6 y.o. carrying Epi

Posted on: Tue, 09/02/2003 - 11:18pm
AmyS's picture
Joined: 07/19/2001 - 09:00

I saw the thread below about Epi locations & this is along the same lines. My son started a new school today (multiple anaphylactic allergies) and we had meetings including 504 and everything in place. The school is gr. 1-5 and my son is a small 6 y.o. The nurse called late yesterday to tell me that the principal wants him to "carry" the epi. I know some of you allow this, but I object to it being on him. I'm worried about it accidentally discharging and I feel that one of the 6 monitors at lunch recess should be able to carry it. It's in his 504 for him to carry, but when we met with the principal & nurse, we told them we found it objectiionable and they were okay with having epis at several locations. The original 504 mtg was for another school-this is confusing-we met in June and 2 days later were informed that the 1st graders would attend a different school (the K school renovations were not complete). So, the 504 was for a different venue. I hope I have not confused anyone. Please let me know what you think. I have a call into the district 504 coordinator too.
thanks, Amy

Posted on: Tue, 09/02/2003 - 11:49pm
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

As soon as a child is old enough, I think it's best if they carry it themselves in school and everywhere. But my son is 7 and I don't really want him carrying it right now either. He's responsible about his allergy, but this is a "burden" I don't want him to have right now. He would have to take it off for gym and it would bother him during recess. He is not used to wearing it and it gets in his way. I just want him to be "free" for a little longer. So I understand your not wanting him to carry it.
The trade-off, of course, is that if school staff is required to carry it, they will sometimes forget. I have been at school and I've seen that they've forgotten it. If he wore it, the epi would always be immediately available.
I know a lot of young kids wear their epis. I think that is great! I am all for it, and I know for most kids they are accustomed to it and it's not a burden at all. But my son has always intensely disliked wearing the belt. He will have to get used to it, but I want to give him more time. I guess just like with the Medic Alert and eating different snacks at parties, etc., different things bother different kids. Many kids wear it routinely and think nothing of it and I think that is great.
Also, our school does very very little to accommodate the allergy. At least by forcing them to be responsible for toting the epi, I think more staff and teachers are forced to keep the allergy in mind and be more aware of the seriousness of the situation.

Posted on: Wed, 09/03/2003 - 1:32am
PeanutKate's picture
Joined: 05/24/2000 - 09:00

My son has never found it a burden to carry the pens [he has the double epi belt].
He finds it reassuring to have them with him always. He does not have to rely on someone else to remember them. In anaphylaxis support group meetings for children I have heard other children talk about how worried they are when teachers forget "just this one time" to take it to the playground, gym, next classroom etc. Often after meetings children ask to carry their own. My son is small for his age [now 8] and has carried them since age 5. Other parents have reported that introducing it later can be problematic as changing habits is sometimes difficult. I think that sometimes we are overprotective of our children based on our negative feelings about the allergy. They can be much less hesitant and much more appreciative of the positive aspects of being in control even from a very young age.
In terms of safety the epi-belt has a plastic clasp that can withstand 300lbs of pull. The protective casing, which houses the pen can withstand 1000lbs of pressure. The case is sealed by the end cap attached to the velcro strap. I believe this is extremely safe.
My humble opinions. Have you talked to your child about his/her feelings? You could be surprised. I have often been surprised as I have talked with my son and listened to the other children [age 3 to 16] talk about their experiences and desires regarding their control/responsibility for their own allergy.
[This message has been edited by PeanutKate (edited September 03, 2003).]

Posted on: Wed, 09/03/2003 - 7:57am
Donni's picture
Joined: 11/06/2000 - 09:00

I posted on another thread that my 5 year old son wears his EpiPen in the E-Belt. Reasoning? Zak has been aware of his allergies for 3 years now and has been taught, on an age appropriate basis, how to take care of himself. He will always have this life-threatening allergy (barring some miracle, etc.) and thus, must learn to manage his life with it. Mommy or a teacher will not always be with him. Also, given the public school system (USA), I do not want to rely 100% on someone looking for the EpiPen while my son dies. (The school personnel also concurred with this--they wanted at least one on him so there would be no delay.)
Zak is comfortable with the EpiPen in the E-Belt and doesn't mind answering his classmates questions about it. He will be going "on air" at his school this week to announce his donation of "No Nuts for Me" to his school library...just to be able to tell others that the book will help them understand his allergy.
Just a thought...has anyone every observed play ground monitors "watching" the kids play at school? I did just yesterday--2 Kindergarten or 1st grade classes (30-40 kids) being "watched" by 2 play ground monitors (teachers?). Took me a good 3 minutes to find the monitors on the play ground (an area of only 2 monkey bars!)...and one had her back to the kids! At least 6 kids were in an area away from the main area and close to the woods! No one said a thing to them. This is an above-average school in an above-average neighborhood. Scarey.

Posted on: Wed, 09/03/2003 - 9:34am
AmyS's picture
Joined: 07/19/2001 - 09:00

Thank you for all of your prompt responses and being frank with me. I think it is helpful to know that many of you have your kids carrying, I just don't think it is right for my child at this time. I may change my mind though at a later point.
Anyway, it boiled down to my husband calling the nurse (since nobody called me back this morning). The nurse saw the district 504 coordinator at school and they discussed the problem. Then, the 504 person finally called me back. We are deleting the "carry" clause in his 504 (I put it in writing) and she will "reissue" the plan. Meanwhile, the nurse spoke to some of the monitors and one was assigned for the lunchroom to carry epi and she will pass it to the outdoor/recess monitor (1 of 6 people available).
The 504 coordinator turned out to be much nicer on the phone than at our meeting. She asked if I had called the bus company (I had not-I was planning on briefing the 2 drivers tomorrow) and she offered to call on my behalf to see if they have any policy in place. At dinner, my son said the bus drivers were both nice (unsolicited). They made sure all the little kids sat up front.
The nurse wants 2 more epis to place in other locations. Gym and someplace else. I feel that 6 epis are enough. The nurse trained the whole staff and then the monitors.
I will see the nurse again tomorrow. It seems like I have spent the last 2 days on this (in addition to all the standard weeks/months of preparation).
I also agree that some of the monitors can be unreliable (but then again, I see parents who don't watch their kids either). I think the nurse tried to select the most "competent" people. We will see how things go.
Thanks again for the honesty and all the ideas. I appreciate it.
[This message has been edited by AmyS (edited September 03, 2003).]

Posted on: Wed, 09/03/2003 - 10:46am
Codyman's picture
Joined: 08/14/2002 - 09:00

My daughter is 6 years old and currently does not wear her epipen all the time at school. In her classroom there is an epipen and in her backpack there are 2 epipens and her ventolin and areochamber. She goes to Daycare before and after school so she needs to have her epipens and puffer with her to have back at the daycare.
NO food is allowed to be eaten outside on the playground, so I feel there is no need for my daughter to wear her epipen during recess or after lunch when they go out to play.
I also thought that if she wears the epipen, then in the hot weather as the temperature rises the epipen would be exposed to the heat for too long.
I feel very confident with the school my daughter attends, perhaps one day she may wear her epipen around her waist all day.

Posted on: Wed, 09/03/2003 - 11:37am
DilemmaDave's picture
Joined: 04/15/2003 - 09:00

I don't feel my five year old sons are ready to carry the pen themselves. While they are aware of the allergy, I don't feel they understand it enough yet. At least the consequences of the pen and it's use/misuse.
I have no concerns in their classrooms this year. The Kindergarten classrooms are basically an entity unto themselves. They will each have two pens in their respective rooms.
The kindergarten playground is separate from the rest, and two monitors will carry the pens (one for each) on the playground.
My plan is to 'wean' them into this over their first year of school, and maybe by the end of the year have them start to carry the pens themselves.
David W.

Posted on: Sun, 10/05/2003 - 1:29am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

We found out she had a pa when she was 11 months old. I wasn't going to get the medic alert bracelet or let her wear the epi pen until she was older. Then it was pointed out to me ~ what if we were in a car accident and I was unconscious (or heaven forbid dead) I ordered the bracelet that day!! As for the epi pen, it was also pointed out to me, the earlier they start wearing it, the sooner it becomes second nature to them. BEFORE SHE STARTED WEARING it, (when she was 2), she found her epi pen in the red medic alert bag, in the cupboard, got it out, got in open, and then injected herself in the shin of her left leg. We had to take her to emergency because the needle had bent like a fish hook when it hit the bone. It would not come out. Exrays should it was not IN the bone so they just pulled it out with a plyer-like instrument. As for the medicine that was injected into her, NO DAMAGE at all.
It has been 4 years, since then. She has been carrying her epi pen in the fanny pack for 2 years now. I purchased this strong plastic case designed especially for epi-pens.the lid is a rubber tip which allows for the extra space needed if the needle is ever out. (I got from a drug store) When she started kindergarten, she was very well aware of her condition. I taught her that NOBODY was allowed to touch or look at her epi-pen. She took that quite seriously. She never opened it for anybody. I would rather have that life saver ON HER BODY rather than in a bag somewhere where she is not. I still have a spare in the office and two in my purse. Please reconsider letting them carry their own. We all know it could take only 2 minutes to die. How long could it take to somebody else to run, FIND, and return with the epi pen during a reaction?

Posted on: Sun, 10/05/2003 - 2:01am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Just thought I'd add in my 2 cents. Last year I went in to the school about my son keeping an epi there. I expected a battle because I wanted one in his class, not locked in an office somewhere. They requested one to be left in the office (with all the other extra epi's) and one *on his person*. I said "he's only five". I really didn't feel he was ready.
I posted here for advice on what he should carry it in. And I purchased the e-belt. His school is accustomed to one epi in the office and one with the child. To expect them to remember to bring it everywhere (and not lose it) would be unreasonable [b]in my case[/b]. Although I was very scared to let him carry it around himself, I am very happy with how things have worked out. When he goes out anywhere he now remembers to put on his belt (even I occasionally forget). When we go out he sometimes makes sure his belt is hanging on it's usual post for his big brothers to reach if it's needed. And he reminded big brother that he had to wear it to the zoo. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
[i]I want to point out that up until we got his belt I carried ds' epi in my purse with mine, which is why I sometimes forget his belt. In an emergency I would have mine with me and would definitely use it on him.[/i]

Posted on: Sun, 10/05/2003 - 11:34pm
Jodi2boys's picture
Joined: 01/23/2003 - 09:00

I just read everyone's opinion about their child wearing their own Epipen (my son is 4 and I was wondering when he should start). But, what I was confused about was...for those of you who said that your child wears their Epipen on them~~do they know how to self-administer it? Someone wrote that her son wears his on him because you can't always depend on a teacher or aide to be there (such as recess)...so, I was wondering if that meant he could administer the Epipen himself if he had a reaction? Thanks!
Mommy to:
Jake~ 4 yrs. old- PA
Sam~ 2 yrs. old- Not PA

Posted on: Mon, 10/06/2003 - 12:02am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Jodi, I'm afraid I haven't gotten that far in my teaching yet. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img]
I realize at five he should be getting prepared, but it was a big hurdle for me to allow him to carry his epi. Also, his allergy is to insects and we spent the summer trying to teach him be careful you're allergic, but also, play outside - have fun. He has always been terrified of bugs so this was a hard lesson. He's also terrified of needles, so we felt teaching it all at once could cause *system overload*.
Also, since he's in kindergarten there is still always someone near him who can administer it. All our babysitters have someone in their family with an epi-pen, and the friend he visits is the son of a surgical nurse. All staff members at his school are trained.
I plan to start teaching him about how to use it in the spring, so he will be prepared by the time he starts grade 1.



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