Flying with nut allergic children

Posted on: Mon, 06/17/2002 - 6:01pm
Kimee's picture
Joined: 10/30/2001 - 09:00

pHello /
I have not posted very much previously, and am writing from Australia. This subject should probably be under the Airline board, however these circumstances are a little different and I need some advice in a hurry please./p
pWe are having to make an unexpected flight this week and have 2 boys who are both nut allergic. Bailey (3.5yrs)allergic to cashew nuts and Brandon (2 yrs) allergic to peanuts almonds. I am VERY nervous as you can imagine and am thinking that I may cancel the whole thing the way things are going. There are 2 main airlines who fly on the route we are travelling and neither are prepared to guarantee a nut-free flight. One suggested that even if they did not serve nuts on board, they can't stop people from bringing them on board, but at least that would be less risk. /p
pMy question is - do you think it would make a difference if they were to wear a face mask of some sort? The flight is about 1.5 hrs and I have never been faced with having to travel this way before, so please excuse my ignorance if this isn't an option. The thing is I don't even know if they are airborne allergic, however am not willing to risk it in such a confined space. We definately won't be going if they can't at least guarantee they won't serve nuts on board - at least that leaves only individuals who may have them./p
pThe company who is doing all the booking for us have been very helpful and are checking into what else can be done./p
pI would appreciate any suggestions or comments anyone has about /
Thanks very much for your /
Regards,br /

Posted on: Mon, 06/17/2002 - 10:03pm
Lisa V's picture
Joined: 03/12/2002 - 09:00

Here are some suggestions that have worked for me . . .
1. I talk to the gate agents right away. I am SUPER nice and ask for their help. I Tell them how nervous I am. Play up the innocent thing. They usually seem eager to help. Make many announcements asking passengers to help me out. I have found that people are more responsive if ASKED, not told. Then they are curious, too.
2. I give my son a dose of Benadryl before the flight.
3. My son's skin is VERY sensitive. After one flight the back of his neck was full of eczema from the peanut residue on the seats. I now have him wear a turtleneck.
4. Preboarding by yourself to wipe down your seats of any obvious allergens before you board your family should help too.
5. Pack WAY more epi-pens than you think you would need.
Good Luck! Best Wishes! Flying is SO STRESSFUL! Lisa

Posted on: Tue, 06/18/2002 - 3:07am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Last summer we flew Northwest, and although they also said they cannot guarantee that passengers will not bring peanuts on board, they made a very nice announcement as soon as everyone boarded explaining that there was a severely allergic passenger on board and asking that anyone who had brought peanuts to please not open them. I think you should ask them to do this for peanuts and nuts. Still a passenger may ignore this request, but it should really decrease the chance of a passenger eating nuts or peanuts of their own. Good luck.

Posted on: Tue, 06/18/2002 - 11:55am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

We do not fly on any airlines that generally serve peanut snacks. We only fly on airlines that will guarantee a peanut free snack for the main cabin. We fly as early in the morning as possible to minimize the chance that there will be peanut and nut candies and foods brought on by other passengers. We always speak with customer or special service department personnel as reservation staff do not always know what is going on. Then a week before the flight and again the day before the flight we call to check that the computer with the reservation staff reads a request for peanut free flight. When we check in at the airport we check again, then again at the gate, and finally upon entering the aircraft we check with the flight crew before going to our seats. I bring 4-6 epipens, and my husband brings 1 additional-all on the plane. My son is airborne, contact, and ingestion sensitive. We only fly American and United in the US. We have not flown international yet. We have not boarded early, but do wipe down the seats, arms rests, trays, and window shades,etc. and try to keep him from touching everything he can get his hands on, but it is difficult. I bring wipes and wash his hands every so often. I also bring a plastic bag to put in the seat compartment that holds the earphones, magazines, etc. so that we can put some stuff in there too w/o worrying even more. It is very stressful, but keeping the kids engaged and enjoying their excitement of being in an airplane - may occasionally help you to relax for a second here or there. We never eat any of the airplane food, but do drink from the beverage cart. We have flown about 8 times w/o a problem. I have 5 year old twin boys. Only one is allergic to peanuts/nuts. I hope this is helpful and that you have a safe trip.

Posted on: Tue, 06/18/2002 - 2:01pm
Lauren Cover's picture
Joined: 08/27/2003 - 09:00

One thing I decided after our first flight was that I would take a bed sheet to cover the row of seats (and extend down to the floor). My 14 month old kept throwing her pacifiers, toys, sippy cups, etc. during the flight. Each one that hit the seat or floor had to be put away for the duration of the flight.

Posted on: Tue, 06/18/2002 - 6:02pm
Kimee's picture
Joined: 10/30/2001 - 09:00

Hi everyone.
Thanks for posting all your ideas and kind wishes. Some great tips amongst the messages - I appreciate you all sharing your experiences.
I also managed to speak with the travel expert at the allergy association here in Australia (FACTS) and she also gave me some great ideas and confidence to now make the flight.
Thanks again everyone for being so helpful on this subject and also so many other important issues - this board always has informative discussions which really get me thinking about ideas to educate people about allergies.
Have a great day!

Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2002 - 11:43am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Simply re-raising! Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2002 - 1:52pm
san103's picture
Joined: 03/27/2000 - 09:00

I just returned from flying with my almost 3 year old tna/pa child. We flew United, and they do not serve peanuts. They do serve nuts though (and he is more seriously allergic to nuts than peanuts). On the way out they served a breakfast mix with almonds, and on the way back they served a trail mix with almonds. These were 4 hours flights. My son is touch sensitive, but he had no reactions at all (though I am not sure how allergic he is to almonds). My husband was concerned when he realized they were serving a nut product, but since nuts are not "dusty" like peanuts, I was confident that all would be okay.

Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2002 - 2:28pm
MattsMom's picture
Joined: 09/17/2000 - 09:00

san103- I, too, just flew with my 3yo pa/tna son...on United. LOL The snacks were even the same. In our case, Matt is contact sensitive to almond residue even, so I took 2 sheets (one for each leg of the flight) to put under him on the seat, and a bunch of wipes to wipe everything down. I did this for 3 out of the 4 legs (we had one stop each way, so a total of 4 planes). The fourth flight was extremely delayed and by the time we got on the plane I, as well as both kids, were literally half-asleep. We'd been sleeping in the terminal. Anyways. Being half-asleep, and having had absolutely no problems on any of the 3 prior flights, I decided to skip the wiping down and sheet. I figured he was going to sleep the whole time anyway, so he wouldn't be touching anything but the one arm rest...
Well. I made a mistake. =( Before the flight attendants had even come down the aisle to pass out the trail mix (with almonds, of course), he had a mild asthma attack and I had to groggily dig out the inhaler and spacer. After he got the meds, he was fine and slept peacefully the whole way in, but I definently learned my lesson. With *this* kid, I need to ALWAYS put down that sheet and wipe all surfaces down.
There's no doubt in my mind that the asthma attack was due to trace almond residue on that seat. He had the same reaction, only with hives as well, the last time he reacted to trace almond residue. That was my fault as well. =( I hadn't washed my hands after eating Almond Roca candy. Foolish me thought that since he had tested negative on the skin-prick to almonds, the hand-washing wasn't necessary. *sigh*

Posted on: Thu, 06/27/2002 - 2:07am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

How did your flight go, Kimee?

Posted on: Thu, 06/27/2002 - 5:45am
ktmom's picture
Joined: 05/15/2002 - 09:00

MattsMom,It is good to hear that Matt is doing fine. Thanks for posting your experience. Each day I learn all the different everyday things that we have to be careful about and that we just take for granted. I have been so thankful for all the information and the support on this site since we found about DD's PA.


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