Fear of Preschool with Child's Life Threatening Food Allergies

Updated on January 12, 2009
A.S. asks from Rochelle, IL
44 answers

Hello - Our daughter has severe egg and nut allergies. I'm thinking ahead to the issue of preschool - looking for advice as to how you deal with this situation? Our daughter will be ready to start in the fall, and I know she will love it, and I don't want to keep her from it either, but I am terrified at the thought of snack time alone - the thought of other kids eating harmful food around her is just terrifying, it's hard enough getting family and friends to understand how serious this is. I guess i'm just looking for any advice on how other Moms have dealt with this, what you have found that preschools do in order to protect your child from food allergies, etc. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

I can't thank everyone enough for all the info and suggestions. It's nice to know that there are others out there dealing with this, and great to see others who personally don't have children themselves with allergies but are educated about it and realize how serious it is. Thanks! :)

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T.A.

answers from Chicago on

Most schools have to be licensed and follow codes even with food allergies. In my experience as a teacher schools are very well versed when it comes to this and are very cautious when it comes to food and food allergies especially nuts. No worries. When you register you will have to note allergies and they usually take it with the highest priority. No worries. Preschool is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Take a deep breath and enjoy!

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N.P.

answers from Chicago on

I run a preschool and have had allergies myself. I could easily take her at my preschool if you are close - I live in the southern part of Plainfield
N. http://www.atozlearningtreepreschool.com

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M.F.

answers from Chicago on

Before you worry too much, you should talk to a few preschools about their policies. Childhood allergies are so common now that most preschools are well equipt to handle the issue. For example, my son's preschool only allows fruits and veggies for snack time. It is healthy and eliminates most allergens from the school altogether.

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K.A.

answers from Chicago on

Have you ever heard of NAET (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Treatment? There is hope out there! There is a book named "Say Goodbye to Allergies" by Dr. Nambudripad. It's a natural way to ELIMINATE allergies, not just treat them. I am in the process of NAET with my son who is severely allergic to dairy and moderately allergic to peanuts. Here's where I first read about it.
http://www.allergyescape.com/naet.html
There is also a section for peanut allergies.I hope this helps in the long term and not just the now!

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B.C.

answers from Champaign on

My daughter attends preschool with some kids with severe allergies as well. To help with snack time, one of the moms of kids with allergies made a list of the snacks that are safe. She put brand name and everything. The other moms who are affected also looked it over. We are very fortunate to have a list like this. My kids have no allergies so I was clueless about ideas. This list is amazing. We go to the store and I know which brands and what flavors the little ones can have. Our preschool has kids bring in snack a couple of times a year. The list helps everyone be careful for the kids and still have fun snacks.

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D.M.

answers from Chicago on

A.,
First of all, if she has an IgE type reaction, then she needs to wear some kind of ID bracelet & the school needs to be aware of her food allergies. Then you can pack her food for her to take with, all labeled with her name on it. You may have to take her ahead of time to introduce her to each teacher/ caregiver she might have so they can put a name with a face & her food allergies. Next, make sure the preschool has an Epi-pen in case of allergic reaction for emergencies. Another thing, I can help you with supporting her immune system and healing up her gut so she would have less of a reaction to those foods. Also, does she have any other sensitivities (IgG-delayed type reactions)? If so, be sure to rotate foods because she can still have other digestive reactions such as: Reflux, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, diffuse abdominal pain, hemrrhoids, diaper rash, eczema). I can help you with any other questions you may have. Hope this helps.
Dr. A. M., ND (Naturopathic Doctor)

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

To be honest, almost every kid every year has some sort of food allergy so preschools and daycares are getting used to this sort of thing and making accommodations.

This should be as simple as a meeting set up ahead of time where you can meet with the director and staff members who will be working with your child to be very clear about the health issues and requirements. They won't be surprised or shocked at your requests and will probably already have several regulations and policies in place to protect children like yours.

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A.,

You got some very valuable responses already. I just wanted to add that one important issue is making sure with the teachers that the children wash their hands well after the meals. My son is so sensitive to some substances (food and chemicals) that he can break out with hives or has blisters forming on the spot. Food particles that are left on children's hands will transfer onto door knobs, books, toys, and equipment and that's very hard to get rid of. I visited a few places and interviewed teachers on their food serving policies. I avoided places where nut butters are frequently consumed. We finally sent our son to a nut-free Montessori school. Good luck to you.

J. K.

P.S. You may want to check NAET and EFT techniques for treating allergies. My son's allergies did not disappear but his reactions are not as severe. You can search Mamasource for some great recommendations for allergy treatments :-)

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R.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A.,

My mom is an elementary school teacher and for the past two years she's had a student with serious nut allergies. None of the students or teachers in the grade are allowed to bring the allergenic foods to school, and the students must use a wipe for their hands each time they come into the student's classroom. I think most schools are willing to work with you on this -- many are nut free these days. I interned at a couple (I'm a social worker) myself. I think if you meet with the teachers, director, etc., before your daughter begins and come up with a plan, they should be willing to accommodate you/her.

Best,
R.

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M.P.

answers from Chicago on

I work currently at an elementary school. I have worked at 2 elementary schools in the Plainfield area. I have seen the kids with the severe peanut allergies. The schools I have worked in were prepared for the severe food allergies. There are certain teachers who have knowledge of the allergies and those teachers are given the peanut allergy kids. One of the schools that I worked at- A mother was very concerned for her kindergartner and his allergy. She came in to talk to the class to let the kids know how dangerous it was for him to even be near someone eating peanut products. Notes go home to all parents saying there is a peanut allergy. There usually is sign put up saying this a peanut-free room. The mother I dealt with had bought some signs that said Peanut-free zone. We made a table in the lunch room that was peanut free and put the signs out. The lunchroom supervisors would check the lunches of anyone who wanted to sit at the table. The mother came in to the lunchroom when he was in first grade to help the first couple weeks just during her sons luchhour. When she saw how cautious everyone was- she stopped coming and always thanked us for taking care of her son. I would just talk to the school and let them know your concern and find out what precautions that have in place. Hope this helps.

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T.D.

answers from Chicago on

My son attended Bright Horizon daycare in Wheaton and they had many precautions in place for kids with food alergies. They even had stickers on the door that said "No Nut Zone" The school did provide a snack for the kids, always nut free, but I don't know about eggs. I also know that certain kids did have epi-pens at the school, they were kept at the school in case of emergency. You probably already are, but you might need to get used to always providing/sending your daughters snack. Good luck in your search.

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R.A.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A.,
My son was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy when he was 3 years old. I had the same anxiety when it was time for him to enter preschool. The schools are actually extremely cautious in this matter, and ours for instance sent out notes to all the parents to avoid snacks with foods that may contain what he was allergic to. Our school would even have the school nurse call us for permission to give him something if they were unsure. We will always worry, no matter how old they will get. Teach her to ask if something has nuts or eggs. With repetition they too will learn what they can and cannot have,giving you some peace of mind. If she needs an epi pen make sure you and the teachers know how to use it. Good Luck to you and your little one.

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M.P.

answers from Chicago on

I'm a teacher whose kids have fatal nut allergies; they can't even smell nuts without a reaction, or touch a kid who's touched nuts.

I say talk to the teacher(s) and explain the seriousness. I guarentee yours is not the only child they've had with severe allergies. But as a teacher I appreciate talking to the parent.

Does she have an epi pen? Does she wear it or keep it in a bag with her picture on it and instructions and stuff? Be sure to mention that.

*Note the people who work at the preschool will know how to use an epi pen but it's always good to have the instructions there and emergency numbers just in case.

Really I wouldn't worry too much; teachers are so used to these issues now. At my school every single lunch period before anyone starts eating we ask the kids if anyone brought nuts (even though we're nut-free) and if anyone brought htem we call their parents to remind them we're nut-free, and the kid with the nuts must eat them at a separate table.

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M.B.

answers from Chicago on

I don't know where you live, but here is my suggestion....I am an EC teacher who works for the public schools. If you have a preschool program within your public school system, send your child there. They will have a nurse who works in the school. Before your child even steps foot into the school you meet with the nurse and make a medical plan for your daughter. There will be strict restrictions for all the students at snack time and an emergency plan in place for your daughter if heaven for bid she needs one. I teach students will severe allergies all the time.

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J.E.

answers from Chicago on

Any State certified program will need to have policies in place addressing this issue. My daughter attends a small parochial preschool that is certified by the State. She does have a classmate with nut and egg allergies. Although they are not severe, every parent and teacher is aware of the child's allergy. Only appropiate snacks are brought in and any class cooking is supervised by the teachers. Just make sure you fully disclose the severity of your daughter's allergy and provide them with a list of off limits exposure whether ingested or handling or even just being in the same room as her. Allergies are unfortunately more commen these days, but the upside is that professionals know how to deal with them.

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E.P.

answers from Chicago on

Food allergies can be quite concerning and it will just have to be your comfort level that determines whether you will be sending your child to a particular school. Part of that assessment will be how they handle her allergies. You can take classes at the park district or library classes with other kids where you know they will not be serving snacks - at least for the next year or two. She doesn't necessarily have to go to preschool. Is she aware that she CANNOT eat any other kinds of foods without permission? If you trust that she wouldn't sneak other foods, then consider preschool. Then, make sure to always have an epi-pen at that school, make sure all the teachers are aware of her allergies, and how she will react to an allergen and the correct emergency response to take. You can always have an "extra" snack at school for those times that the children get a special treat, so that she is not left out.

Regarding the nut allergy - is she allergic just when she ingests the nut or is it so severe that she physically cannot be NEAR nuts? Can she eat snacks that are "made in a facility that processes nut products?" These are things the teachers will want to know. Nut allergies have become so common that a lot of schools ban them for snacks and discourage home-made treats too.

I'm sure that your daughter will learn to say "no" to snacks that she hasn't been given permission (by you) to have. That can be hard for a young child. Once you trust that she won't try to sneak a bite and you find a school that amply addresses your concerns , then you can consider sending her to preschool. Good luck to you.

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

I am sure I am repeating info, but at our son's preschool there are no snacks allowed that contain certain ingredients. Do not think that the teachers will not help you out in this situation. Make sure you educate them on what is bad and good for your daughter. Her experience will be just fine. This is the year to do it because then there is Kinder...1st...and so on! Good Luck!

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L.S.

answers from Chicago on

I worked at 2 different preschools before staying a home with my children....and they handled food allergies very seriously. I think you should talk with the preschool and if they don't have a plan of what they do...look for another school. A good preschool has a policy of how to handle food allergies. I'm sure you will fine a good school.

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J.A.

answers from Rockford on

I can understand your fear. My son was allergic to eggs. While not deathly allergic, it still caused some significant health issues for us. And it was incredibly upsetting how many people violated his diet restrictions.

His preschool, which was fully aware of his allergies, gave him seven pieces of French toast one morning, and called me in a panic to ask if they should rush him to the hospital. (He was not exhibiting symptoms yet.) They also gave him EGG NOODLES a few days later because "they don't really have egg in them, do they?"

Never assume something will be obvious.
Never assume that others have common sense.

Our preschool posted a schedule of snacks and meals that were to be served each week, which I reviewed. I highlighted dangerous foods, and brought alternatives. Be warned though, they often make last minute changes to the schedule. (When they served him French Toast, that was a substitution for hot cereal that was made that morning, and I was never informed about it. A worker that came in late discovered my son eating it and called me.)

At the elementary school, he was given cakes and cookies a couple times a month. They "forgot." They also expressed to my husband on one occasion that they gave him cookies because "they know the poor kid doesn't get them at home." (Which wasn't true, by the way. I had egg-free recipes that I made for him, plus store brought brands that didn't have eggs.) Neighbors used to sneak him cake and cookies too, for the same reason. And they had been told of his allergies. It was very frustrating.

It helped when I would supply the school with safe alternatives for him. I'd give his teacher alternative snacks, not only for snack time, but also for birthday celebrations. Those were the biggest problems! Someone would bring in cake or cupcakes, and they would automatically distribute them to everyone!

Another irritation is that the school staff didn't know what contained egg. Mayonnaise, salad dressing, French toast, and any other food or condiment that isn't readily known for containing egg can be a huge problem. I gave lists of common foods that contain egg, and had them post it on the wall. Any time I saw a new staff member, I automatically reviewed the list with them.

I highly recommend you pack your own meals, and keep the staff constantly informed about the allergies, and provide them with stockpiles of snacks and such to give as alternatives.

It helped a lot when my son started to know which foods were acceptable and which were not. He often brought home cookies and treats he got at school, to double check with us before he ate them. Sometimes, however, the temptation for a birthday cake was too great, and he ate it anyway.

My advice to you would be to not trust that the diet will be followed. Whenever possible, provide your own food. And provide plenty of alternative snacks for the unexpected school celebrations. Never let the supply run out, and monitor the supply yourself to be sure it doesn't run low. Keep the school informed, and keep on them. Get tshirts and buttons that declare your child's nut and egg allergy:

http://www.zazzle.com/nut+free+gifts
http://shop.cafepress.com/allergy
http://www.zazzle.com/allergy+gifts
http://www.allergicchild.com/allergy_related_products.htm
http://foodallergies.about.com/od/livingwithfoodallergies...
http://www.miztees.com/a/allergy.htm

Be very wary around ALL holidays. Reward your daughter significantly for bringing you suspect snacks that are given to her.

Meet with the principal or other school official and ask for their assistance in protecting your child. They may have dealt with this before and might have good ideas for you. Find out who will be responsible for informing substitute teachers about your child's allergies. Check locally or online and see if there are support groups for parents of allergic kids, and look for ideas and support there.

Good luck!

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C.W.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter's preschool has a snack policy of fresh fruit only, with the exception being string cheese (not sure how that got in as the exception but we are OK w/dairy). My daughter has a terrible reaction with bananas, so they have omitted bananas from the list for her class. They eat grapes, apple slices...and for birthdays they have vanilla ice cream cups. I think our school would have worked around most. The nice part is that in September she didn't eat grapes, and just this past week she asked my husband to share his with him. So it got her to see her peers eating a good food enough to want to give it another try herself.

I would suggest looking into different schools and quizzing them on their dietary policy.

Good luck!

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J.Z.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A.! I can completely relate to your fears. My daughter is severely allergic to dairy and eggs. She is 2 1/2 and currently attending a montessori school for 2 days/week for 2 hrs each day. I was so weary about where I could take her for the social interaction with other children (without me) that she so much craves at this age. I talked to the principal and the staff and they are wonderful. I leave a box of crackers at her school as a back up snack. They will usually have fresh fruit for snack but if they have something else then they give her the crackers. Also, whenever they have a "special snack" brought to class they always ask me to look at the ingredients to verify if she can/can't have it. If she can't then they save it for a day when she is not there. They very much discourage unhealthy snacks like cookies and cakes so it has been easier for me. When it is a child's b-day they can bring in a fresh fruit to share with the class which it great. I always keep in touch with the teachers and keep them updated.
When we go to parties and stuff I talk to the other kids about not giving her food because it will make her sick. It may not be a bad idea to talk to the kids in her class about allergy awareness. There are alot of great childrens books dealing with allergies that approach the situation in a good manner.
As for preschool for us in the fall I haven't made any decisions on where she will go because we may be moving out of our area. I plan on visiting many school, asking them about their allergy policies and also to make sure that there are other families at that same school with a child with food allergies that I can speak to. Parent referral are very important in this situation!
I wish you all the best:)

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J.N.

answers from Chicago on

It sounds like you have great advice already...I know at my preschool we can not bring in any outside food (period). The school buys all of its own snacks and they are all peanut free (they also have wheat/glutin free snacks if needed). The kids must wash hands on entering class then before/after snack time.

When you start looking at preschools talk to the directors & teachers they will tell you the policy on food and what they do if a medical issue comes up.

Good Luck!

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

A.,

My son has allergies to wheat, eggs, milk, barley, tree nuts, and peanuts. He even has reactions if he comes into skin contact with these allergens. Ex: If I touch bread and don't was my hands before touching him. He'll get hives. If we kiss him after eating something, he gets hives. I was terrified to send him to preschool, or even a babysitter. I enrolled him in Fox Valley Park District preschool at the Eola Comm Center and there are 3 kids in his class that have to have Epi Pens for allergies! Three out of 14. His teachers have been excellent in dealing with the issue. Because parents rotate bringing snack, I simply bring his own snack each day because he has so many allergies. He can have their juice if they bring it. His allergies were identified before he was 1 year so he's very used to eating different things from everyone. We tell him the bad foods will "hurt his belly" and he's very aware of that now--and will tell people it will hurt my belly if it is not one of his safe foods. The teachers sit by him during snack time and they have them all wash hands after eating to make sure the allergens aren't carried to any toys, tables, paintbrushes, etc. Parents can't bring snacks with peanuts or snacks that were processed in a peanut plant. At orientation they talked about it and gave copies of labels to show examples. So we are a peanut free classroom.

He can't play with Play-dough brand playdough since it is made w/ wheat flour, so I found some Rose Art brand for everyone and they use that. The teachers wouldn't even have the Playdough brand out by chance he get into it.They were that concerned. He's not ever had an outbreak there and he's been there since August. I had always been afraid to put him in daycare and last year he had to be in a home for 9 months. The sitter was extremely cautions and followed the handwashing after eating thing, and the kids didn't have food or drink to carry around (they only ate at the highchair or table) and he had no problems there either.

I have found in this area that preschools are generally great about dealing with the issues. Just tell them exactly what they can/cannot do and they usually strictly adhere to that. At least this preschool does. During crafts where they use food to glue onto things, they always accommodate him and the other 2, and then follow the handwashing after. Ex: they were gluing little choc. chip cookies onto a cookie jar cutout and since he can't touch them, he glued brown foam circles on to look like cookies.

It can be challenging, but they have adjusted to it in their daily classroom just like we have with our daily life. People always say it has to be so hard, but really it's just avoiding those foods and finding things he can eat, and washing hands a lot!

Hope this info helps!

Kim

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C.O.

answers from Chicago on

We taught our daughter from a very young age not to eat anything unless we gave it to her. Each year we would talk to her teacher/teachers. We also sent snack for her each day.
Many children have allergies these days and most teachers have had plenty of experience dealing with it.

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S.K.

answers from Chicago on

At our preschool the parents of children with allergies, brought their own snack. Snacks with nuts were not allowed in class. Our kids went to Prairie Path Preschool in Wheaton.

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P.F.

answers from Chicago on

A., I own a foreign language school that works with many of the local preschools and daycare centers. While I am sure you are scared, I can tell you that every school we contract with has specific rules and regulations regarding children and food allergies. They are used to dealing with it and are very cautious. I would say the schools would understand it better than friends and family because they deal with it every day. I agree with the other poster that you should include that category in your interview of every school.

Do you have a certain area in mind? I can definitely recommend some of the schools that I know to be extra good at this issue. Let me know if you want some names. Good luck. P. [email protected]____.com or ###-###-####

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C.W.

answers from Chicago on

My kids don't have food allergies, but I know that at their preschool, Aurora Christian, they take great care to protect the kids that do. In the kitchen is a list of the kids with allergies, what they are allergic to, treatment information, and parent and doctor contact information. In preschool the snack is provided, and it is usually things like vanilla wafers and pretzels. There is also a peanut free table for those students with nut allergies.

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H.S.

answers from Chicago on

The schools take this VERY seriously and most schools note that the room is nut free zone before you even walk into the room and do not allow anything with nuts. I do not know about eggs though. I would contacts the nurse in the school that you are looking at and ask them their procedure.

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C.S.

answers from Chicago on

I don't know where you live, but Hope Lutheran in west chicago is experienced in dealing with life threatening allergies. If it is close to you and you want to talk with some parents who have sent their kids there (with allergies) just email me. My nephew and lots of my friends deal with severe allergies, so I know how important it is. I think I would prefer a personal referal from another allergy mom. Maybe a local allergy support group would be a good place to get a referal.

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J.

answers from Chicago on

You will need to understand the school's policies and how they are enforced. Our preschool is completely nut-free and my son's classmates have multiple allergies. The teachers and aides are trained to use epi-pens, which are in the classroom. There's an allergies list posted on the wall of the classroom. Snacks from outside have to be storebought and in the package with ingredients list.

And I don't even have a child with a food allergy - this is just what I've noticed from having a kid in the classroom. Our preschool is NAEYC-accredited, if that helps.

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A.H.

answers from Chicago on

No food EVER from anyone except you until they are old enough to really understand their limitations. Always send really great snacks with them so they don't feel the need to eat something else. And don't send her anywhere that serves nuts. Kids eating nuts can have it on their hands and touch toys, sinks, faucets, etc and your angel can touch it and have a reaction. Eggs are a little harder to transfer like that. I really know. I have allergies to both and passed them on to my daughter. She is older now but has had some really close calls, esp when I thought she should know better. She is also allergic to tropical fruit and the first day in 4th grade she drank a drink with guava in it, not knowing that it was a tropical fruit. After the ER visit we decided that she should call me with any questions. I believe that children with allergies should be given a cell phone very early and taught to use it to question anything they may be tempted to eat. Sometimes the temptation is overwhelming for a child, so in that case I say "Call Mom".

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G.H.

answers from Chicago on

Speak to her teacher. Maybe she can seat your daughter in front where the teacher can keep an eye on her.

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V.D.

answers from Chicago on

Go to foodallergy.org and print out an allergy action plan. Have your Dr. sign it. Talk to the preschool director and see what measures they take to keep your child safe. I can't imagine that in today's day & age that a preschool wouldn't be prepared for these issues. If you feel that they are uncooperative, then you should find a new preschool. Otherwise, there's a program that you can elect to have sent to the school on the food allergy website that will educate them on the issues.

My 8-yr old son has a severe nut allergy also and I have found that the administrators are very aware of the risks and are willing to work with me on all of the issues. I do take responsibility for alot (providing snacks, extra wipes, etc.). And I feel that the more willing you are to do your part, the more understanding the school staff are.

Good luck!

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B.A.

answers from Chicago on

I know exactly what you mean. My son was diagnosed with allergies to wheat, gluten, vinegar, food additives, food coloring, eggs, corn, sugars, and a couple of others. He would have asthma attacks consistently even with his meds.

He is 3. It was recommended we take him to an NAET specialist to ELIMINATE his allergies. It has been a heavensent.

He is only allergic currently to vinegar. (naet.com) NAET reprograms your brain first by finding out what organs are affected by the allergen, and then isolating which antibodies each allergen has (histamine, T compressor cells, etc.) then the allergy is treated and the brain is told to accept the allergen. It takes 5 minutes and then there is a watch period of 20 minutes. You do this for each allergen until it is eliminated. I can't say enough about it.

We go to Dr. Tam in Lombard - he is FANTASTIC. It such a relief to send your child to school allergy-free. Just go to the website to find someone near you - NAET.com.

Good Luck!! I have been there!

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M.E.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A.:

My son is in 3-year old preschool and one of his classmates has severe peanut allergies. The school made all parents in the class aware of the allergy and the classroom is peanut free. The school and all of the preschool parents have taken the allergy very seriously. Obviously, the school you choose for your daughter will surely be dependent on the school's position regarding this situation.

Best of luck!
M.

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C.S.

answers from Chicago on

A.,

My son (now 4 1/2) used to be in daycare and is now in preschool. At both places, he is not allowed to even bring anything with peanuts in it to school. They even ask all kids if they eat any peanuts at home before school, be sure to wash your hands. And to insure that this is done, all kids are required to wash their hands upon arrival at preschool.

I am noticing that more and more children have these allergies and preschools are aware of it. Before picking out a preschool, ask them what their policy on peanuts is. If they do not already have one in place, they will change that due to your child allergy. Hope this helps.

C.

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S.A.

answers from Chicago on

I helped in a Sunday School class in which there was a little guy with peanut allergies. His parents sent his snack, but if there wasn't someone in there that knew him he would sometimes get a snack the other kids got. We decided that we would just buy snacks that would be safe for him if that happened. His parents also put an epi pen in his bag, but not everyone knew about it. Neither did they explain how we should use it.

I don't know that his allergy was that severe because they didn't seem too worried about it.

It horrified me and I thought about the dangers he would face going to school. I don't know if the stories of allergic reactions to kisses by someone that ate peanuts is just an urban myth or not, but it is still frightening.

I sympathize with you for sure. A meeting with the principal, any and all teachers that he might be in contact with and some procedures put in place would be in order I think. I would think he needs a bright orange tag taped to his desk at school stating that he has these severe allergies and must not be allowed to come in contact with any foods not sent by you at all.

He probably already wears an ID bracelet. I would also make sure that the cafeteria had a photo of him with a notice that he has these allergies and maybe make one for the main office and the nurses office. That way everyone knows him and sees his face often so they won't forget about the allergy.

I know forgot about his allergy on one or two occasions because we had some routy visitors that were distracting me. I was horrified when I realized he was chowing down on our snacks....thank God we only bought things that were safe for him. He was just a little guy, he didn't know to tell us he couldn't have the snacks.

good luck and I hope that you can find some measures to ease your mind when he's in school.

Sorry I kept referring to your daughter as a he...I was thinking of the little guy in our class.

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K.K.

answers from Chicago on

I am currently a preschool teacher aide at a park district. Our whole park district is nut free and children with other allergies are gladly accomodated. The mom of the allergic child at our park check the snack everyday and tell us what the child may have. We also keep a spare snack for the child, provided by the parent, that the child may have as an alternative to the snack brought that day. In addition, we keep a list of all alergic children and their allergies clearly visible in the room so we can refer to it if there is a question. Some children have an Epi-pen they keep in their backpacks and the backpack is always handy by being seperated from the rest of the children's in a special spot near our dask. We, also, wash the children's hands immediaterly uopon arrival before anything is touched in the room. Most of the children are aware of what they may have and what they may not have. If there is a touch allergy (such as milk: we had one boy who would break out if he even touched it) we are extra careful. The rule, anyway, is to keep your hands to yourself, but, kids will be kids. In a case like that, we as the adults just have to be more attentive to the situation to see that nothing happens. Hope this helps. Any reputable school will accommodate your needs. If not, go elsewhere!

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S.E.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A.,
I can sure understand your fears. Here's what our preschool does: it started by giving a list of exactly which snacks were ok - which brands, etc. Then, it just decided to charge everyone a small snack fee - like $15/child for the year and provide the snacks so they could be sure everything was peanut and dairy free. The mother of the child with severe peanut allergies and the cause of all the new policies wrote a really nice article about her situation that was in our school newsletter. I think it did a lot to inform everyone and make everyone on her side and more willing to be really careful. Peanut products are not even allowed in the lunches the kids bring from home, even in classrooms where there is no known child with peanut allergies, just in case an allergic child ends up playing in that room, etc. Also, teachers are informed and trained how to use an Epi pen. Each classroom now has one, and parents' of allergic kids also supply their own and special directions if wanted/needed. I'm sure this doesn't completely alleviate parents' fears, but I'm sure it helps and to date, there have been no incidents. Oh - and for bday parties with cake and ice cream, the kids with allergies just come with their own special treat. Hope this helps. Good luck!

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

My two attend Fox Valley Montessori in Aurora and it is completely nut free and they are really on top of it! This is their first week there and I've been to a few preschools since my oldest is six and they are the most aware and concerned school I've seen.

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

Real quick-

-The smaller the school, the better
-Write it on ALL paperwork, all the time and in big block letters and highlight it
-Make sure it is on the outside of whatever folders/info the teachers and admin have on her so it is always the first thing they see if they are reaching for info on her
-Discuss it w/everyone- teachers, staff, admin, parents, etc. and offer educational materials/flyers to other parents, etc. Do the legwork w/a smile and they will be glad for you to do it.
-Most schools have peanut free zones. Make sure they have big signs posted on the door of school and classroom doors (provided by you if necessary)
-pack her own snacks and lunches. Forbid her to take treats or snacks, etc from anyone. Educate her.
-Make sure they have up-to-date emergency #s, an epi-pen jr, and benadryl on hand, and know exactly what symptoms to look for and what to do
-take a deep deep breath and realize that she has to go out into the world and there is only so much you can do :(

hugs,
M.

ETA- they also have little bracelets/necklaces and things (I would opt for bracelet, b/c necklaces unless they are breakaway can get caught on playground... that tell allergies and other med info. You can probably find a cute one for her online if you google it, or they sell them at Walgreens that you can print up yourself and pop the info into a small charm thing.

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B.G.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A.,

I'm not sure where you are, but my girls both attended First United Methodist Preschool in Arlington Heights. We're in our sixth year with a child there and although mine dont' have allergies, there best friends do. This school has always been way ahead of the curve with regard to food allergies. I think the key is finding a school like ours that believes in creating a afe learnin environment for all students.

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N.S.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter went to the Hampshire Park district preschool. They ask if your child has any food allergies in the beginning. Both years, there was someone with a peanut allergy in her class, so there were no snacks containing peanuts allowed at all. If one was accidentally brought in, it was not served and they served popcorn. They could really only bring in fruits and veggies, yogurt or cheese for snacks. They were very careful with that aspect. Not sure where you are located but it was an excellent preschool, I will be sending my second child there as well.

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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

We have two students at school with peanut allergies (I'm a teacher), one of whom has an airborne nut allergy. At lunch time, they sit with their friends that don't have peanut butter sandwhiches at a table next to the other kids.

As for snacks/the other kids... the other kids are very understanding of this.

As for pre-school, it is my understanding that they take extreme precautions in regards to this.

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