Letter to parents


My DD is starting pre-school next month. Our school, which I otherwise love (our 6 year old twins have been there 2 years), has been less than enthusiastic about allergy precautions. We have our first meeting with the school staff the day before it starts. I'm sure I'll have lots to post in the school section very soon. I am going to send a letter to the parents in the class. I am not going to ask permission from the principle first (better to ask forgiveness, eh?), and am trying for a "this is serious, but not impossible" tone. How does this sound to you?

Hello Pre-K 3 parents,

We are writing to introduce you to our daughter Rose, who will be starting Pre-K 3 this year at ____. She is a lively, outgoing little girl with a severe and life threatening peanut allergy. We would like to ask you to help keep her safe. ____ School does not have a food allergy policy, so we are asking for you to do this voluntarily.

Rose will react both to eating contaminated foods, and by touching foods that contain peanuts or tree nuts. Because peanuts, and tree nuts (which we have also been told to avoid by her pediatric allergist), are found in a variety of expected and very unexpected foods, we will be responsible for providing her snacks and lunches for the year. Our concern is regarding the snacks her classmates will be bringing. As we all know, three year olds are not very neat eaters. We are asking that you consider alternatives to foods that contain peanut butter, peanuts, tree nuts, etc, for snack time in their class room. We are worried that snack foods will find their way onto fingers and clothes, and then to tables, toys, etc. Because her allergy is so severe, it would only take a small smudge of peanut butter, peanut dust, etc, to touch her skin to cause a reaction.

We are not asking you to eliminate all peanut products at school, and are not asking you to change any of your child

On Jul 25, 2005

The letter is very well written and very nice. As devil's advocate, I'll mention a few suggestions:

The most likely response is, 'It is all my child will eat'. I understand this myself as my DD is PA, my son..a very picky eater. Consider offering suggestions for something other than PB that is kid-friend. Do a bit of research here and become creative. Or, consider providing a list of safe items so that parents can support you without much impact to their shopping time (it does get tiring reading labels!).

If the school will be washing hands after lunch/snack, consider telling the parents of this.

When talking of her allergy in the first paragraph, consider re-phrasing to include that the severity of her alleryg is documented by a board certified allergiet. Reason being for adding it would be that another likely response is that people think you are just over-protective.

And lastly, since everything is voluntary, you might want to be a little stronger. Consider saying, if you feel comfortable, that you'll be introducing yourself and Rose (great name, BTW) to parents during the first week in case anyone has questions.


On Jul 26, 2005

It is a good letter. You may also want to emphasize the severity a bit--how fast a reaction can become severe, necessitating an ambulance, trip to the ER. I imagine most parents will want to spare their children the trauma of seeing a classmate taken away on an ambulance. That's not the only reason to talk more about the severity. I've found that while some understand it, many ask me when it will be outgrown and are very surprised to learn how serious it is.

Good luck.

I hope the school becomes more understanding. PA is why we won't consider a religious school until college (among other reasons). He's not protected by the ADA there. So if you can make headway and trust them, you're doing very well.

On Jul 26, 2005

Lori Jo, I don't have anything to add to help with your letter - just wanted to point out, with your child's name, name of school, and where you live in your profile, maybe you should edit out the name of school. Literally anyone can read these boards.

(Just in case you want to but don't know how to edit your post, look at the top line it has your name, then the date and four symbols. Click on the symbol that looks like a piece of paper with a pencil.)

On Jul 26, 2005

Good luck with everything Lori Jo. I hope you get cooperation from the parents.

I too think it would be really helpful to include some safe alternatives, and maybe also spell out what some typical totally unsafe snacks might be.

Just a thought, you might also want to take Peanutallergy.com off as a reference in case you want to vent to us later and you don't know who might be reading [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Also, things can get a little heated around here sometimes...this board might kind of fuel the perceptions of crazy overprotective parents, in the eyes of those not dealing with allergies, KWIM?

Perhaps add in: foodallergyinitiative.org instead?

I hope you're ok with me adding my thoughts...I know how hard letters like these are to compose. If I had one, I'd show you mine. My ds is entering preschool in the fall too, gulp. So I feel what you're going through.

------------------ ***[b] ALLERGY ELIMINATOR*** [/b]

Meg, mom to: Matt 3 yrs. PA,MA,EA Sean 3 yrs. NKA

On Jul 26, 2005

Thanks everyone so far. I took out some of our info for privacy.

I like what everyone is saying, and will make some modifications when we get home from vacation. - Another situation that has me stressed out. A family reunion with 80 distant relatives that I'm just imagining all want to feed my dd. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Jul 26, 2005

DD is allergis to tree nuts and after years of questions I have started to put "tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans etc...) since some people are not familiar with that term.

I know, duh, but I do run into it.

Also, you may want to give a few examples of all the safe things her classmates can still snack on - yogurt, cheese crackers, pretzels, fruit and all, so people still feel like there are lots of options open for them.

On Jul 27, 2005

Here is our letter hope it posts correctly [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] & feel free to comment or use any info from it. I got most of the info from an anaphylaxis flyer:

Personal information Contact numbers

Dear Parents,

I am taking this opportunity to inform you about our son

On Jul 27, 2005

Lori Jo, I forgot to tell you that I thought your letter was great. It always makes me feel better to give someone a written description.

Take care, mandi

On Jul 27, 2005

That is a very good letter!

On Aug 3, 2005

Thanks all.

We survived the family reunion with only one recalcitrant aunt who felt the peanut butter cookies on the snack table were just fine. (This coming from the famiy hypochondriac.)

Anyways, Aidan's Mom, Thanks for the input. I wanted to put more graphic/education detail in, but was worried I'd scare the parents to death. Because this is a private school and pre-school to boot, I'm afraid they'll just tell us they can't handle her. I will put more examples of what is fine for snacks though.

Yikes, not only am I getting 3 kids ready for school, but I have a whole "to do" list for dd's PA too. I need a break from worrying about all of this.

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

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

On Aug 5, 2005

Just curious. Will your daughter sit at a peanut free table at lunch? Even so, I would still be concerned about the PB that the kids get on their shirts and wipe on their pants, etc. Will they set up a strict hands and face wiping right after lunch?

With older kids, a PN free table works well but they are not as messy eaters as preschool kids.