library books


Hello, I am looking for some feedback as I have only been dealing with this allergy for about four months. My son is 18mos old and we enjoy reading, so naturally we have begun making weekly trips to our public library. However, I am having a hard time establishing a comfort zone with this allergy. For instance should I be letting him touch and take out library books? I am especially concerned because the books for his age are the board books and are handled by many toddlers and preschoolers who as you all know touch everything. And who knows what the books have touched in people's homes. We have been taking out books - so far I just try and weed through them and only take home the newer books in good clean condition. Does anybody have any thoughts on this matter or am I just being really paranoid!? I know my son is seriously allergic to peanuts, however I am not sure how he would react by touching peanuts or any residue. Of course, he may put his hands in his mouth.


On Jan 15, 2000

I don't know for sure. Could you wash hard board books lightly with some water and little bleach then with plain water after? Bleach distroys peanut protien. Maybe best to try on old board book first. We have school wash down tables at school with water bleach mixture. This has been posted befoe I think under school topics back Aug/Sept. JanB.

On Jan 15, 2000

Hi, I am a librarian (just to let you know my bias!) and the mother of a child who is severely allergic (anaphylactic) and is touch and smell sensitive to peanuts and tree nuts. I have always encouraged library use and we have always borrowed heavily. We do not borrow books that look like they have had foods spilled on them but otherwise we have had thousands of books out and have had no problems. This may not be everyone's choice but our emphasis as a family is on encouraging whatever kinds of normal children's activities that we can and to us the minimal (we think) risk of problems with library books is one that we can accept. I am curious to see what others have done. Take care. Hope this helps.

On Jan 18, 2000

Thanks for your input! I have been thinking that along with choosing cleaner/newer books I could also wipe them down. However, I did not know that bleach destroys the peanut protein - good to know! I did find previous postings on this topic in Aug/Sept 1999 - however, they were difficult to locate. If anyone else is interested there is a bit of a discussion under the subject "public pools?" and if you do a search under "books" you may find a bit more. It is quite reassuring to also hear of someone whose child is anaphylactic to peanuts using the public library. Others I had spoken with made me very paranoid when I asked their opinion on the subject - but I think for now at least that the risk is probably minimal and we will continue as we have been. My son really enjoys the outing and I enjoy reading him "different" stories! And as I read somewhere else on this board - peanut residue could be anywhere - you still have to live. Stay Safe.

On Jan 19, 2000

My 5 year old son is peanut anaphylactic and we are regular visitors of the public and school library.

I also felt fear regarding touch and Aimee you are so right, peanuts could be anywhere and our children need to live as normal life as possible.

I used to worry about him being on the playground (at school and the park) but we need to "let go" just enough to let them be children although my stomach feels like it is on a rollercoaster sometimes, but he'll never know it). [img][/img]

Stay Safe!

On Jan 20, 2000

Aimee, I'm glad you brought this up; I have wondered about it myself. My pa daughter is almost 5 and we've gone through spurts of visiting the library and bringing stacks home. I too have avoided books that have food stains and after that have just hoped for the best. I'd be interested to know if anyone out there has had a reaction or bad experience. The other place to beware is garage sales. We recently lived in the desert (in the middle of no where) on a military base and garage sales were full of toys and kind of fun for my kids and I to browse. Every now and then I'd let my daughter spend some of her piggy bank $ but I'd put the item in the trunk until I could get it home to sanitize. It seems neurotic but better safe than sorry!

[This message has been edited by Momma Kitty (edited January 20, 2000).]

On Jan 24, 2000

Hi, I'm so glad that you started this thread. We have had periodic visits to the library and I have also been concerned about touch (which my son does have a reaction to). We have not had any problems with library use and are starting to go on a more regular basis.

Momma Kitty we also are very careful about used items from garage sales ect. We only allow items that can be completely cleaned before use.

I to found from this site that bleach and water will take care of peanut protien. Great info so generously shared helps us all keep our wee ones safe :-)

Saty Safe Jackie

On Jan 25, 2000

My sons pre-school uses a disinfectant of some sort to spray down all the toys and books after class. They just spray them down and don't wipe them. They then air dry. Does anyone know if this will kill peanut protein. It is a concern for me and I'm not sure how to handle this. Is is asking to mean to ask them to handwash every toy in bleach water at the end of each day?

On Jan 26, 2000

Hi, this product may not remove peanut protein. It probably is similar to one we have at our library which is intended to kill staphylocidal bacteria and influenza viruses. We do not use it on most books. We definitely don't spray all returns like your preschool does. As I said above my son who is touch sensitive does borrow books from both the school and public and classroom libraries and has had no problems. I have re-evaluated this decision since this post was first made but I think that the benefits of the books and the fact that the risk is extremely low make me comfortable allowing their use. I think you should emphasize handwashing before book use with your son's school rather than book washing. Take care.