Preschooler and PA

Posted on: Fri, 01/09/2009 - 3:44pm
Maybride's picture
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Joined: 01/09/2009 - 14:00

I'm new and SO happy I've found this forum.

My 3yo DD's allergic to peanuts, she's a 3 on a scale of 1-6. She's had two reactions in the past, the second reaction was when we found out she was allergic.

We recently enrolled her in a preschool, informing the director/teacher about her allergy, gave her an epi pen etc.

The school was recently switched over to a center and now requires parents to provide lunches. During a nutrition meeting, which I missed because we were out of town, some of the parents expressed concern about not being allowed to bring peanut butter sandwich's etc. The director said to me that there was a comment about, "In the real world..." she didn't complete the sentence but I'm assuming the comment was that in the real world my dd will be exposed to peanuts. While that may be true, she's only 3 and doesn't yet understand that she's allergic to nuts. I can go on and on about that comment.

I'm really disappointed because I absolutely love the school, she's only been attending for two months. However, I'm not happy that parents will be allowed to bring peanut items for their children. The director said she'd sit my dd next to children who are not eating peanuts and make those who do wash their hands. That doesn't make me feel better at all. I told her that their all very young and share toys etc. How can I be assured that my dd won't touch or play with a toy that one of the other children who had peanut butter played with. How can I be sure that they washed their hands. How will I know that not one bit of peanut will come in contact with my DD.

I'm most disappointed that other parents are willing to put my DD at risk so their child can have a pb&j. As a parent, I support other parents and the safety of their children. I'm just frustrated and plan to speak to my DD teacher/director about my concerns.

As of now, my only option will be to take her out of the school, which she loves or pick her up a 1/2 hour early, when the children have lunch. I keep thinking that maybe I'm making a big deal out of it and she'll be OK. But my gut tells me different, and she depends on us, her parents, to keep her safe.

Has anyone encountered a situation like this? Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Erika

Posted on: Sat, 01/10/2009 - 2:59am
jenniferbfab's picture
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Joined: 05/04/2008 - 12:43

Erika, this sounds like where we were not so long ago. (I have a 5 y.o. PA son.) I really believe you need to go with your gut. Most of the preschools around here are peanut-free because of the young age, food sharing, messiness, etc.
Here's my personal opinion, for what it's worth:
One of the great things about such young children is that they are so resilient. I bet your daughter would very quickly acclimate to a new school or to leaving 1/2 hour early. BTW, where will the kids eat their PB sandwiches? Will it be in the classroom? Will leaving early be "safe" enough/make you comfortable?
I understand and to some degree agree that "in the real world...". We are, however, taking about a 3 y.o., not a 13 year old. Big difference. She can't even read labels yet, to protect herself. And, no, you are not making a big deal out of it.
Jennifer B.
[url="http://www.foodallergybuzz.com"]Food Allergy Buzz[/url]

Posted on: Sat, 01/10/2009 - 12:13pm
ctmartin's picture
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Joined: 07/30/2007 - 09:00

hi, erica,
this is definitely where we were only 5 short months ago, although we were new to the school. i posted about it here, but long story short, even though my 3 year old PA daughter was more than ready for school, i pulled her out after two days. it just was not worth it, although i was desperate to get her into a preschool.
our allergist (mt. sinai) basically told us that we should accept nothing less than a peanut free classroom at this age. i was so desperate that i did not ask for a peanut free classroom (because i knew this school would not agree to it), but asked that they at least have a handwashing policy in place.
well, let me tell you, you can not rely on this. on the FIRST day, i saw a kid with a big, gloopy PB&J get up from the table (which had a big PB smear on it, by the way) and proceed to walk around the classroom touching things. i was mortified, and when i politely called it to their attention, they were like, "well, we said we'd *try* to wash their hands ... it's gonna be a learning process." um, not at MY kid's expense!
i was so crushed, as i thought we would never get her into school. there are very few peanut free preschools around here, thanks to being in the south! well, lo and behold, two months later a preschool that i had previously written off called to say we had been taken off of the waiting list. i ALMOST did not return the call, but something made me return to the school (previously when i had spoken to them their attitude had been very blase about her allergy). well, i met with the teacher and, without me even having to ask, she told me her classroom would be peanut free.
bottom line, go with your gut and hold out until you find that peanut free school ... i'm sure it's out there somewhere. times are still tough with all of the food celebrations in the classroom (and this is a great teacher and a great group of parents who have been so careful), so i can't even imagine having to deal with peanuts actually being consumed in the classroom. kids are just way to messy at this age.
oh, and for the record, my daughter was in a half-day program at the first school, so she wasn't even supposed to be there for lunch that first day. thank GOD we came late or we would have never seen what was going on ... IMO it is NOT safe to just assume that b/c she is not present when PB&J is eaten then she is safe!

Posted on: Sun, 01/11/2009 - 2:50am
Maybride's picture
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Joined: 01/09/2009 - 14:00

Thank you both so much! You both make a good point about leaving a 1/2 hour early, I'd actually thought about that too. They eat at the same table they do projects at in the classroom. It's interesting too because I'd actually been concerned that she wasn't learning very much at the school so wondered if I should start looking elsewhere, then this happened so maybe it's for the best.
I spoke with her teacher/the director yesterday and expressed my concern in great detail. I told her that my daughter was a twin, we loss her twin during the end of my first trimester, and it was heartbreaking, and I would do everything I could not to loose her too, just as any parent would. I think what upsets me more than anything is the parents who are insisting that they're allowed to bring pbj. I'm so disappointed that it's more important to them that their child eats pbj at school than the health of my daughter. It's just unbelievable to me.
My dd teacher called and left us a lengthly message yesterday saying that she really wants us to know she's very concerned and not only cares about the safety of the other children but ours as well. She said she was very sorry if she came off as being inconsiderate etc. She'd talk to the other parents and see what solution she can come up with. It was very heartfelt and made me feel much better. However, my daughter will not return to the school if it is not peanut free.
When I read about the child eating and walking around with a messy pbj my heart sunk. I just can't imagine what must have been going through your mind, not to mention the fear and anger. Honestly, that's the picture that played in my mind when I was told the children would be allowed to bring pbj now. I honestly don't think some people understand unless they have a child who is allergic, or has seen what happens as the result of PA. It's horrible and I never want her to go through it again.
Thank you both again, I'm definitely going to stick around here.
Next up...shopping for a medical ID bracelet.

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