How to protect 5yr old from peanut exposure.

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My son is 5 years old and allergic to peanuts. He will be starting kindergarten in September. He knows that he is allergic to peanuts but he will just grab and eat whatever is given to him. My older son was always very aware of his allergy and very cautious of what he ate. I have tried to explain to him that he could get very sick (or die) if he ate something that contained peanuts. He just doesn't seem to get it. I don't want to scare him, but to be honest, he is not the kind of kid that scares easily (if at all). He is a VERY busy boy and has a mind of his own. I plan to talk to his teacher (my older son had the same teacher and had been given a peanut butter cookie-even though he asked if it contained peanuts/peanut butter-and ended up in the hospital). I worry about that happening with the 5yr old at school and in any situation that I'm not hovering over him. Any suggestions? Thank you.

On Jul 17, 2007

Do you have a 504 in place? My son is also entering kindergarten in the fall. Most people here, at least from what I can tell, either have a 504 plan, IEP or at least a health plan in the school. There are many great threads on it if you search under "504".

I can relate with you, though!

On Jul 17, 2007

I am not familiar with "504" but I will check it out. Thank you

On Jul 17, 2007

I'm in the same boat. My 5 yr old is starting Kindergarten and he just doesn't seem to get it. I quiz him with different scenerios and he answers the right way. BUT, have someone give him something and he takes it. I just don't get it.

I contacted the director of pupil services at our school about setting up a health plan or 504 depending on what is a better fit.

I'm most nervous about the bus!! I may end up driving him. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

On Jul 17, 2007

Fortunately my son will not be riding the bus. I feel like I have to have my eyes on him every second to make sure he doesn't eat something he shouldn't. The allergist suggested a MediAlert bracelet but I don't think it's going to make a difference. Most people are not going to look at the bracelet before giving him food. I think people associate the bracelets with drug allergies and medical conditions (although food allergies are a medical condition but...)I just don't know what to do.

On Jul 17, 2007

I must respectfully disagree about the MedicAlert bracelet-- when people see [i]that[/i], they listen with a new respect when you say "food allergy."

For some reason, having the bracelet makes a difference in how willing others are to hear the 'life-threatening' part of what you have to say. This [i]can[/i] translate into much less willingness to offer your child food in the first place... and also into greater vigilance on the part of the adults who will be responsible for him.

On Jul 17, 2007

You have a point. Maybe the bracelets not such a bad idea. But how do I stop him from taking food from kids at the playground-they aren't going to check his bracelet.

On Jul 17, 2007

My dd is 12. I think the accepting foods from others becomes a problem if sometimes it is okay to and sometimes it isn`t. The rules have to be consistent at that age. It is NEVER okay to eat any food other than what Mommy packs in your lunch box. That was how we did it until about 4th grade. You have to be very consistent.

I agree about the medic alert bracelet. If I had a dollar for every time an adult offerred dd something believing it was safe when it wasn`t, I could retire. With the bracelet, dd who was very shy at that age, would just say "no thank you" and show them her bracelet. Also, it is helpful to have a no food sharing policy in general, so there is less risk of other kids offering him food. I would research the 504 and get one.

On Jul 17, 2007

That is a dilema.

First, I would also encourage a medic alert bracelet, to stress the seriousness to those around him, and to help keep him safe in a true emergency if you cannot be there or are unresponsive.

Five year olds don't really comprehend death. Perhaps instilling a fear of something he can understand may be more helpful. "Healthy" fear is a survival mechanism. Some people here have staged drills with their PA children for if there is a reaction - something along the lines of the child lays down, the epi trainer is used, someone goes to call 911, etc. Not to maliciously scare him, but to show that shots, a trip to the hospital, etc, are a very real liklihood of him eating something he shouldn't. Do you know an EMT who would be willing to come "play act"?

Does your school allow food on the playground? I don't think ours does, but I guess I should check.

------------------ Lori Jo,

Rose, 7-31-02, PA Noah, 7-29-05 Beatrice & Georgia, 8-14-99

On Jul 17, 2007

Good luck! I have thought about this scenario before - my 6-year-old with PA is very responsible, but his 3-year-old middle brother is impulsive. If the 3-year-old turns out to have PA, we will be in the same boat.

Pardon me asking - you might have stated your rules - but at that age, I think it's best if you have one policy with him: you don't eat ANYTHING that didn't come from home. Not at school. Not at school parties. Not at Sunday School. Not at the neighborhood cookout or the pot-luck dinner. Not even at Grandma's (unless you have a very special Grandma who knows all the rules and follows them as religiously as you do).

Nate had an incident in preschool related to a good-intentioned, smart teacher making a mistake. After that, we realized WE had made a mistake in making others with read labels.

In kindergarten, Nate had a big bag of good safe treats he could pick from whenever other kids had a treat. My job was to make that bag as fun, varied, cool as possible. I coached him to pick something "close" to what the rest of the class was having.

Now, if what you mean is, how do you keep him from sneaking food, that's a different matter. I still think it's helpful for there to be one policy - do not feed my kid - for your own protection as well as his. That way, if a teacher ever sees any teacher or child sharing food with your child, there is an absolute grounds for stopping it.

Maybe doing a classroom education unit on food allergy would help the other 5-year-olds be on your side. 5-year-olds make great rules police, and if they watch the PBS episode of "Arthur: Binky Goes Nuts", get the accompanying FAAN lesson plan on being a PAL, saving a life, and then hear the teacher say that we don't share food, they'll be the first ones to tell if the rules are broken.

April

On Jul 18, 2007

I'm not worried about him sneaking food. We were at his preschool graduation and there were snacks-he just went up and started loading his plate with stuff which included Chex Mix loaded with peanuts!! I have to watch him like a hawk-even then things can happen so quickly. He is very impulsive. I will have to try the rule-no food except from Mom or Dad. Fortunately, his grandmother (my mom) is awesome about his allergy. Thanks

On Jul 18, 2007

My daughter is 6. She is just beginning to understand death and knows it means 'going away forever.' What she has conneted to is the pain associated with reactions. She knows that it will hurt more than "fill in the blank with the most recent bad cut, bruise...." and the pain may not stop. It could hurt longer than "fill in the blank with something he has waited for." We have even said "Man, I'm glad that scrape wasn't done by a peanut. Could you imagine how bad that would hurt?" said as we are putting on bandaids... It puts it on a 3 to 5ish level, they understand what that scrape they just got feels like. For us, it was kinda like the 'Stranger Danger' talks. It isn't something we want to always talk about, but they HAVE to get it. I hope this helped. I would also add my daughter is contact sensitive so we had to put it on her level in a strong way to keep her safe. Good luck!

On Jul 18, 2007

My son is 5 1/2 and I think he gets it now. One thing that has helped are books explaining the rules to kids like him. I have written a book for preschoolers and one for kids starting Kindergarten. "Mommy, Is This Safe to Eat?" emphasizes that Ricky has to ask first, not just eat what he sees. (available here) "Starting School with a Food Allergy" explains to the peanut allergic child and his classmates the special rules he needs to follow around food. I am hoping this book will help my son's classmates to become his advocates at school. ([url]http://www.safeFoodForMe.com[/url]) Thanks for reading this plug!

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