How to teach caution without instilling fear?

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my 9 month old son is allergic to peanuts... obviously i am cautious for his sake, as is daycare, babysitters, family, except MIL which seems to not be an uncommon thing around here - she was actually INSULTED that i explained where in the diaper bag epipen was and insisted on showing her how to use is "completely unnecessary" according to her. "do you really think id give him a spoonful of PB?" "no, but im NOT willing to take the chance that he will find a piece of a cracker from his sisters (who we dont see) with PB on it hiding under the table, or that you fed one of them PB in the same high chair youre feeding him in"... anyways... thats a whole story in and of its own, the PN fight is the least of the problems we have with her LOL!

anyways, obviously as he grows i will want and need to teach him to be cautious of what he eats and where he gets it from, etc... i want him to be careful obviously, but i dont want him to be completely petrified and terrified of eating from a fork that had touched something that MAY have been processed with peanuts etc... i dont want him to become super wrapped up in it that consumes him or whatever (because i do that enough for the both of us, trust me!)... i want him to know what is and isnt safe, but not to obsess about it!

any help, info, feedback, idea, etc. will be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you!

also, what about when hes older and i want to take him for ice cream for a treat.. (just an example)... how do you guys deal with this neverending barrage of questions? obviously ice cream shops have peanuts, does that mean its 100% out of the question? i mean you cant ask 100 questions when youre in line somewhere, ie has that ice cream scoop been put into water that maybe pn contaminated scoop has too? where do you draw the line with the barrage of questions? do places make special accommodations at a customers request - i scoop sprinkles directly from original container with a fresh spoon and use a brand new clean scoop for the ice crea,? my mind is just spinning here!

On Dec 28, 2007

The worst groups to deal in my 10 years concerning allergies. 1. Family 2. Church The two groups where you would expect the most concern and compassion are typical very dismissive of pa. A little fear is good, when they are mature enough to handle it. My 10 yr old know pa kills but lives life like any other. He knows what is safe and if he doesnt know for sure its safe, its no thank you no matter where the fork came from. As for ice cream. Before I became educated about the allergy we made many trips to the diary queen and exposed him over and over. His reactions have all(but one) been gi and it sometimes took hours to appear. Ice cream is very scary. Yes you can ask as many questions as you need, and if you do not get the answers you need, you can leave. Its not completely out of the question, places to make accomidations, but its rare and still scary. Sounds like you are off to a good start with this

On Dec 28, 2007

Regarding ice cream -

In our opinion, and we've been dealing with this for 5+ years, places that scoop ice cream are out of the question. Not just the scoops are contaminated, but so are the tubs of ice cream that the scoops have been used on. For example, someone orders PB cup ice cream and a scoop is used. The scoop is run under water to "clean". The next person orders vanilla and the same scoop is used. You can count on the vanilla now being contaminated.

Stick with places that have safe soft serve. We do not get sprinkles or other toppings. A lot of times, cones are rolled in the toppings or poured over and the toppings are then contaminated.

If you start these practices early on your child will not know the difference. My kids know that when we go out for ice cream it's soft serve and they have never complained about it.

In addition, for safety reasons I would not allow your child's siblings to consume PB in his presence. You said he may find a PB cracker on the floor from his sister. You may want to eliminate any chance of exposure in your house by making your house PB-free.

Best of luck. I know this is overwhelming. I've been there. But, it can be done and you can have a happy, healthy child.

LJ

On Dec 28, 2007

I agree with the no pn for siblings. I have my 4yo and my almost 1yo and my almost 1yo is the one that is pa. I posted a while ago about trying to find a way I can get my 4yo a pn treat once a month but since my DH is gone to school for the next 5 months I would have to take my pa DS with me and after the responses and more thinking about it...it just won't be possible. We switched from PB to Sunbutter and my 4yo has adjusted just fine to it and really likes it!

I also personally wouldn't go to an ice cream parlor. We have gone to Wendy's a couple times over the last few months and when we do go I get a frosty as a treat for all of us to share. Since I don't eat pn since I'm still breastfeeding and I won't even when he is weaned I miss my ice cream! LOL! Some soft serve though usually does the trick for my cravings. I just personally wouldn't risk it.

I think I'm having more trouble trying to explain to my 4 yo about his little brothers allergy. I got the book Ally the Allergic Elephant to read to him and he likes it. He still asks questions about the Epi Pens and stuff and sometimes he seems to understand, but like you said I don't want to completely scare him. I just tell him pn will make his brother really REALLY sick and we have to stay away from then. I haven't used the phrase that pn could kill him because my 4 yo and I haven't even broched the conversation of death yet and I worry that could really scare him. I think I will eventually get him some more books and perhaps some videos about it.

On Dec 28, 2007

thank you guys for the replies so far! a lot of good ideas and helpful reassurance that ill make it! a couple of clarifications, etc... i was just picking ice cream because it seems like it would be cross-contamination central... but what about just regular restaurants? are you guys mostly put at ease if you ask the server if they cook with peanuts/pn oil? im not really sure what questions i SHOULD be asking... and as for the older sibs - MIL has lost the privilege of seeing my son, for a variety of reasons, nonetheleast of which is the pn stuff, and the mom of older sibs doesnt let them see DS anyways... but like i said, thats a whole other story.. i read a post last night saying that one MIL was either evil or stupid.. mines both ;)

my mom is really good about it, we live with her and our house is pn free... my friends even make special accommodations - my best bud's DD had a b-day party "camping" themed - she was going to have in the shell pn for the kids but she didnt put them out. im very comfortable with his daycare situation.. they keep epi in the room - i am HORRIFIED to have read on here that some schools/daycares keep the epis in the OFFICE?!?!? are you KIDDING?!?!?! they have his sheet with allergy info in the sign in book on the counter, and a lunchbox-like bag that has a small lock on it and it sits way high up on the shelf.

basically, my whole goal is to teach him to be cautious without becoming a paranoid little nutjob (like i said, i stress enough for both of us!) i want him to know how to check and make sure things are or arent safe, and how to make a decision with what is and what may not be, instead of just accepting stuff from people... but i dont want him to obsess about it to the point where it interferes with normal life, does that make any sense? im neurotic enough for both of us! how do you guys make it seem like its not such a big deal - ie in front of other kids, so he doesnt feel like something is wrong with him, etc.?

i agree that a little fear is good but i dont want to stress him out to an extreme degree like i get about certain stuff (i live in AZ and when he was TINY i was coming home from target and there was a rattlesnake on my porch - i had so much anxiety over that for pretty much the rest of the rattlenake season EVERY time id walk out of the house, i just dont want him to get to be the same way about PN)... okay now that we all know how crazy i am... hope everyone has a great day!

On Dec 28, 2007

I think you just have to be calm about it. There are a few times I've "lost" it in front of my son, however, for the most part my husband and I are relatively calm but firm about our food decisions with him. For ex, he and my husband are at a birthday party right now. I sent him with his own cupcake. There are times when he allowed to have the cake and this is not one of them. I explained that firmly to him. There was a bit of backlash from him, however, he went merrily skipping out the door in anticipation of a fun time with other kids. I do allow him to have the chips, a soda b/c it's a special occasion, etc. However, my son has learned that getting together with friends far supercedes having the cake.

You will survive. I agree that a lot of times families do not get it. I smile every once in a while now b/c now I hear my parents and sister explaining the severity of nut allergies to others. I guess I've rubbed off on them!

On Dec 28, 2007

I ask a resturant if they have any foods anywhere in the resturant that contain peanuts, other than desserts. If the have food items with any peanut products, I do not eat there. An example, I would not eat at Chili's because they use Pb in their chili. I think that has a risk of touching other foods and utensils. At fast food, I will eat at Mcdonalds and wendy's because I feel comfortable that those items are individually wrapped and not handled by employees. Yes they are consumed by others and packages may break open but that is a unusual. We eat there often with no problems, except for the actual act of eating fast food. We go to Mcdonalds and wendy's for ice cream too. I have been to maggie moo's and they open a new container, have a new scoop and only let him have a scoop with no topping. I would rather have a sundae bar at my house than go there. Its just ice cream, my boy does not go without. :)

On Dec 28, 2007

hi,

i'm not sure how long you have known about your son's PA, but if he is newly diagnosed, it's pretty overwhelming. i think that once you feel like YOU have a handle on it, it will be easier for you to imagine imparting the knowledge to your son necessary to protect him without scaring him to death.

once you arm yourself with knowledge, this will seem more and more a possibility. so, learn as much as you can (and you can freak out every now and then ;)), and by the time you need to start educating your son, you will be more than ready. i guess this is an unforeseen "benefit" of finding out so early! good luck!!

On Dec 28, 2007

thank you all again for such a warm welcome and great ideas. DS is 9 1/2 months old now, but as i put in my introduce yourself post, i suspected PA as early as 6 1/2 months pregnant. I developed PA out of nowhere, which disappeared after delivery - sidenote, how COOL is it that your body can tell you NO YOU CANT HAVE THAT IT WILL HURT THE BABY...

just digging around on here today i have learned SO much.. including that mango is related to TNA... i introduced mango to my son recently and he came down with this insane diahrrhea and diaper rash, but i didnt think much of it until today because i read that post, had just chalked it up to teething and the never ending cold he has seemed to bring home from daycare.

i have never taken him to the allergist, as his regular pediatrician AND an ER doctor had prescribed epi jr, and he hasnt seemed to have any other reactions to anything else (house is PN free but not TN free). i didnt feel that i wanted to subject him to the tests, as they can be somewhat invasive.. he's just so little.. but he does have other related symptoms, ie exczema, and when he was 5 months old he came down with pneumonia, which im wondering now could be early signs of asthma?

but really, thank you all for the ideas/suggestions etc., to get me started on figuring out how to handle it!

On Dec 29, 2007

I talk about it alot with my ds. We have some of the books (Allie the Allergic elephant)we read. He always asks is it safe foe me? even when I offer him something.He even reminds ME to check the labels when we shop. I dont believe he is afraid he is just aware.

We did not test ds until he was 2, and only then because he had terrible exczema. Once we discovered and eliminated his other allergies, it disappeared.

On Dec 29, 2007

MIL which seems to not be an uncommon thing around here - she was actually INSULTED that i explained where in the diaper bag epipen was and insisted on showing her how to use is "completely unnecessary" according to her. "do you really think id give him a spoonful of PB?"

Thank you for sharing this, I thought I was alone when my aunt who refused to even learn how to use epi pen. Same story, " I will not give her anything to eat, isn't that enough?" What I really wanted to say was : " will it kill you to learn a life-saving device, perhaps one day, you might use it to help others...

On Dec 30, 2007

We used to go to Dairy Queen , but the risk is just too high , as well as for other ice cream or desert places too risky, as far as resturants go , I find if it is nut and peanut you are dealing with most fast food places are fine, in Canada they prepackage their sundae nuts at McD's,and the kids cookies have trace so we don't get those. Burger King in my opinion has the best food safety info system in place as far as all resturants go , you can ask for their food ingredients binder, everything is in there , ingredients, warning of top allergens, sit down resturants are tougher to navigate, I agree with the other poster, if there are main dish dinners with nuts I stear away, I find most places keep all deserts and nuts , salad prep areas seperate from the main kitchen, I have a very select number of resturants that I feel are safe for my family to eat at.Maybe 6 resturants. Always share your childs allergy with wait staff even better with the manager. Be safe.

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