I know this has been discussed before, but I just met yet another parent of a PA child at my son's school last week, and thought I would get some imput.
Since he started school last year, I have met three other parents who have PA kids in the school. None of them, from what I have asked and the answers I have received, seem to have what I would call a "strict" comfort zone. Each of them has let their child, in certain situations, go places without their Epis. There's a lot of other things that go on that are *way* out of my comfort zone.
I just met another mom the other day who has a PA child a grade ahead of my son. She asked me if I allow my son to eat chocolate. I answered, well, certain safe chocolate (VNF, plain Hersheys) and she asked if I let him have may contains. Of course I said NO. She went on to say that her child "can have them", as she has never had a problem with them. As you can imagine, my heart sunk when I heard this. Sure, her child has been *lucky* so far. Then she brought up Chinese food, saying that she knew people said it was bad for PA, but that they just didn't let their child eat any of the dishes that had nuts. Well, after the tragic news about Gina last week, my heart sunk even further hearing this.
What do you/*should* you do in these situations? Dh thinks I should just stay out of it, that some people just "don't want to have the information" in an ignorance is bliss kind of way. He may be right. But I am sick worrying over these kids, as if I don't have enough worry about my own child! Should I at least mention to her the fact that a PA child recently died from eating Chinese food? That scared me senseless. We were interrupted, or I probably would have said something at the time.
On Jan 30, 2005
mcmom, I'm trying to remember how I've answered this question here through the years and how I've even dealt with it when I have other PA parents in "real" life.
I remember when I lived in Stayner. That's when I found PA.com. It was SO isolating there, and my soul, I met another PA parent. Trying to remember where I posted about his comfort zone which was different than mine - oh, a thread about "but my child's PA isn't as severe as your child's is" under Living with PA.
See, at that time, it was already known in the community (very small town) that my son had had two anaphylactic reactions so he was considered "severe", and even by other people, as with the person I mentioned, who had a PA child.
Then, the same pharmacy, another pharmacist, she was talking to me about allergy testing for her son because she had two sisters both of whom had PA children. She was telling me about one of her sister's difficulties getting her child into school in Ontario and I said, well, if your sister would like some help, I can certainly help her (which I could have, and still can).
But again, that whole thing about my child having had anaphylactic reactions seemed to make people think that we had a stricter comfort zone in place because our child's PA was "more severe".
I did try to have polite, quiet, educating conversations with these people and you know what? They simply did not want to hear what I had to say. Perhaps it was simply the timing, I don't know.
Then, my son had always been the only PA child in the school. When I met the parents of the PA child that was going into the school after my son (entering JK when my guy was entering Grade One), and honestly, I had paved the way there for a "reduce the risk" school at least, again, I thought, GREAT, I'm meeting another PA parent and one who has their child in the same school as mine.
Not so again. Totally different comfort zone.
Now, we've moved each year since (I'm not proud of that).
For Grade One, no other PA children in the school so I never met any other PA parents.
Grade Two, I saw the emergency medical form for the other PA child in the school (different school) and it was so much different than what mine requires for my son.
Grade Three, again, my daughter had a PA child in her class who also had other FA's and yet, my comfort zone was still what I consider "tighter" than those parents. The Mom had found, at the end of the school year, Chapman's ice cream and told me about it. Well, Chapman's ice cream per se, was buying it around the corner, had known it was PA safe and wondered what their guy had eaten before that.
The woman was so thrilled though and I didn't try to say, well, it's been around for awhile - I told her about the new products they had out and how they were available at the grocery store around the corner from us. I mean, she was so excited.
One thing I have noticed with all of the parents that I have met, is that if PA is even mentioned, they just seem so calm about it. Now, I appear pretty calm, so perhaps people would say the same thing about me as well, but I mean, it's like they're not stressed at all about PA.
This year, there are several PA children in my son's school and they're all eating at a peanut free BENCH which I'm not pleased about. I spoke with one child and he's older than my guy and has been eating at the BENCH since he started school. So, his parents are okay with it.
Also, there have been a couple of things now my son has told me about that have been brought to the peanut free BENCH that I wouldn't be allowing in my peanut/tree nut free home and I don't feel should be at the peanut free BENCH.
I have tried through the years to educate people in "real" life, quietly, calmly, politely, but I've just always had the feeling that they didn't want to hear what I had to say.
Because my guy has had three anaphylactic reactions, is considered "severe" and some PA parents don't want to acknowledge that their child "may" be severe or have that possibility, in all honesty, in all instances where I've met another PA parent (except the two PA.com members I have met), I have always looked like Psycho Mom from Heck.
Interestingly enough, the two PA.com members I met and spent time with had either the same comfort zone as I did, or a tighter one.
I'm not dissuading you from telling this other PA parent about Gina's death - perhaps she will hear you.
It's just been my experience that other people haven't heard me or really wanted to.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
On Jan 31, 2005
Most (or all) of the other PA parents I've met through school/daycare have been much looser in their approach than mine. At first I would try to educate them and say "did you know that bakery products are a great risk ... " or "just because your child has been okay with may contains in the past doesn't mean he always will be...." and so forth. I can honestly say that I never got through to a single person. I have since then changed my approach. I now make a casual remark, like "have you ever read the peanut allergy answer book - it's full of info about hidden risks." Or I might casually ask about their allergist and tell them how great and informative mine is (in case they want to switch to a doctor that will put some fear into them). I figure any parent who is really interested will follow through or ask more questions. Otherwise I leave it alone and hope for the best for that family.