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Sending Son with PA to Preschool

My little guy with a PA is turning 4 next month and I am sending him to preschool. This is a little anxiety invoking since he has been pretty much under my watch since he was diagnosed with his PA at age 1. I spoke to the preschool director at then end of last school year (my daughter was attending there) and she has agreed to make his classroom peanut free. Parents do rotate bringing snacks so I am depending on the other parents and teachers to be vigilant. He will of course have his epi pen with him at school, but I will also be dependent on a teacher to make sure it stays with him as he rotates classrooms during the day. It's all a little scary, but I can't keep him home forever! Any advice from parents who have sent their child with a PA off to preschool for the first time?

By Jill Hammer on Tue, 08-13-13, 23:17

We first researched preschools and found one that was peanut free, and also comfortable with administering an EPI pen. When touring the school we were shown their EPI pen cabinet. Each pen and meds was in a bag with the child's name on it and also their photo. At this school they confiscated any peanut products, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc, and made those kids purchase the meal for the day. So they were very on top of this. Even though this was a peanut free school they would not give my kid anything to eat or drink other than water. I packed ALL snacks and lunches. I asked the teacher to let me know if there was a bday at school. I had cupcakes in my freezer and would send one when there was a bday at school. I also gave a bag of nonperishable snacks to the teacher in case I missed a bday, or there was a special holiday type snack that day. Halloween, Christmas are hard since kids get little candy treats, like plain m&ms (mfgrd in a peanut facility). Even though it was a peanut free school I think some parents still didn't realize some things are manufactured in a facility. I always had extra stuff at home to swap out. Good luck!

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By Sarah McKenzie on Mon, 08-05-13, 14:01

Traci - bring your child a safe snack everyday.

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By informedmomma on Mon, 08-12-13, 16:17

I was going to say the same thing. :)

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By OurSons on Mon, 08-05-13, 11:06

I completely understand your anxiety. We have two PA in our house and at the beginning of each school year I give the teacher a packet. It includes an example on how to read a label for peanut allergies, a peanut free snack list, a list of websites explaining what a peanut allergy is and what a reaction looks like, I also include some websites that have games that the students in their classes can play that explain it at an elementary level. The last thing I include is a letter from me explaining their individual reactions and my contact information. Last year I even went into one of my son's classrooms and explained it to the students and I gave his teacher a copy of "Alli the Allergic Elephant". I know this might be over kill to some but I've only ever run into one teacher who didn't appreciate the information and it makes me feel better.

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By mom1995 on Mon, 08-05-13, 04:13

To jiffycansuckit.... You are a teacher? Who ate a pbj with a pa student in your room? You are a great example of why so many of us have little respect for your profession. You are a teacher NOT a doctor. You maybe a pa parent but you are not in the doctor office with any of your students and their doctor so you are NOT qualified to make ANY decisions for any other child but your own. You need only do as you are told when it comes to other peoples medical issues. Do us all a favor keep your narrow minded comments to yourself.

By jiffycansuckit on Mon, 08-05-13, 04:41

Man, beat someone up for being honest about how they understood a peanut allergy before their child had one. I used it as an example of how others don't understand the allergy and how you have to be careful.

Yes, I did that. I don't have any problem admitting my mistakes. I was wrong. See there? I did it again. I can admit when I was wrong. Don't beat me up for a mistake that I made 8 years ago. When someone confesses something, have compassion that they can admit their failures. I hope you don't treat your children the way a few of you have treated me, when they confess some wrongdoing to you. What hateful comments you have made.

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By mom1995 on Mon, 08-05-13, 11:27

I can appreciate someone owning their mistakes. However you only went on to say how teachers are trained and know what to do, and how this parent should approach the teacher but sucking up. After 11 years of dealing with educators in 3 different states I can say niceness only works if the person you are dealing with doesn't go into it 'knowing' they are better educated then you the parent. In you second post you made reference to 'being able to make the decision'. My point was you are not, Being a pa parent I would NEVER tell another I know better then you. That is exactly how your comment came accross. Don't get your nickers in a twist when someone calls you out for your apparent know it all ness.

By dkdkdk on Mon, 08-05-13, 03:37

I would be very careful with food items brought to school by other parents. My daughter attends a peanut free school and a peanut free snack list is distributed to every parent. I have found that many parents dont pay attention or don't remember to check for peanut free especially if it comes from a bakery or specialty shop. We have a special cupcake kept in the freezer for her at the school for birthday or other holiday celebrations.

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By DrCarol on Mon, 08-05-13, 01:53

My son started pre-school at 2 yrs old, and the school had had only a few students with food allergies. I made a notebook with my son's photos hours after his one and only peanut allergy reaction. I made an appointment with all my son's teachers just before the start of the school year and explained what a peanut allergy looks like, how to prevent an allergic reaction, and how to treat it. I showed them the photos and taught them how to use the epipens. I walked them thru the Allergy Action Plan, and "quizzed" each one of them on how to use the pens. I also made up a bag of safe treats for days when the school or a parent gives out treats. I also have been teaching my son since he was one year old (I gave him peanut butter on his first birthday :-( ) that he can ONLY EACH FOOD THAT MOMMY SENDS TO SCHOOL. I also check in periodically with his teachers and quiz them about how to give the epipen. I have also told select parents of other students about his allergy and they have all been very understanding and supportive, though most don't really understand the food restrictions. My best advise to parents is be proactive: 1) teach the teachers how to handle the situation; 2) that a food allergy, like peanut allergy, is LIFE THREATENING, very unlike an allergy to grass or dust. Check with the teachers periodically throughout the year and THANK THEM for teaching and for taking such wonderful care of your child. It really takes a village to care for a child with a peanut allergy. Hugs to all of you moms & dads out there!

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By TanyaDawn on Sun, 08-04-13, 22:03

Hi, I know how stressful this can be. I went though the same thing when my daughter started kindergarten years ago with her peanut/nut allergy. Up until that point she had always been home with me. We created a bin of snacks for her to keep in the classroom. We just bought a little Rubbermaid bin and put her name on it and filled it with peanut free snacks just for her. The teacher kept it in the classroom. Then when a parent showed up with cupcakes or treats for the kids that my daughter couldn't have or we didn't have any notice that the parents were bringing anything in or the teacher wasn't sure if our daughter could have them then she was able to go to her special bin and take one of her treats. It worked out great! Another thing I used to do when she would go to friends houses for birthday parties was I would try to talk to the parents and find out what flavor cake they would be serving, chocolate/ vanilla etc and then I would make cupcakes at home and send her with one. Then when all the kids were eating chocolate cake she was too! The kids didn't realize, nor did they care and everyone got their cake and ate it too. Btw my daughter is now starting grade 8 in the fall. Knock on wood we've never had to use the Epipen and she's been safe all these years in school. We have to always be watching but it's a bit easier now that she can help manage it. I also wrote and illustrated a children's book about kids in situations like going to school, parties, Halloween etc, It's called "Squirrel's Peanut Allergy. Check it out on line! Hope all this helps.

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