My daughter was diagnosed with a PA at 20 months old. She is now 2 years old. We have not had an incidence since the initial reaction so I am not even sure that she would be able to tell me something does not feel right or really know what to say. Being only just recently diagnosed, as a mom I am so anxious about letting her go to other people's houses to play and eat for fear that she will get into something and they will not know what to do. I have seen people just hand her food and luckily I have been there to swipe it before she eats it, just merely not thinking. We have "trained" all our family how to use the epi-pens and the signs and symptoms to watch for when she is having a reaction. Still I read so many times the epi is not given when it needs to be. I know at some point she will want to go play at others houses and I can't keep her here and at my parents house (both completely peanut free environments). How do you cope? How do you know when the right time is? How do you trust others? I know they would not hurt her intentionally, it just scares me to death though. I am looking for advice what you did and how to make sure all environments are "safe" for her no matter where she is when I am not around to "monitor". Thank you so much from a very anxious mother!
By PeanutAllergy.com on Apr 7, 2015
Question of the Week: Answered!
Every week, PeanutAllergy.com answers one of the questions posted in our community.
Thank you for your question. We understand how stressful protecting a child with peanut allergy can be, especially when they’re in someone else’s care.
Although you won’t always be around to look after your daughter, you can teach her to have a level of caution she needs to be safe. Here’s a previous discussion among our members about their experience teaching their children.
Furthermore, teaching your daughter which foods are safe to eat will allow her to advocate for herself when she’s older. Find out what other precautions she can take here.
It’s great that you’ve taught your family members about the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction. You can provide this life-saving information to whomever will be caring for your child in your absence as well. Here’s a great overview of recognizing and treating anaphylaxis which you can send to a caregiver. Feel free to browse our site for additional resources.
It can be difficult to explain your daughter’s allergy to others too. Find out how to effectively communicate with people who may not understand her allergy here.
Living with a food allergy -- whether you have it or your child does -- can cause or perpetuate anxiety. Learn more about that connection here. Fortunately, there is an effective technique for reducing this anxiety, which you can read about here.
Another way to relieve anxiety is to start or join a support group for parents of kids with allergies. Learn more about the benefits of support groups and how to go about starting or finding one here.
We asked our Facebook community to offer their advice, and here’s what they had to say.
We hope you find this information useful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our community with any other questions you may have. Take care!
By 2crazyboys on Apr 16, 2015
How did you handle invitations to birthday parties when you didn't know the parents? My pa son is 5, and I recently attended a birthday party at one of his friend's house with him. I was the only parent that stayed for the party. I felt awkward, but I got away with it since he's 5. I have a feeling that staying for the party is quickly going to become a non-option as he gets older. I could send him safe food, or ask to check labels when dropping him off, but how do you tell a parent you don't really know that they have to learn how to use an epipen??
By email@example.com on Apr 12, 2015
I completely understand your concerns. My son was diagnosed with his peanut allergy when he was 18 months old and is now 14. He also now has a tree nut allergy. He has NEVER had a serious reaction since his first. It is possible. First, education is key! You said you already "trained" all your family. That's great! You will have to do the same for all babysitters, family friends and the parents of your child's friends. She is really to young at this stage to be going to friends houses without you, but she will be soon enough. I always made sure my sons friends and their parents knew all signs and symptoms, and they were shown how to use the epi-pen. (Some parents weren't comfortable with it. He didn't stay there if they weren't. Most were ok with it) they were told what foods were ok and what wasn't. I also would ask them to make sure any other children in the house didn't have PP&J for lunch before he came over or while he was there. If it was ever a problem. He didn't go! I would always send him with safe snacks and a dessert. I always sent enough for my son, his friend and if there were any siblings. I always felt better if I knew the snacks they were eating were safe and if I sent enough for everyone there was less of a chance that they would have other stuff. Kids always like stuff that's not always in their own house lol we also thought our son to NEVER, EVER eat something he had never had before. He always called home to check if he wasn't sure. Even when at my moms house. Some of his friends houses I wasn't comfortable leaving him at, so I didn't. I'd have that friend come by our house. It is scary at first. It does get better. Just teach her to never try someone's food or eat anything she's not sure of. You'll know when she's old enough and responsible enough to go on her own. You have some time for that. Hope this helped. Stay well and safe, Darlene
By dkdkdk on Jul 14, 2015
It can be difficult but you will figure out what works. I only leave my PA daughter w friends who know how to use the Epi and I can trust. They check w me if they go out to eat or pick up or send me pics of ingredients of foods. Another option is to send your own food/snx w your child. I know that's not fun, but she will get used to it. For bdays I bring a cupcake for her in a clear bag w ribbon (to make it seem special to her) & stay for the party every time regardless if other parents do & just let the parent know why. sometimes it does feel awkward! Many people don't understand cross contamination (even if you try to explain it). Many are very supportive & try but don't quite know how risky some things can be. You have to trust their child too. Sometimes they'll offer things & if they don't physically see nuts, they may tell your child there's no nuts. Remind your child EVERY time to NEVER take food from adults or kids wo you approving 1st. I wish the best for you. It is very nerve wracking but you will get it!! You just cannot be too trusting! My daughter had a severe rxn when she was 6 and will not forget it so she will not take food from anyone or eat anything unless she's 100% sure it's ok, although I have had a parent offer her & tell her something was ok when they had no clue about cross contamination (she trusted the parent & ate it, I was not happy!).