Because our daycare is peanut free you can\'t bring food for you PA child

Posted on: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 10:06am
McCobbre's picture
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Okay--this is going to sound strange. The summer day care (a corporate one) where we have DS went peanut free a while back (not when he was in full-time day care but in the last few years).

Last year he was in the same one--just a different location, and he took his food even though they provided a lunch. They provided what seemed to us was probably by and large a peanut free lunch, although DS normally takes his lunch to school--this is SOP for us.

This year, at a different location which we absolutely love (last year we didn't like that location and took him out of it), they have this funny little rule: "Because we have gone peanut free and have taken every precaution to provide meals that are safe, no one is allowed to bring their own lunch. This is to keep our peanut allergic children safe." This is my summary of the rule that my husband has communicated to me, as he has been working with them.

Basically, they don't want anyone bringing any peanut or nut items into their space. It would contaminate their space. Lovely, right?

But would you trust someone else to cook for your child?

I thought so.

Okay. That's one issue. And one we've actually dealt with. DH has spoken with lots of folks there and higher up in the company who have been working on this. They've tossed lots and lots of food because of "may contains." Because they decided they didn't trust certain manufacturers. DH has looked at the labels of everything they use and continues to look at the ingredients every day.

There is a dietician in our urban area and a corporate dietician who focus on these issues.

But still--there are obvious concerns about this.

But here's the kicker for us. PA is not our only issue. DS became a vegetarian in November and is going strong. Even if I were comfortable initially with his eating something others were cooking for him, there's this whole "he's not getting enough to eat and he's not getting enough of the right nutrients to eat" thing.

So this daycare, after a week of our insisting that we supplement the veggies they were providing (that DH checked the labels of every day) with protein sources from home came up with a solution. The dietician came up with a vegetarian lunch.

My head is still spinning about all of this. We've actually let him eat at this place this summer--without packing something for him. DH checks labels.

I'm glad there's a place that so wants to protect children with peanut allergies (and if you're in a Texas metropolitan area, I'll be happy to share this place with you), but I find it ironic and unsettling that it means that **I,** the mother of a PA child can't bring food. There is a child who has a dairy allergy--is not anaphylactic--doesn't have to avoid being around it. But I swear I would find a way to avoid dairy if we needed to (don't know how to while supporting this vegetarian diet--and the day care doesn't avoid dairy--just nuts.

Anyway. I find this odd. And I'm truly grateful. But it's ironic. And it's ironic that PA wasn't my only concern here. I've told DS that PA always trumps vegetariansm, but not so this summer.


Posted on: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 12:05pm
schnoob's picture
Joined: 02/11/2005 - 09:00

I live in Dallas - is this place anywhere near by ? I cant seem to find anywhere that wants to know about being peanut free.

Posted on: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 9:17pm
hopechapel's picture
Joined: 12/11/2005 - 09:00

I think that if they are going to provide lunch that is vegetarian, as well as PA friendly, that you will have to abide by their rules. It is odd and unusual. But, I've read alot on this board about PA parents who are not so strict --- so, they are also making sure you are not one of them. Parents are so unwilling sometimes to eliminate PB -- and their argument, essentially, -- why does the needs of one child trump the food choices of the many? You have to get to their better side to get them to understand that the one deserves a safe classroom. So, if this place is proactive and has gone PA-free --- then, if it were me, I'd be so glad that for once my child does not have to feel like the odd one eating his own food.
Load him up at breakfast and dinner with the nutrient dense food he needs.

Posted on: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 10:19pm
Claire's picture
Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

Personally I feel it is not the right choice to make. I would never allow my son to eat any food that anyone else made because it would teach him to eat from anyone. I know they are peanut free and everything but will this be teaching him to accept food from other people as well.
My son never ate food from anyone until he was a teen and then it was totally up to him as to how he would do it. He would even bring my food to birthday parties,school parties, my inlaws house. I just wanted him to see that only we were the safe house and teach him that others use peanut products. I think with PA we have to teach them at a very young age to say NO to other food.
I guess if it is a rule and your comfortable with them feeding your child then you will have to go with it but I would be such a wreck about it.
You may think this is odd but the other night Chris got some ice cream and he is 20.He was reading it and then he called me in the room. He said "Mom will you read this over again for me". I am afraid I may have missed something.
It kind of made me feel needy. take care Claire

Posted on: Sun, 06/25/2006 - 1:22am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Claire in the above post did you mean to say it made you feel [b]needy[/b] or [b] needed [/b] Big difference.
Boy is this an interesting dilemma...
Now onto the day care. Problem I see is they went ahead and made things safe for kids with allergies and are making an attempt to make vegetarian meals too.
This is tough. I went to my local Vons the other day and picked up a chocolate cake for Father's day. Label was clear. I saw a bakery employee and asked about peanuts and she said "all of our employees are trained to be very careful about peanuts and nuts in our kitchens." OK fine so I asked her what about the ingredients? Did you read the labels on the chocolate, butter, flour and whatever else went into this cake? I asked nicely.
She gave me that blank look that told me she did not know. I put the cake down. Was just reading the label anyway. Planned to make a safe cake at home myself.
Lady said "I said it is safe" and I answered her "I know that but I am not sure the ingredients are safe are you?"
So I probably got marked as a twitch but my son is still alive.
He ate at other kids homes while growing up because his choices were always easy. Ketchup and mustard sandwiches or hot dogs. The moms I trusted read the labels so I did let him eat other places. He had to because someday he's out in the world (like he is now) and I am not there cooking for him every day.
SO I say our kids have to learn to eat foods prepared by others when they are old enough to be sure the labels were read and understood. If the people at the day care are reading the labels and their kitchen is free from cross contaminants I would let my son eat the food.
As I write this something in my gut tells me NO I WOULD NOT LET HIM EAT THERE. But somewhere in my brain and heart tells me we have to teach our kids and ourselves to trust someone sometime and this might be it.
And the part about not bringing food? It brings the whole problem back into our laps. We ask people to read labels and not let their kids bring PB to school, now we are being asked to NOT bring any food to school. It makes us all equal and that is somehow comforting too.

Posted on: Sun, 06/25/2006 - 2:21am
lilpig99's picture
Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

As I write this something in my gut tells me NO I WOULD NOT LET HIM EAT THERE. But somewhere in my brain and heart tells me we have to teach our kids and ourselves to trust someone sometime and this might be it.
And the part about not bringing food? It brings the whole problem back into our laps. We ask people to read labels and not let their kids bring PB to school, now we are being asked to NOT bring any food to school. It makes us all equal and that is somehow comforting too.
Very well said. What a dilema.

Posted on: Sun, 06/25/2006 - 4:35am
Arlene's picture
Joined: 11/03/2004 - 09:00

I agree with others...This is a hard one.
If it were me...
I would thank them for all the efforts they are making for food allergies...however with my child being so young i try to get him into the routine not too eat food unless mum has given it to him. At my sons nursery they did offer to include my son in their snacks and that they would buy food that was safe for him..i told them i appreciated this but i would have to say no...I think it would confuse him for which food was safe..for that reason we have 1 rule. Only food that his parents have given him.
Plus...what would they do if your child had lots of food allergies...say nuts..dairy...wheat..eggs. Would they still provide all the safe food?

Posted on: Sun, 06/25/2006 - 4:57am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Arlene I agree with your stand on this one but my fear is how will we ever get other non allergic people to cooperate with us if we do not trust their efforts.
Maybe trust is not the word. If we know they are reading labels and keeping the kitchen free from contamination and NO ONE is bringing in outside food this should be enough.
I admit it gives me pause and I would worry every single day but I trust some restaurants and they seem much more untrustable than a kitchen run by a dietician.
I think it sets a nice example for our children, now we have added the day care kitchen to the list of people that will keep you safe.
By the way Arlene, Paul says HI!
[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited June 25, 2006).]

Posted on: Sun, 06/25/2006 - 5:40am
Arlene's picture
Joined: 11/03/2004 - 09:00

I see totally where your coming from with this...At some time in our childrens life we are going to have to allow someone to feed them when we are not there.
I suppose i would have to know the settings. With my sons nursery there were a few occasions where they made major mistakes and luckily i stayed with him at nursery on those days to help out and noticed the mistakes before any harm was done, so when they asked me about the snack i kindly refused..however he is going to school this year and there is going to be an option for him to have a school lunch that has been checked by a dietician...i will check out this option and see if i am comfortable with it.
Its just hard to let go and allow someone else to take on the responsability of keeping your child safe.
The answer i gave to this post i think has to do with what is going on in our lifes just now. Aaron (my son) is starting to take food/sweets from people without checking it with us we are trying to stamp down on this and only allow him food from maybe a very biased answer from me. I would say go with your gut feeling.
Peggy...Tell Paul i said hello and i hope everything is going well for him.

Posted on: Sun, 06/25/2006 - 6:26am
McCobbre's picture
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Very interesting responses so far.
I would add that DS is very, very first child. Very rules oriented. Only once or twice in his life has taken food from someone else. Started to read at 39 months and so has always been reading lables--looking for code words for peanuts himself even.
This has been a toughie for us.
Let me also say that we eat out as often as budget allows and time necessitates. I work--usually 50+ hours a week. So does DH--actually, moreso (and sometimes me, too). DS is often at work with DH--and with DH's work this is okay and comfy for DS, BTW.
But we eat out. So on some level, I have been thinking, what's really the difference, except that we aren't with him, and they (the day care) are looking much more closely at ingredients that we actually can when we eat out?
And at some point--college--but really sooner--he will have to learn to do this on his own.
DS is quite mature for his age. Still, this is not something I would dream of pushing on him--even at age 15. DS is 8 now.
And I have this thing: people can tell me that something is safe for my allergy/my son's allergy, but I have no reason to believe that they actually know. I have the same thing with regard to my shellfish allergy (and if any of you have read my post about Chipotle, it's the same thing--you can't tell me your restaurant is safe--I have to see the ingredients myself).
Anyway, this is such a unique situation. The training for how to deal with an emergency really comes into play here.
Something else--just a question--I've raised it before not intending anything hostile--but those of us who have to work (not to afford any luxury--just to get by)--do we have to trust people sooner with our children? Really, just a question here. If I were a SAHM this question might not come up so soon (and I'd be home schooling for sure, so many, many questions wouldn't). Not belittling SAHMs--really, really not. Not saying I have it worse. Please understand. It's a philosophical question.
Do the comfort zones of working moms have to be wider out of necessity?
It's something I've pondered before and I've been pondering again in the last few weeks as my comfort zone has been tested like never before.
During the school year DH picks up DS because he can--and he can keep DS with him, take him to activities or back to his office. Or DH can work at home the rest of the day. We didn't do the Y after care at DS' school because once a month they serve PB snacks, and their only solution was to keep DS at a separate desk all by himself. Not a solution.
But now, here's a place that says, we want you. No one has fully said that to us before. Even DS' peanut free daycare in Dallas made a big deal of it and complained (I was on the board and was made to feel bad about it at times--and they quickly gave up p-free status the second we left). This place says we want you. Wow. So am I willing to increase my comfort zone? Don't know. And do I have to just because of my situation? Because I can't be there all the time to feed DS? Wish I could, but I can't.
These are interesting questions.
DS just left for church camp today with DH. Scary time for me, but DH will be with him the whole time and will be his counselor (by special arrangement). But that zone thing--it's getting all bent out of shape this week for sure.
[This message has been edited by McCobbre (edited June 25, 2006).]

Posted on: Sun, 06/25/2006 - 6:55am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

[b]Do the comfort zones of working moms have to be wider out of necessity? [/b]
Oh my goodness they certainly do don't they?
And no harm intended. I was/am a SAHM and nothing you said up there has injured me.
Even without FAs your comfort zones are different by necessity. So I think when you factor in FAs you have to say working mom's comfort zones differ from mine. I'm assuming this but I am not 100% sure how.
I sent my son to play all over town. He ate lunch among kids who eat PB for every meal and he waited for me on car pool line under a tree that had pine cone PB bird feeders most of the year.
My son is not the poster child for PA and comfort zones because we were the first as far as I was concerned and we never knew anyone with PA until I joined here. He also never had a reaction until he was 14 but he was diagnosed at 5. And we had no idea how serious this can be until that first reaction blew us (and almost him)away!
But I would say If I knew then what I know now I would have been very reluctant to send him to day care or even to school without proper safeguards in place.
And back then in the 80's that would have been an impossiblilty. I do not know what I would have done.


Peanut Free Store

More Articles

There are many reasons why you may want to substitute almond flour for wheat flour in recipes. Of course, if you have a...

Are you looking for peanut-free candies as a special treat for a child with...

Do you have a child with peanut allergies and an upcoming birthday? Perhaps you'd like to bake a...

Most nut butters provide all the same benefits: an easy sandwich spread, a great dip for veggies, a fun addition to a smoothie. But not...

Do you have a sweet tooth and more specifically a chocolate craving? Those with peanut allergies must...