concerned about my child\'s safety, and not sure how to fix it

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 11:17am
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

My 6-1/2 year old (no food allergies) came home from his first day
of first grade with some news that has me concerned about my younger
child's safety. I'm trying to figure out how to handle this. I
should say first that my 2-1/2 year old seems to be very sensitive
to peanut residues. He's had reactions from touching things where
no residues were visible. They weren't full-blown reactions, but
nonetheless obviously we want to avoid them.

If Brendan is telling me this accurately, you put your lunchbox into
a big bucket. The bucket then is carried to the lunchroom by a
cafeteria aide. The kids take their food out of their lunchboxes,
return the lunchboxes to the bucket, and then retrieve the bucket at
the end of lunch to put away any containers. They then put the
lunchbox back in the bucket.

It seems to me that kids are eating PB&J or other peanut products,
have it all over their hands, and are handling their lunchboxes.
That same lunchbox could be touching my child's lunchbox in the
bucket. Keep in mind that my elementary-aged child has no food
allergies, but my safety concern is his younger brother. Since I
can't put the lunchbox through the dishwasher or washing machine,
I'm not comfortable that I can get peanut residues off it. Until we
find a better solution, I'm sending a brown lunchbag for him to
throw away every day, but this limits my ability to send anything
requiring ice and it seems likely to split open (not to mention that
it's terrible for the environment). Should I suggest that he carry
his own lunchbox and that he keep it next to the buckets in the
lunchroom? If they have a bucket for kids with peanut allergies,
then that would be fine, but I highly doubt they do. This year
there are no peanut allergic children in his class, so I can't work
with another parent on this issue. The only other idea I've come up
with is keeping the lunchbox outside the house and then loading it
up every morning (rather inconvenient). I am not comfortable having
in my home a lunchbox with probable peanut residues since my younger
child has had so many contact reactions.

Please let me know if you think it's OK to ask that he carry his lunchbox and keeps it separate during lunch, or if you have another solution to this issue.

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 11:29am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Until you find a permanent solution, how about if you use a paper bag inside a ziploc bag, and have him bring the ziploc bag with the ice pack home, and toss the plastic bag? Not a good long term solution, but that's what I usually did on school trips.
I've heard of that "bucket system" in other schools. Why can't they each just take their own darned lunch box to the cafeteria?
Amy

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 1:08pm
3xy1PAinNH's picture
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Joined: 08/07/2006 - 09:00

Yikes....my son's school does this. It is a part of morning routine. If you have a bag lunch you put it in the bin and sit down. If you are having hot lunch, you stand until you are noted so the lunchladies know how much to prepare. Then all lunches are carted down to the caf. together.
It is NOT an issue for ds as he is NOT PA....but I hadn' thought about how much of an issue this MIGHT be for my 3 yo when he gets to school!

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 2:00pm
Daisy's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006 - 09:00

Noticed this at DD's(NKA) school for the little ones. I asked her what the bin was for...she said the Kindergarten class may be at gym/computer/library before their lunch break. So this is the way they make sure all the lunches get to the cafeteria.
The older kids take their lunch along, if they go to another classroom. So you may not have to worry about this next year.
For now, could you get him one of the old-fashioned lunch boxes? (One of the metal ones you could wipe off.)
And if you freeze sandwiches the night before, they stay nice and cold until lunchtime the next day.
When she is taking something that doesn't need to come home, I usually send DD's lunch in a grocery store plastic bag. They don't break as easily as the paper bags. Works great for field trips, and you can still write their name with a Sharpie marker. Just tie-up the handles.
Good luck,
Daisy

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 2:35pm
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

DD's school does this. I made a separate bin and labelled it "nut-free lunches". DD's was the only one in there- but it made us feel a little better since she is contact reactive. Also, I sponge off her lunchbox every night.
Cathy
------------------
Mom to 7 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 1/2 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 2:53pm
kandomom's picture
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Joined: 01/12/2006 - 09:00

Our school does this too.
I notice that 'cinch sacks' (easy to sew draw string type bag) seem popular this year. Could you get a bunch that are made of fabric and us them for the lunch bag? Plastic containers can hold the sandwich so it doesn't get squished. Toss the bags in the laundry and the containers in the dishwasher.
Good luck finding something that works for you and family!

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 7:30pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

DD with PA started kindergarten yesterday and the school uses the bins. The bin is outside of the classroom, therefore her class continues to be "peanut free" since no lunches come in. Emily does not use the bin. She brings her lunch into the room. After lunch, she also brings her lunch into the room, while the others are kept in the bin outside the door. So her lunchbox does not touch anybody elses.

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 9:01pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

DS's school did this, too. The lunches of FA children didn't go in the bin with the others. That was a procudure that was in place before we got there, as there have been FA kids before him. I use the past tense just because he will going to a different school starting tomorrow.

Posted on: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 7:27am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thanks so much for giving me a great solution! The teacher and I have agreed that his lunchbox will be placed outside the basket, my child will carry it to the cafeteria himself, and he will return it to the classroom himself (kids carry the baskets of lunchboxes, so he won't be isolated from the others).

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 11:29am
Going Nuts's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Until you find a permanent solution, how about if you use a paper bag inside a ziploc bag, and have him bring the ziploc bag with the ice pack home, and toss the plastic bag? Not a good long term solution, but that's what I usually did on school trips.
I've heard of that "bucket system" in other schools. Why can't they each just take their own darned lunch box to the cafeteria?
Amy

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 1:08pm
3xy1PAinNH's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/07/2006 - 09:00

Yikes....my son's school does this. It is a part of morning routine. If you have a bag lunch you put it in the bin and sit down. If you are having hot lunch, you stand until you are noted so the lunchladies know how much to prepare. Then all lunches are carted down to the caf. together.
It is NOT an issue for ds as he is NOT PA....but I hadn' thought about how much of an issue this MIGHT be for my 3 yo when he gets to school!

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