety.
Good Luck, hope this helps
D.M. answers from St. Louis on March 28, 2008
My son's best friend is allergic to nuts and my son's favorite food is peanut butter. So I know what it is like to be afraid his friend might come in contact at my house or at school. His mother and I take turns going to school parties and checking the snacks. Most schools now have nut free areas at lunch and I know our childrens teachers have been great. Everyone he is with has an epipen and know how to use it. The best thing my friend has done was teaching her son things to stay away from and to look at ingredients or have an adult read the ingredient before he eats anything. I know it is nerve racking enough to sent your baby to school for the first, allergy or not. But if you make sure everyone knows about his allergy evenually you will start to relax a little. My friend sons is 7 and he handles his allergy himself now. My friend told me the best thing she ever did though was to teach him that when it comes to adults pushing food on him he is allowed to stand up to them and say no. The only time he ever had a serious reaction was when he ate a donut the had touched one with nuts because he was little and and adult kept telling him to eat it.
H.S. answers from St. Louis on March 30, 2008
I feel your pain. My 5 year old is about to start school in August and he has a peanut/egg/milk allergy. I know in the Fort Zumwalt district we had to fill the kindergarten registration and that food allergies was one of the questions asked. Another item I found to alleve my concerns was the fact that the school requested that parents do not send baked goods to school for snacks.
Next week Tyler is going in for his kindergarten screening. That tests his motor coordination and etc. I hope to ask more questions on Friday. Will let you know what I've found out.
We have had many discussions with his pediatric allergist and the concensus was to perform a tolerance test in the hospital. So a week before school starts we are admitting Tyler into the hospital and giving him peanut butter to gage his reaction (he gets a rash when he is exposed to milk or eggs - so no testing for that). We are rather anxious about the whole thing.
S.W. answers from St. Louis on March 28, 2008
I don't have a child with allergies, but this was the first year of school for my oldest. Before school started we were sent a packet and it asked about allergies and what they were. If a child in our school has an allergy then they do everything they can to work with that child and family. As a side note, we do have a friend in the school that has a severe nut allergy and she has never had a problem at school, they have worked closely with the school and everything has worked out. We also go to church with this family and in all the Sunday school rooms there are notes posted that there is a child with an allergy to peanuts and what snacks are OK. Our church has made it a habit to always serve peanut allergy friendly snacks to all the kids so we never have to worry about an accident with the one child with the allergy or any that may visit and we don't know about. Work with your school and I'm sure everything will be fine.
M.W. answers from Columbia on March 28, 2008
Hi T....I am only the aunt of a SEVERELY allergic nephew and it's just not nuts, it's over 350 different things! Suffice it to say we've learned a few things....please take what might work for you. Meet with the cafeteria folks and make them aware of your child's needs (a laminated sign with his picture, list of allergies/alternatives and your contact number is a great resource to provide to them and your teacher, schoool nurse, etc.). Too, some folks can breath in "nut air" and have a reaction...so be sure to say if the allergy is inhaled and/or injested. Make sure to provide a "allergy response" card to your son's teacher, principal, nurse, etc...this will include the symptoms to look for, what you (as mom) want done...do they call an ambulance, administer an epie shot, call you, etc. Detail this out, so there are no questions from either party. Also, because this is his life, teach your son what he needs to know to manage his condition. My nephew knows the onset symptoms, can give himself a shot and he knows he's got 15 minutes to get to the emergency room before anphyalitic (sp?) shock sets in. My brother and sister-in-law are both paramedics, so he's got some good "coverage" while his parents are at work...but this is a SCARY thing for a parent. You've got to educate, watch the school menus, talk to the other parents in the class because they will bring candy/food that could potentially harm him....it's a lot of effort, but I know your boy is worth it!!! Hugs!
S.D. answers from Topeka on March 28, 2008
I would be nervous to my son goes to preschool,but there are some things you can do let the scool know especially the teacher write a letter and have them keep it in his file and copy one for the school nurse and see if she can keep it in her file too and buy him a medical bracelet or necklace that clearly states his allergy,have you asked the DR about an epi pen or something that will help with the affects of the allergy for school just in case he comes in contact with his food allegy triggers.However I don't think you would be able to change the school lunch menu,you may need to provide him everyday with his own lunch that would be a safer approach to his allegy.I know that alot of oil's even in restaraunts use peanut oil,see what oils they use if they use them at all.Allegies are a huge issue I have to becarful when I fix something and take to my lil sis she is allergic to nuts I have to tell her not to eat it.