peanut butter and play equipment

4 replies [Last post]
By cmvervais on Mon, 04-19-10, 21:11

I gave my first impromptu "lecture" about peanut butter to a mom at the park today. I was polite, but the peanut butter in this situation was just out of control and I felt I had to say something.

Two moms came to our small neighborhood park with 6 or 7 kids behind them. They soon start yelling, "Come get your peanut butter sandwiches!" So I start packing up my daughter. I can usually be fairly comfortable with 1 or 2 peanut butter sandwiches around, but not 6 or 7. But THEN, all the kids pile on the small toddler play equipment, and the mom goes to hand them out ON the equipment. They were going to eat their lunch up there. The thought of that much peanut butter on the equipment that my daughter plays on everyday was too much for me.

I politely said, "Can I ask you a favor? My daughter is extremely allergic to peanut butter, and I'm going to leave with her now, but in general, it is best to not let your kids eat that on the play equipment." She didn't say a word, and looked at me like I was completely crazy. So I left, and I'm sure there were 6 peanut butter sandwiches eaten up on the equipment shortly thereafter.

Normally, I just leave, realizing my daughter is the minority, and most kids are going to eat PB&J, but this was too much for me today. Sigh.

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By chelle.tovar on Wed, 04-21-10, 23:17

These are the sort of things I have just recently started worrying about. I'm afraid I am going to be running into a lot of these situations. Good for you for informing them even if it takes a little while for it to sink into their brains :)

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By Juice on Fri, 04-23-10, 02:09

One of the things I was told as a child was. "Keep your fingers out of your mouth, you could die."

It worked for me. Simply put. I have lived with a peanut allergy my entire life, one of the most severe forms (Skin irritation even). While it is important for people to know the dangers of doing this kind of thing it shouldn't solely be left up to them to accept and follow through on it every time. Its very hard for people to grasp the concept that food can kill people as easily as being shot could; its even harder for people to grasp that concept if they don't have the loaded gun. And by that, I mean doesn't have someone close to them or dear to them that has that allergy.

As a child I was taught to be self sufficient with my allergy. I was taught from a young age I could die by touching stuff and putting my hands in my mouth or by eating food without first reading the ingredients of it or checking with an adult. My mother did go through with the school and did isolate me from the rest of the kids (Which in my opinion did not help me develop socially very well). However at the same time I was also taught from a young age that I would have to rely on myself too.

So kudo's to you for informing her, but also remember that your daughter (Completely acceptable if she is a very young child to be uber wary) needs to be self aware of her own allergy as well. Its better to instil it in the child earlier rather than later; as it was in my case. Children have excellent cognitive abilities and can actually grasp the simpler concepts of life, death and what the consequences much better than adults in some cases.

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By rm80 on Tue, 04-27-10, 20:41

Please read my entire response because the first part will sound judgmental.

I never ask anyone to put away the PB&J's in public. Not because I don't find it dangerous but I do know it will be pointless. Anytime you pit parent against parent it's a losing situation.

What I do is look for parks with a designated food area. More often than not I find people eat where there is a place to sit. If they don't then you call up Parks & Rec and ask them if they would consider putting up a sign to keep food in the designated area. Cite sanitary concerns and litter/pest control. Food allergies aside, I find it extremely gross for kids to be eating on play equipment. And why you would want them eating and running around at the same time isn't terribly wise either.

If you use this park often maybe put in a request to have an eating area put in. Maybe take up a collection to donate a picnic table and trash can if the city is short on money. At least give people an area to eat instead of asking them not to eat. It takes the focus off of a specific food allergy and makes the park nicer for all.

Remember peanut isn't the only allergen on the block. Some kids are allergic to egg, milk, etc. So if someone like me lets my child eat yogurt on the playground I'm just posing a danger to someone else, possibly. I don't let my child eat and play at the same time but I do make every effort to get a hand wash in so yogurt, ice cream or pizza doesn't get on the shared play equipment after lunch.

I'd also consider going out at night and clean the equipment with some gloves and Clorox wipes. Wait for one good rain then maybe go back. For every PB sandwich you do see there who knows how many have been there before. Helping to establish a designated food area might be your best solution. Maybe wipe your child's hands often as well.

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By mamasjoy on Thu, 07-01-10, 23:03

I probably would have stated that my child is playing/will continue to play on the equipment and that she has a life-threatening allergy to PB (seems to get their attention) and that even the slightest amount on her hands could have serious consequences. I then would ask politely if the other children would mind eating their PB/J sandwiches on the bench/picnic table (you didn't state whether or not the park had one). If the parent/s refuse, then I would pack up and leave.

But I think most parents these days are very understanding, at least in my experience. One mom even put away the peanut butter cookies at the park one day when I told her my son was anaphylactic. I thought that was very considerate and I was very thankful.

BTW, you can't compare other allergens to peanut butter since peanut butter can remain on surfaces for up to six months. Yogurt, for example, could easily get washed away after one rainfall, which isn't the case for peanut butter.

Hope that helps.

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