Thoughts on this letter?

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 11:45am
corky1's picture
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Joined: 09/07/2006 - 09:00

Hi

I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on this letter I was going to send out to the parents in our junior kindergarten class about my son and one of his class mates. It is not a peanut free school (yet!) so I have to appeal to the parents good will at this point.

Dear Parents

As you may have heard during Junior Kindergarten orientation, our children, xx and yy, both have a severe allergy to peanuts. If they eat or even touch peanuts, peanut butter or any food which may have been in contact with peanuts, they will develop a life threatening anaphylactic reaction which must be treated immediately with an epinephrine injection. While at school of course we are unable to watch out for our sons and so rely on the cooperation of teachers,classmates and their parents to ensure that our children are not exposed to these food items.

We would be most grateful if you avoid sending your child to class with any snacks which are labelled as containing or being exposed to peanuts and other nuts. New legislation in Ontario requires all food manufacturers to indicate on the ingredient list whether a food item may contain or have come in contact with peanuts. In addition, please avoid any home baking which may have come in contact with peanuts. Finally, if your child has eaten peanut products in the morning, please wash their hands and face so that they can't pass on traces of peanut when they come to school. Even a trace of peanut butter left on a toy or playground equipment can trigger an anaphylactic reaction.
We understand that these measures may seem burdensome and a tremendous imposition, particularly when so many children enjoy peanut butter. Unfortunately peanut allergies are becoming increasingly common these days and although xx and yy are aware of their allergy, they are still too young to understand the consequences of eating peanuts and don't have the maturity to resist temptation. I think you would all agree that we must do whatever is necessary to keep our children safe and by cooperating with these few requests you will be contributing greatly to the welfare of our sons. We thank you for your understanding and wish you and your children all the best in their first year of school.

( I plan to attach a suggested list of safe snacks to this letter and a contact number if parents need more clarification)

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:25pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Could you post a link to the new legislation you are referring to? I think you may be incorrect about that. There are still a lot of companies that do not label for may contains.
********
Now, I know I'm going to ruffle some feathers with my reply to your question, but I'm going to answer anyway.
If you say that touching a food which may have been in contact [b]will[/b] cause anaphylaxis - and then one day it doesn't, you will have lost credibility with some of the parents. If your doctor has said that your children are that sensitive you might want to get a letter from him.
Regarding the comment about home baking, will your child be eating home baked goods sent in for birthdays, etc.? I think your comment is fine, if your child will not be eating that stuff (and maybe you have safe treats for him/her at school) but personally, I wouldn't be trusting other parents of non pa-children to understand enough about cross-contamination.
My last suggestion is that you might want to provide a hotmail account, rather then a phone number. All it takes is one nasty parent and you could be hounded with nasty phone calls. You could use your regular e-mail account, but I'd suggest a hotmail (or other free) e-mail account for this.
*********
Also just wanted to mention, since you live in Ontario I know there are a lot of safe snacks to add to your list. Take some time to look through these boards, and you might find some you were unaware of.
Welcome to the board. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:54pm
corky1's picture
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Joined: 09/07/2006 - 09:00

thanks for your comments. I used the term WILL cause anaphylaxis since my experience has been that many parents are not convinced that peanut allergy is that big a deal and that we are just overreacting. If we always say MAY cause a reaction, this is often interpreted as MAY NOT so why bother with all the hassle? I will give this some more thought though before I finalize the letter. As for baked goods, I don't expect my son to eat baking brought in by other kids but I know that in a moment of weakness he would grab a chocolate cookie if it was within reach. He is just too young at this point to have good self control.
Finally, I will check on the Ontario legislation. I thought it had been included in Sabrina's Law since all products I've purchased recently have been labelled. But I may be wrong.

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:57pm
3xy1PAinNH's picture
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Joined: 08/07/2006 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by corky1:
[b]
I think you would all agree that we must do whatever is necessary to keep our children safe and by cooperating with these few requests you will be contributing greatly to the welfare of our sons. We thank you for your understanding and wish you and your children all the best in their first year of school.
[/b]
I agree with everything AnnaMarie(?) said. As soon as I read about the homebaked goods I thought of pizza stones being used for PB cookies and then two weeks later for something 'safe' buthaving x-contam.
I also think I might edit out the phrase, "I think you would all agree..." and instead start the sentence with
"by cooperating with these requests you will be contributing greatly to the welfare of our sons. We thank you for your understanding and wish you and your children all the best in their first year of school."
Some people might take 'offense' to the "I think you would agree' It presumes you know how they feel about this. Some people are passionately adverse to anyone telling them they can't have their PB anywhere anytime!
Other than that...I think it is a great letter...I might be saving it as an example of what I will need in two years!

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:59pm
joeybeth's picture
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Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

annamarie:
i second your comments. i have this fear that my girls will someday come in contact with peanut and NOT have the expected reaction in front of others, thereby causing others to disbelieve that peanut exposure (ingestion, aerosol, contact, etc.)can be life threatening for them. not that i WANT an exposure to cause a serious reaction but i also don't want people going, "well...would you look at that...must have all been made up." my girls are ultra sensitive to peanut residue in their surroundings but the reactions vary...sometimes milder and sometimes very serious. for that reason, i try to use the words "may cause" anaphylaxis when talking about contact or aerosol exposures. based on our past history, i feel confident that i can say "will cause" anaphylaxis when talking about ingestion reactions.
[This message has been edited by joeybeth (edited September 07, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 1:00pm
3xy1PAinNH's picture
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Joined: 08/07/2006 - 09:00

I still have concerns about the WILL cause. I was also under the impression that touch rxns are NOT ana. If you touch then injest...it can be ana...
I know why you don't want it, but by saying WILL cause, you are technically sending out bad information.
I think most people understand the terms "Life-threatneing" and "Anaphylactic" When you use those terms they 'get' that his is serious.

Posted on: Fri, 09/08/2006 - 12:21am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Quote:Originally posted by corky1:
[b]Finally, I will check on the Ontario legislation. I thought it had been included in Sabrina's Law since all products I've purchased recently have been labelled. But I may be wrong.[/b]
Actually, labelling is a federal thing, not provincial. As an example, my husband brought home a Sara Lee cake this week. He thought it was well labeled because under the list of ingredients it said something like "contains wheat and dairy ingredients". However, those were actual ingredients that are added in. It did NOT say "may contain" anything. I called them within the last year and they do NOT put *may contains* on packaging but you can get that information over the phone. Personally, I can't be bothered - I'll eat McCain's.
*********
I understand what you mean about a little kid not understanding and they *might* grab a home-made treat. Best to have everything as safe as possible. The teacher will no to try to prevent that though, right? (Not that it's always possible to prevent, but at least she'll be trying.)

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:25pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Could you post a link to the new legislation you are referring to? I think you may be incorrect about that. There are still a lot of companies that do not label for may contains.
********
Now, I know I'm going to ruffle some feathers with my reply to your question, but I'm going to answer anyway.
If you say that touching a food which may have been in contact [b]will[/b] cause anaphylaxis - and then one day it doesn't, you will have lost credibility with some of the parents. If your doctor has said that your children are that sensitive you might want to get a letter from him.
Regarding the comment about home baking, will your child be eating home baked goods sent in for birthdays, etc.? I think your comment is fine, if your child will not be eating that stuff (and maybe you have safe treats for him/her at school) but personally, I wouldn't be trusting other parents of non pa-children to understand enough about cross-contamination.
My last suggestion is that you might want to provide a hotmail account, rather then a phone number. All it takes is one nasty parent and you could be hounded with nasty phone calls. You could use your regular e-mail account, but I'd suggest a hotmail (or other free) e-mail account for this.
*********
Also just wanted to mention, since you live in Ontario I know there are a lot of safe snacks to add to your list. Take some time to look through these boards, and you might find some you were unaware of.
Welcome to the board. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:54pm
corky1's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/07/2006 - 09:00

thanks for your comments. I used the term WILL cause anaphylaxis since my experience has been that many parents are not convinced that peanut allergy is that big a deal and that we are just overreacting. If we always say MAY cause a reaction, this is often interpreted as MAY NOT so why bother with all the hassle? I will give this some more thought though before I finalize the letter. As for baked goods, I don't expect my son to eat baking brought in by other kids but I know that in a moment of weakness he would grab a chocolate cookie if it was within reach. He is just too young at this point to have good self control.
Finally, I will check on the Ontario legislation. I thought it had been included in Sabrina's Law since all products I've purchased recently have been labelled. But I may be wrong.

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:57pm
3xy1PAinNH's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/07/2006 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by corky1:
[b]
I think you would all agree that we must do whatever is necessary to keep our children safe and by cooperating with these few requests you will be contributing greatly to the welfare of our sons. We thank you for your understanding and wish you and your children all the best in their first year of school.
[/b]
I agree with everything AnnaMarie(?) said. As soon as I read about the homebaked goods I thought of pizza stones being used for PB cookies and then two weeks later for something 'safe' buthaving x-contam.
I also think I might edit out the phrase, "I think you would all agree..." and instead start the sentence with
"by cooperating with these requests you will be contributing greatly to the welfare of our sons. We thank you for your understanding and wish you and your children all the best in their first year of school."
Some people might take 'offense' to the "I think you would agree' It presumes you know how they feel about this. Some people are passionately adverse to anyone telling them they can't have their PB anywhere anytime!
Other than that...I think it is a great letter...I might be saving it as an example of what I will need in two years!

Posted on: Thu, 09/07/2006 - 12:59pm
joeybeth's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

annamarie:
i second your comments. i have this fear that my girls will someday come in contact with peanut and NOT have the expected reaction in front of others, thereby causing others to disbelieve that peanut exposure (ingestion, aerosol, contact, etc.)can be life threatening for them. not that i WANT an exposure to cause a serious reaction but i also don't want people going, "well...would you look at that...must have all been made up." my girls are ultra sensitive to peanut residue in their surroundings but the reactions vary...sometimes milder and sometimes very serious. for that reason, i try to use the words "may cause" anaphylaxis when talking about contact or aerosol exposures. based on our past history, i feel confident that i can say "will cause" anaphylaxis when talking about ingestion reactions.
[This message has been edited by joeybeth (edited September 07, 2006).]

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