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I responded to TLSMOM about a similar question, but I will repost here. My son is PA, and has been home with me since birth. He is starting preschool in 2 weeks. Just twice a week for 2 1/2 hours each day. I was planning on stayin with him for the first few days just to ease him into it, but now after reading TLSMOM post, I feel as though I should stay there every day. I want to do what is best for him and safest. I am making a poster for his classroom about PA and signs and symptoms to look for and what to do in case of any. But, it scares me to leave him. I used to be afraid of him going to school just because I am a SAHM, and we have never been apart, typical Mom stuff. But now, I am over that, and only worried about his allergy. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Amy

On Aug 22, 2001

Unfortunately there's no correct answer. Everyone has to do what feels right for them in their gut. You have to weigh your child's safety against your child's need to learn to be his own person(even at a young age). A lot also depends on how comfortable you are with the preschool. How much you trust them to follow your instructions and give your child extra 'watching over'. I was able to put my daughter in preschool, but the hours she was there I made sure I was always just a phone call away. I never went shopping, or took a shower while she was in class. I let her go to pre-school and take the first steps towards independance while I stayed at home and worried. It's a battle we all face. I wish I could be better help, but it's an individual choice you have to make. No one will think bad of you for whatever decision you make.

On Aug 22, 2001

I did the same as Katie's mom when Tom started preschool last year. I met with the teacher and her assistant beforehand to express my concerns as well as educating them about cross-contaimination etc. They were also trained to use the epi-pens which I keep in a red zippered bag( you can order from the Food Allergy Network.) along with his Benadryl, Emergency instructions and my phone numbers where I could be reached. They agreed on a peanut/treenut free classroom. Also all the parents of the other children in Toms class were informed about his allergy and the no nuts policy. Food rules were very strict. Since his class was in the afternoon the children only had to bring a snack. Every week a different child would be assigned to bring a snack, but it had to be nut free and wrapped. No homemade items. Also everyday when I would drop Tom off, I would check whatever the snack was for that day. Because Tom is also allergic to milk and egg, you can imagine alot of times he couldn't have it. So in his backpack I would always pack his own "labeled" snack that only he could have. I'm also a SAHM and after a deep breath I would go home to put my younger one to sleep. I remember the first couple of weeks I was very nervous!!!! I sat the entire time next to the phone. But it did get better after a while I could actually get things done around the house or whatever I needed to do. Tom really blossomed in his preschool experience. It has helped him socially a great deal, and he feels more independent. It definately has been worth it!!!! This year he's going to the same Preschool. So I've already met with his new teacher. Next week is Open House. I use that as an opportunity to talk to and inform other parents about Tom's allergy. The reason for my original post is because I wanted to get tips from PA parents who already have older children in grade school. My son is 4 1/2 and won't be starting kindergarten until next Fall. I realize there will be alot more things and variables that will need to be covered to help ensure my son's safety. I don't know if I will be able to volunteer at his school,since he has a younger sister at home. Right now things are tough financially, so we can't afford a babysitter. I hope this wasn't too rambling, and is some help. Good Luck!!

[This message has been edited by TLSMOM (edited August 22, 2001).]

On Aug 23, 2001

Thank you guys! Our orientation is next week also. I have made a poster for his room, and written a letter to each parent. I will also try to speak to each parent while I am there. Putting my phone number in his back pack along with his epi pen is a good idea. I appreciate your thoughts. I am going to stay the first day. And just take it from there. I too have a younger daughter at home, so it will be hard for me to volunteer. His preschool is at the YMCA, so we have joined, and I plan to take his sister swimming or workout on some days as well. I am doing everything I can think of. I just don't want to leave anything out. He is aware that he is allergic to peanuts, but that is about it.. It is so hard to entrust strangers!! AAAAAAAAAA! Thanks again, Amy

On Aug 24, 2001

My son is also 2 1/2. Well 2 3/4 now to be exact. I am also a SAHM. Ronan has never been away from me for more than a couple of hours at a time. He is severely allergic to many, many things and is contact sensitive so if kids were spilling milk all over the place, he'd be in the hospital.

I'm trying to raise him as "normally" as possible. He has many playmates of his own age which live on our tiny cul de sac and they all play together outside and in each others' houses all day. I also take him into gymboree type places, amusement parks, trains, etc.

While I do want him to go to playschool, I am waiting until the year before he starts kindegarten. He turns 3 at the end of November so next September I'll try to find a playschool for him.

I would never leave him anywhere unless there was a strict agreement on his care and cross-contamination, etc. Over here in Ireland they have "Area Medical Officers" and they go into the schools and train staff on anaphylaxis and administering Epipens and show videos, etc. I'm going to investigate whether they will do the same with preschool.

One thing I will never do is let him eat food brought in by another child. I'm already "training" him to only eat food that mommy or daddy (or a trusted friend) give him.

Good Luck.