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Should I quit my job to stay home with my PA son

Hi, my 18 month old son just had a severe allergic reaction. At the babysitters he was given a peanut butter sandwich and he'd never had PB before. I was called to come get him from work as he had some hives. 20 min later I arrived and he was wheezing and covered in hives and trying to fall asleep. I rushed him to emergency room, and they gave him an EpiPen, prednisone and a proton pump inhibitor for inflammation. I have been with this daycare lady for 8 years with my other 2 boys. She promises she'll no longer serve peanut butter on the days he's there but her home is not peanut free. I have been packing all his lunches for the last 2 weeks since the allergic reaction but I sit at work all day worried he will touch something in her home with PB on it and put his fingers in mouth. Should I be this worried? I am thinking of quitting my job to be home with him as peanut free daycare basically costs what I make in a day (I have 3 kids at the babysitters in the summer). Did any of you ever leave work to stay home with your PA child or change daycares? This lady is a family friend and I don't want to hurt her but I am fearful he will get into something at her house since it is not peanut free.

By MadelynesMom on Tue, 08-20-13, 04:33

I say go with your gut. I am convinced that no one does it better than mom (that's you). Be prepared as things will be harder financially but you can cut costs creatively! Good luck!

By gmlmom on Mon, 08-19-13, 02:00

I completely understand. This is a very hard decision and it will be different for everyone.

My daughter was 2.5 when she had her first reaction. When the tests came back she was off the charts she was so allergic to peanuts. This was 10 yrs ago and back then the food labeling law had not been passed and so many people did not understand. I quit my job. To me all I could see was my daughter's life and did not consider anything else. I am writing this because I had a wonderful career, excellent job and money was not an issue. I thought I would be able to return to work whenever I chose to do so. That however was not the case. When I decided to return to the work force I was considered "obsolete". It took me 3 yrs and 2000 resumes before I found something. My job is at a much lower level and 1/2 the pay it was when I left in 2003.

Having said all this I would not do anything differently. I did not see other options at the time. People are much more aware now, but you need to decide your specific circumstances. I just wanted you to know that if you leave your career you may not get it back. I never thought that would happen and I did not take that into consideration when leaving.

I wish you luck in trying to reach your decision and with the health of your little boy. I realize right now things are overwhelming. It will get better, I promise. Your life is forever changed but you will be able to find out what works for you and your family. Good luck.

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By shumakerm on Sun, 08-18-13, 22:42


You cannot be overly concerned with a child that young and anyone can make mistakes. I would give serious thought to either A)Finding another mom who cares for a PA child who can watch your child or B)Quitting your job and taking in another child to care for to make some money for yourself.

As someone who has now dealt with the peanut allergy for five years, it is so easy to make a mistake. My son did go to preschool three weeks before he turned four. But I started drilling it into him at 2.5 to always ask if something is safe no matter how many times he's seen it and he may not eat ANYTHING without Mom or Dad's permission. His preschool was very small and I was there to check snacks each day. I always had safe snacks in the classroom. The following year the same preschool changed its policy and allergic children could only eat snacks packed by their parents (a safer decision). Now my first grader is headed to a large school and I am very nervous. Fortunately, he's never needed an EPI pen and has only been exposed one other time to peanuts. HOWEVER, that reaction was scary - huge hives everywhere, vomiting hours later in the middle of the night. He required round-the-clock Benadryl AND Zyrtec AND an Aveeno bath to get rid of the hives, which took 48 hours to clear up. All that from his touching a Chinese food container and then eating a banana. You cannot be too careful. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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By momtoemie on Mon, 08-19-13, 00:57

Wow! He touched a food container & had a reaction from that?? Holy cow. My child's allergist told us to give epi for vomiting... I am scared that every time she gets the flu I am going to be wondering if I need to get the pen out:(

Thank you for sharing - you reminded me that I need to reinforce the importance of hand washing before eating!

Take care.

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By shumakerm on Mon, 08-19-13, 11:48

You're welcome. His latest R.A.S.T. test showed that his allergy is a 44 out of 100 (up from 18 two years ago) or 4 out of 6, depending on scale you use. He definitely also has a contact allergy to nuts/legumes. He is SEVERELY allergic to dander and has life-threatening asthma. Fortunately, his asthma is under control and he is very responsible about his allergy. However, he is just a small child, so he could easily make a mistake. I actually worry more about when he becomes a teen and is out of my sight. I am praying for a medication that will prevent the reaction by then. Scientists are learning more and more about what is going on in the bodies of those with allergies.

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By informedmomma on Mon, 08-19-13, 01:59

In our experience, the vomiting associated with a reaction is violent and non-stop, and he always felt great beforehand, and pretty good afterward. Hope that helps distinguish a reaction from the flu. :)

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By momtoemie on Tue, 08-20-13, 01:03

Thank you! Did you epi pen for it?

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By informedmomma on Tue, 08-20-13, 02:27

No, but I know more now, and I probably would if it happened again. I definitely would if he had a rash or any other symptoms along with it. Our new allergist said if two body systems are affected, give the epi.

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By momtoemie on Sun, 08-18-13, 22:28

That was good advice from the person who said to "breathe...". It's been almost a year since our 22 month old was diagnosed & I still have lots of questions about how to handle this allergy. And I am even a Registered Dietitian. No nutrition training in the world can prepare you for all the concerns you have with this.

But I can give you some advice here. My allergist is very well respected in Ann Arbor. He told me that the day care had to be peanut-free or move her. We go to a small in-home day care & the kids are in her finished basement (which has it's own kitchen that she uses for the day care). At first my provider offered to just not let the other kids eat it when my daughter was there. I told her what my allergist said that I would need to move her. Luckily,she was great & quickly said she would not have it downstairs. I do not expect her to remove it from her upstairs kitchen since the kids are not there. However, if her home kitchen & the day care kitchen were the same - I would have expected it to be removed. The risk of cross contamination is just too great. What if one of the other kids smeared some on the seat & she missed it only to have my daughter stick her hand in it later. I also was pro-active & donated some Wow butter & Sun Butter for them to try & the kids like that just fine. I do not know if you need to stay home for this reason but you need to have a real heart-to-heart with your current provider & decide if you are comfortable with your child in her care. If not - look around.

Good luck! I know it's not easy;)

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By Yael Kozar on Sun, 08-18-13, 19:08

My daughter didn't end up bad she started out high level anaphylactic at 18 months and 2 weeks to peanuts which she was around all the time. Something switched in her system at this time. I can't imagine if she was in someone else's care. It took me years to train her age approp. to her stages in life. No one "got it" not even family. Constant vigilance and training. You can't even train someone if you don't know the obstacles yourself. Every time I saw Nanny's and day care situations I knew I was going to have to do this to keep her alive. We had 6 near misses until she turned 7. And that was with me training her. At 18 months she can not take care of herself and learn to navigate in the real world. You as her mother are going to have to learn how to navigate too. THere is no perfect book, senerio, every child is unique for her anaphylactic allergies. YOu will not even know how strong her immune system is for years when it comes to dodging bullets or peanuts as we say in the advocacy world. My daughter is now 13 and can go to the beach or a movie with her friends without me. She is secure, vigilant, not risky when it comes to eating or being anywhere near peanuts which are literally everywhere! Be involved and stay involved or create a great day care, nanny situation. It will take you years to learn how to manage this and meanwhile you train her. At 18 months there is no living in the real world when anything she touches can kill her. But with your guidance and support she will be navigating every day in preschool, school and the real world. You don't want to make her allergy worse with near misses you will be dodging with her or especially without her without people "getting it" . Some peanut allergies are OAS some are even airborne like mine. SOme parents can relax. Mine is extreme so I have had to relax being in control and making her an ACTIVE participant in her own life-giving her control, strength and courage to do anything as long as she has her life-sustaining meds, can get to a phone to call 911 and enlists her friends cause it takes a village. My daughter is an advocate herself and helps other teens have fun be safe and be diplomatic in the real world. If you can try to work from home or see if your boss can allow you pt time. This is really hard financially. I have been an advocate and spokesperson helping families for over 10 years for free.

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