PA Dilema in 5 year old

Posted on: Tue, 04/03/2001 - 3:22am
Chesterdud's picture
Joined: 04/03/2001 - 09:00

pHi, I am new to these boards and was so hapopy to find them. I feel like I am in a desperate situation. My 5 year old son was positively skin tested for peanut/tree nuts about a year ago. He has been in our local Temple nursery school since he was little and loves it and feels at home. He does not adjust well to change. In fact will not play at anyone's house but my neighbors. Anyway, I was told by the Director that the nursery school board has said that the staff is not allowed to administer the epi pen if needed. However, the director and office assistand who know me for years have told me off the record that they would never let anything happen to my son. Well, I was o.k. with the plan until I picked him up one day and they had baked Passover cakes from mixes. His teacher did not check ingredients and I explained to her that it didn't matter that he didn't eat it but what if he came in contact with the batter? I started to realize that I needed to think things through. I went to another local private school and they have a full time nurse and already have a current kindergarten student who is PA and the school bnurse basically trained everyone who the child could come in contact with in the school. So do I change his school even though he is so well adjusted and has clearly stated that he does not want to go to another school. Private schools are exempt from laws that mandate ublic schools. I am so sich about this..I don't know what to do. I could also send him to half day kindergarten in our public school but our school nurse said there is no peanut free table and she is the only one who holds onto eppi pens until the child can do it himself. One more thing, when skin tested, and the reaction is like a mosqito bite, is that enough?br /
Thanksbr /

Posted on: Tue, 04/03/2001 - 3:49am
katiee's picture
Joined: 05/09/2001 - 09:00

I was sorry to read the dilemma you are facing. There are no easy answers are there? What I can tell you is this. Given that the school your child is currently attending is not "allergy aware" you could attempt to educate them about PA and the severity and consequences involved. The Food Allergy Network has a number of products (videos such as "it only takes one bite" etc.) which would help you. On the other hand, from a personal perspective, some people will "never" get it and sometimes moving on is the thing to do. We used to attend a play group program which was in a community center designated as "peanut free" but the director of the program was one of those people who just did not get it. I had many good friends there, but since Wade would never be "truly safe" there, I chose to leave. I decided that Wade would adjust, but I would not adjust to him being in danger every day of his life, nor would I adjust to the possibility of losing him.
You questioned your child's skin prick test, has your child ever had a reaction? How did you find out about the allergy? How old was your child when tested? Was the test done by a pediatric allergist? If you are concerned about the testing, perhaps you should arrange to see an allergist and request "RAST" testing (blood test) to confirm the PA.
I understand your dilemma about the public school your child could go to. It is unrealistic of them to think that the epi-pen being with the school nurse at all times would save your child in the event of an emergency. What happens on field trips? Does the nurse go with the class? I am Canadian, but you should look under the "schools" section on these boards about 504's and what is involved. Here in Canada, PA is not considered a disability and therefore, most of the policies in place at our schools are implemented by the individual school boards. From what I have read about 504's, the school would have to come up with a good emergency plan and the very mention of 504's makes some schools more accommodating to families dealing with PA.
Good luck.
Katiee (Wade's mom)

Posted on: Tue, 04/03/2001 - 3:52am
shale3's picture
Joined: 12/18/2000 - 09:00

why wouldn't they be allowed? it seems like they could be persuaded with some education. Maybe let them know that if the epi is administered and it wasn't really needed it will not cause harm. but if the epi was needed and wasn't given...(you know the rest). Sooner or later they will probably have to be proactive in their approach to safety..maybe you could be the catalyst. just a thought.

Posted on: Tue, 04/03/2001 - 4:12am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Please do a search for the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). My son's private school also refused, initially, to administer the epipen until I showed them the case of La Petite Academy vs. ADA.
I haven't heard anymore about refusing to administer the epi, indeed they haven't mentioned that aspect of the allergy any further.
What you need to decide is if you want your son in the hands of caregivers who are fearful of the epi and may delay administration of the medicine in an emergency. All other factors aside, cross-contamination, contact reactions, etc., etc., you need to feel comfortable that these people will indeed take the necessary steps to keep your son alive and well.
Change is sometimes very difficult for children, but when danger presents itself - sometimes change is necessary.

Posted on: Tue, 04/03/2001 - 8:18am
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

I sympathize with you in this dilemma. It is very hard to remove a child from a school he loves.
Since you like the school so much, you might want to see if you can educate them about handling the allergy. Taking the position that they WILL NOT administer the epi-pen is, when you think about it, an immoral decision. It is immoral to withhold care from a child who needs it. The epi-pen is not much different from CPR.
When my son was starting school, the principal got his back up when I started talking about the epi-pen. He said he couldn't require teachers to administer it, he'd need to talk to legal counsel, blah blah blah. Then (according to what he told me later) he called his daughter, who is a nurse. She brought him an epi-pen trainer and gave him a course on peanut allergy and anaphylaxis. I don't know what she said to him, but he did an abrupt turn-around and all of a sudden HE was telling ME that the epi-pen had to be in the classroom, not just in the office, that it had to go on field trips, etc. Well, of course I already knew that, but he apparently had to hear this from his daughter before it made an impression on him.
Anyway, what I'm saying is sometimes people are just scared and resistant in the beginning. A little education can go a long way. Good luck.

Posted on: Wed, 04/04/2001 - 12:15am
BENSMOM's picture
Joined: 05/20/2000 - 09:00

Chesterdud, boy do I feel for you. Change is not easy for my son either. I got a knot in my stomach just thinking about your situation. Just as some people don't "get" PA, people who have kids who adapt more easily don't get what you have to deal with. It could be an emotional crisis to uproot your son and move him to another school. He won't die from it, but he may be a wreck for a long time, and that can manifest itself in a number of ways--whining, acting out, etc. My son did not adjust well to preschool last year and I pulled him out. He was complaining 24 hrs a day and was very whiny and clingy. He was 4.
So, I would go the education route that people have suggested. I think they are just scared. Also, your son is old enough to ask "does this have nuts in it? Could you please read the label?" My son does that and he's 5. He can remind the teachers to be careful. Also, what is your son's history of reaction? If you feel that you need to pull your son out, explain the safety reasons. Good luck either way!

Posted on: Wed, 04/04/2001 - 9:28pm
Chesterdud's picture
Joined: 04/03/2001 - 09:00

Thank you to all of your great posts and insight into this very scarey situation. I finally feel like I am not alone. People look at me like I am crazy when I don't allow my son to eat certain things and I have been feeling so bad about this situation.I have a meeting today with my sons princiapal to discuss my feelings and see if she is open to providing a safe class for Zachary. Our EMT's do not carry epi-pens and I was told that during the day, the response time is 7-10 minutes. Under these circumstances, someone must be able and willing to administer the epipen. He has basically been fine and they have made a peanut free table at lunch but I realize now that that is not enough.
In terms of his reactions, he has had a bad reaction to stringbeans where his eyes swelled shut and a few times his tongue was itchy from minimal contact with peanuts. He was skin tested positive and we were told from the allergist, that is enough to consider him highly allergic. My neice has the same thing. Any thoughts?

Posted on: Wed, 04/11/2001 - 9:55am
jackman5475's picture
Joined: 04/11/2001 - 09:00

I work in a daycare here in Newfoundland. As far as I know we are allowed to administer the EpiPen. I can't believe that in good conscience an ECE would not administed one to a child who is so desperately in need. I have never seen anyone in anaphylactic shock, but I believe that the time frame is only 20 minutes. As we know every minute counts.

Posted on: Fri, 04/13/2001 - 2:48pm
Joined: 03/17/2001 - 09:00

Chesterdud, it depends on where you live. I live in the USA and in a state that mandates that every anaphylactically allergic child must have a delegate. This delegate is a teacher that has been chosen by the school and is willing. In my sons case, it is his aftercare teacher. By law she must be trained in CPR, administration of his epipen and implementation of the EMS system. When the nurse is not in the school, this teacher is responsible for him. there is a backup in case she is out which is never. My son does go to private school. Eventhough he is not covered under laws governing public school, I feel very comfortable with this setup. No reactions in the 4 years he has been in the school. Check with your Board of Education or Dept. of Health. maybe they can help.


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