When to teach PA child how to use epi?

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 2:54am
Jodi's picture
Joined: 10/28/2000 - 09:00

The principal at my son's school asked me last week if he knew how to use his epi-pen if he had to. My son, being 6, has never been tought to administer it himself. I know every child matures at a different age, but at what approximate age is it appropriate to teach your child how to use their epi-pen? I guess I have avoided it as I haven't wanted to scare him.

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 4:02am
pgrubbs's picture
Joined: 10/27/2003 - 09:00

My dd is only 4, but she is pretty mature. I thought that by the end of kindergarten I would work with her on dealing with her own epi-pen. Her allergist says that is too young. I don't know the answer. I'd love to hear what Peg did with her son. Peg, if you are listening (or any other "veteran" of this stage!)...

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 11:23am
ants mom's picture
Joined: 01/23/2003 - 09:00

My son turned 5 in July and will start Kindergarten next week. I have shown him how to use the epi pen. He has tried both the epi trainer and the actual epi pen. We use the trainer on his stuffed monkey. We use an orange for the actual epi pen. My pediatrician advised that he is probably old enough to carry his epi pen in school. I do not feel 100% confident that he would actually use it on himself if he had to. I don't even feel confident that he would know he was having a reaction.
Not looking forward to next week!

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 3:57pm
smartalyk's picture
Joined: 07/20/2004 - 09:00

My son knows how to use it, but I don't know that he would be able to if he was having a reaction. When he had an anaphylactic reaction in May, he didn't even know what was happening. Plus his oxygen levels were at 82% withing 90 seconds and I don't think he would have been able to if he had thought to (too weak, having trouble breathing).
I am still glad he knows how. He is six, turning seven.

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 9:24pm
Claire's picture
Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

We started teaching Chris from the age of 2. What I mean is introducing him to it and what it was. Always demonstrating but not really letting him touch it. I think at this age teaching him that it isn't a toy was the goal.
by the time he started school (5) he knew how to use it if he had to. The problem being he could not carry it on him anyway so would not be able to give it to self.
My 6 year old is very comfortable with the epi and would know how to use it on Chris if he had to.
He is very serious when it comes to his brothers allergy and has actually given it to an apple for me.
What I was always afraid of with them knowing how to do it themselves is what if's.
What if he gave it to himself but know one was aware of it.
Smartalyik has a very good point. Christophers oxygen dropped so fast that could he have given it himself in the situation he was in.
good luck CLaire

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 10:14pm
Jodi's picture
Joined: 10/28/2000 - 09:00

My son is kinda in the same stage, he could probably do it if he was told to do it. Don't think he'd realize that he needs it until way into a reaction.

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 11:55pm
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by pgrubbs:
[b]My dd is only 4, but she is pretty mature. I thought that by the end of kindergarten I would work with her on dealing with her own epi-pen. Her allergist says that is too young. I don't know the answer. I'd love to hear what Peg did with her son. Peg, if you are listening (or any other "veteran" of this stage!)...
We taught our son (he's 19 now) right away how to use his epi pen, he was 5 when we found out about his allergy.
Once I found his school was locking it up I got him to carry it himself every day.
He is pretty technically oriented and interested in how things work so that part was easy. I never imagined he would play with the epi pen or let anyone else touch it, he's just not that kind of kid.
The part about injecting himself he never balked at because he KNEW it would save his life and took that seriously.
He's always liked to follow rules. He collected all of the instructions (he called them extructions) to his toys and carried them around all day. I figured this type of kid could responsibly handle his epi pen and he did.
I read a statistic that said most kids die while some adult convinces them to "wait and see" during a reaction. I vowed that this would not happen to DS and he was given permission to override the decision of any adult who wanted him to wait and see.
I think that gave him the power over his own decisions about HIS LIFE. He's always been the owner of control over his PA and it's always worked for him.
I have a neighbor (my age) who is allergic to aspirin. She called me one day on her way to anaphylaxis and asked me to administer her epi pen while we waited for 911 to arrive.
I told her no and placed the epi pen in her hand. She balked, I insisted and she injected herself with no problem. My feeling is someday you are going to be alone and have to do this for yourself so today is the best opportunity you have.
It is not much different with kids, just how you approach it.

Posted on: Tue, 08/31/2004 - 12:11am
jtolpin's picture
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Caitlin is 4 1/2.
She does not know, nor will she for a few yrs...
If she knew, she'd grab it 10X/day and inject herself... her toys.. her sisters...

Posted on: Tue, 08/31/2004 - 1:06am
mcmom's picture
Joined: 06/15/2004 - 09:00

My son just turned 5, he has known how to use the Epi since he was 4. He had watched me teaching other family members; it turned out he had been watching closely and knew without my having to tech him. So I went over it with him, explained that he would have to hold it for a count of ten, and we have practiced with the trainer many times. I don't worry about him "playing" with it, because they are always stored well out of his reach. I don't have him carry it at school because 1-the school is *very* small, and the epi is always just steps away, and 2-he's never had a reaction since he was a baby, so he wouldn't be able to make the determination if he was having one or not.

Posted on: Tue, 08/31/2004 - 2:16am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

What works for one does not necessarily work for another family/child.
Our daughter who is now 22 almost passed out the other day when I asked her to practice with an old epi pen on an orange. That is who she is. I assume/pray she will rise to the occasion if necessary since she is 1000% responsible in everything else she does.
I know DS will use his epi pen if he needs it and that is what I need to know and worked so hard to accomplish.

Posted on: Tue, 08/31/2004 - 6:26am
Claire's picture
Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

PEG you make me laugh because Chris has had a ton of shots over the years and hates to see a needle. It makes him very sweemish. My Dd can not see the littlest amount of blood or she gets queezy.
good luck Claire


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