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question about peanut free classroom

11 replies [Last post]
By kgirl32 on Tue, 08-10-10, 19:54

I am not trying to cause an issue here - I want to make that known up front. Looking for feedback.

My son, in 2nd grade, is going to be in a peanut free classroom this year. This is fine, we have cousins with severe peanut allergies that we spend time with often. We know to wash anything he brings/wash his hands and face/not send anything with peanuts/etc. Homemade snacks are good for this, we have plenty of healthy baked goods we make that are peanut free plus the kids LOVE veggies, fruit, cheese, etc.

However, most of these won't necessarily be allowed in the classroom. We just got the list and it lists only specific brands of snacks (we don't often buy brand name, we buy store brand, because it's cheaper), plus it also forbids bringing any fresh fruit or veggies (must all be prepacked) and forbids home baked bread, etc. The allowed snacks list is a diabetic coma waiting to happen (and all expensive).

The child in question is hyperactive. Too much sugar and he is off the wall, so sugary snacks are out. Often fruit cups have extra sugar, but we can't pack fruit sliced up on our kitchen (even though we would wash it carefully). I guess the point is - it's gone beyond peanut free to banning anything that might possibly have been prepared on machines that might have processed peanuts. And it also requires the purchase of brand names and does not allow fresh fruit and veggies.

Parents of peanut allergic kids - is there some sort of compromise that could be found here, like educating parents on the need to wash fruit, etc instead of banning fresh stuff, and finding ways to not require brand name snacks? We want to keep other kids safe, but this feels like it goes above and beyond. Our cousins agree...I guess I just wanted feedback on if there is a compromise and if so, how to approach.

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By shawnsallergy on Tue, 08-10-10, 20:14

My son has a bad peanut allergy. It a hard thing to deal with! But I agree with you.... Fresh fruit would be perfect in the classroom.. I would feel blessed if kids in my sons class brought fresh fruit and veg. That (SAFE FOOD) And with the store brand stuff thats crazy! Im on a budget and thats all I buy and my son has a peanut allergy. My school is makeing my son eat alone and thats not the answer, banning fresh fruits or veg is not the way to go!! I belive the schools need more education on how to deal with food allergys. In both ways!!!

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By kgirl32 on Tue, 08-10-10, 20:48

Thank you! I mean, I get that potentially if you didn't wash fruits/veg they could be contaminated, but that's an easy fix. Who wants to eat prepackaged veg? They are less tasty AND less healthy. There needs to be a balance. We may just send food that doesn't necessarily adhere to the "safe" list but that we know is safe (package reads was not made in a facility that processes peanuts, home baked with no peanuts, washed fruits, everything we would feed the cousins).

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By shawnsallergy on Tue, 08-10-10, 22:32

My son can only eat homemade goods (Cake, cookies, etc.) All or most package is processed with peanuts. We just need more education.... I have a allergy free older child and I know how it goes both ways.

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By cervonil on Wed, 08-11-10, 00:54

I totally agree with that list IF it is being shared amongst the allergic child. I wouldn't trust anyone else to prepare food for him, or even slice up fresh fruit. Too many people do not understand or honestly care to make sure they use a clean knife, clean cutting board, clean container. and baked goods can easily be contaminated by a beater/cookie sheet/muffin tin previously used on peanut products. (I actually made this mistake after we first found out, I contaminated my own child!)

But I think if you are preparing you own child's lunch there can be much more leniency. We need to teach our children to never share food with any classmates.

Personally I would be happy if they just banned peanut butter -that stuff is so sticky! But I will tell you the problem. Many parents of non allergic kids simply don't care. I am heartbroken and astonished to hear the way parents talk about this - they simply don't care that they could hurt your child. And many also totally don't understand the chance of cross contamination. That is why they have a strict list. If they leave it up to each parents discretion you will get all sorts of stuff from safe to absolutely dangerous. A woman in my support group said their preschool sent out letter after letter asking parents not to send peanut butter and jelly sandwiches b/c of a child severe peanut allergy and the entire year, time and time again they sent in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. .

I hope it works out for all of you! I'm happy to hear there are mom's out there who will try to send in safe foods for our children :) Thank you!!! Good luck!

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By kgirl32 on Wed, 08-11-10, 01:14

Oh, this is a list of food for parents to pack for daily lunches. To be honest, I wouldn't want to prepare food for a severely allergic child - it's a lot of responsibility.

But this food is for the consumption of our child only. I really, really feel for parent with severely allergic children - it must be so frustrating and scary. I also think, however, that a line needs to be drawn - I won't march for my child's right to eat PB in school, but I also don't think it's too much to ask for us to be allowed to pack food such as fresh produce for our own kids. We work hard to make sure our kids eat food that's natural and good for them, and this really is a kid who can't eat lots of sugary prepackaged snacks or he's off the wall. Asking them to eat fruit cups PACKED with sugar, or prepackaged veggies (which just don't taste as good) just seems a step far. Sounds like we might be in agreement there.

And you're right - kids need to not share. For SO many reasons. :)

Thanks for your input..

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By shawnsallergy on Wed, 08-11-10, 18:59

cervonil.... Where could I find a surrport group? I really really could use one. This k year has got off to a bad start for us. My son is eating in the office and hall... This is hard. The school doesnt act like they know how to deal with a peanut allergy. Surport would be great.... Thanks :)

AND AGREE!!! NO SHAREING FOOD!!! First line of defence!

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By cervonil on Wed, 08-11-10, 20:03

Shawnsallergy - my heart is breaking for your little boy. The thought of him eating all alone is NOT right! He needs to be treated like a normal boy, just with special care taken. I am so sorry for you. Here is where I found my support group.

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By shawnsallergy on Wed, 08-11-10, 22:08

Thank you.... I wish you and your son happyness and health!

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By nmainmom on Thu, 08-26-10, 19:17

Our school district banned any homemade snacks or bake goods years ago. It had nothing to do with an allergy. Are you sure you can't take in a bag (or two) of baby carrots? And some kind of veggie dip? They are both prepackaged. It's really hard for someone else to understand all the possible cross cotamination that can occur when washing or preparing food. My daughter has a severe allergy to peanuts. I send in a lot of "safe" snacks for her entire class. Some store name some brand name. You DO have to read the ingredients list and make sure it list any of the 8 allergic foods if they are used in the food. If it is peanut/nut free and NOT made in a facility that produces/processes peanut/nuts then it is safe for my daugher. BUT A LOT of companies ARE NOT listing any allergy info. It's not real hard, you can find a lot of safe "healthy" snacks. If you find a snack you want to send in...read the ingredients...if you think it is safe send in a note to the teacher ask her to send it home with the child for that child's parent(s) to read and ask if that snack is safe and if not, then why? I am the ONE parent that sends in a ton of snacks and drinks for the entire class. I would love it if another parent sent me a note saying they would like to send in a healthy snack that doesn't cost a lot of money and then asked if "this" snack was safe...and if not....why? Let the parent know you want all the children to be safe and you'd like to help but you can't overspend on snacks for school. (We just bought Low Fat Best Choice Honey Graham Crackers. Yes they are safe for our daughter just contains soy and wheat (for allergies) and my daughter loves them.) I hope this helps! Good luck and thank you for trying to help! I'd love your help!

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By nfceagles on Fri, 08-27-10, 16:22

I just came to the forum looking for help on a very similar matter, but I'm coming from the other end of it. My DS is starting k next week and I keep getting asked for a list and I can't seem to get people to understand that it makes no sense in our case.

I totally agree with the original poster. If it were a list for special occassions or if the snacks were provided by parents taking turns, maybe it would make sense, but if the snack is only for your child, then limiting you to prepackage foods is ridiculous. My DS is also allergic to milk and eggs, so I'd be very limited if I could only send in name brand prepackaged foods. I don't think other kids eating possibly cross-contaminated foods is a risk for the vast majority of peanut allergic children. My advice to you would be to have a conversation with the teacher and parent, approaching them in the very kind hearted way you started this topic.

In my case, the classroom was already declared peanut and nut-free before they even knew about my DS. I think they've just made all the k classrooms that way every year. I am not asking that the room be milk and egg free as those allergies are not as bad for my DS. He's spent 2 years in preschool and other places sitting right next to kids eating cheese puffs and cupcakes without ever having a problem. I also told them that in my son's case I don't think it's necessary that other children avoid products labeled for cross-contamination, but that my DS should never eat anything I haven't sent in for him or pre-approved. He's very aware of his allergies, very accustomed to having his own snack, and very obedient about not eating anything else. But they keep asking for a list of ok foods. that list would be 100's if not 1000's of items long. And most of them are things my DS can't eat himself due to his other allergies, so I'm not very familiar with them. A list of banned products would be shorter, but I can't possible create a comprehensive list of all products on the market containing nuts, especially since we don't shop for them.

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By cervonil on Fri, 08-27-10, 16:34

From what I've been told the reason for the banning of "may contain" foods in Kindergarten is b/c some kids do still share, even if they are told not too. Also, according to FAAN 16-18% of reactions happen in school before they know they are allergic, and with the rise of peanut allergy I think they don't want to have an unexpected reaction, as it is traumatizing for all involved. I just spoke with a cashier at Target about this last week. She's an elementary school teacher and it happened and every child was completely freaked out, especially the "sharer" and "sharee". Sometimes even if parents of the allergic child feel it is fine, they want to cover their butts so to speak.

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