Has Your PA Child EVER Sat Beside Someone Eating a Peanut Product?

Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2002 - 12:16am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I just had this occur to me. There has been much discussion in a few different threads on the board right now about how we have to teach our children how to navigate in a peanut full world. I understand that. I have always believed that I am trying to do that with Jesse. But am I?

Jesse has not sat beside another person eating peanut products (except for that one error at the circus) since he had his last anaphylactic reaction where he almost died.

He has a peanut free classroom. Will I ever expect that he won't?

All of the festivities that we were able to attend in our town this summer, PA didn't enter into - oh, there were "may contain" donuts at the one big picnic, but no big deal, just no donuts and didn't affect our enjoying the whole function. Everything else we were able to do safely.

We don't have a social life at all with other people really. The kids are now just starting to make friends that want to have playdates and I have to say that I am on the cautious side and kinda want to have the playdates at my home, even if that means I have a few more grey hair missing after the other children have left.

We don't have any family here to interact with and worry about if they "get it" or not.

When we do eat out, or order take-in, I know that we're ordering "safe" food.

Bottom line though - Jesse has never sat beside someone eating a peanut product and I don't think I could handle it. I think I would completely freak. So, how am I really teaching him to navigate with his allergy through this peanut full world? Or does that come at a later age? And when would that be?

I do know that I don't obsess about PA (many may think I do because of the number of my posts) because Ember doesn't have a peanut free classroom and it only blips into my head about once a month that she doesn't. Yesterday I asked her if any of the children in her classroom ate pb sandwiches. She said that no, but one child ate crackers that she dipped in pb. I never think about washing Ember from head to toe after she spends a day at school in probably a residue filled classroom. So, I don't consider myself over the top about it.

But what about this thing about Jesse and him not eating beside someone eating a peanut product? He has certainly sat beside people eating may contain products, but never peanut products. And, is him sitting beside another person eating a peanut product necessary in my teaching of him to navigate in this world?

I'm just all of a sudden confused because I'm not clear if I am doing the right thing with Jess or not [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img] I know that part of the reason I chose to stay in a really small town for longer than should ever have been done was because of PA. I know also that that really factors into my decision not to move back to *the big city*.

Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2002 - 4:21am
Grateful's picture
Joined: 04/10/2002 - 09:00

Hi Cindy!
I don't think your doing anything wrong by teaching him to stay away from pa. My son (6) is not in a peanut-free class and eats at the regular lunch table but he knows that if someone has peanuts he must not sit next to them (these include all the packers at lunch). I think young kids are so "hands on" with each other and each others stuff that they need a little distance in order to stay safe! I think being able to speak up and take actions to keep themselves away from peanuts is a big part of learning to live in a peanut-full world!

Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2002 - 4:32am
kelly01's picture
Joined: 03/19/2001 - 09:00

Hi Cindy:
My 5 year old son with PA has sat near other children eating peanut products. Whether they were directly next to him or right across from him, I am not sure.
Last year, in preschool his classroom was "peanut free" (although we allowed "may contains"). This was mainly due to the fact that preschoolers seem to have very little self control and my own son was not really that aware of the issue. During that time I know that we had attended baseball games, and/or gatherings with friends where other people consumed peanut products around us. We always explained his allgery so people would be concious about not slobbering all over the place and washing up (and of course underneath it all I was watching everything like a hawk). Our reasoning was that he probably plays with children at the playground or in the neighborhood that eat peanut butter all the time and we have never had a problem.
This year in kindergarten, we sent a note home asking parents to refrain from bringing in birthday treats that contained peanuts and explained there was a peanut allergic child in the class. We did not, however, put any restrictions on the individual snacks that the children brought in for themselves. For the most part, there are rarely peanut butter type snacks, but occasionally someone with bring one in. The first time this happened at his table, the teacher took extra care to make sure that the child with the peanut butter washed up immediately (and the table, too) and kept an eye on Dan. Everything was fine. In fact, this is the first year that I am allowing his brothers to keep their peanut-containing Halloween candy. (Although any peanut containing candy is kept separately and can only be eaten in a designated spot).
I know that a LOT of folks would probably disagree with our tactics on this, but it has worked for us. We do not plan on having a peanut free table for Dan next year when he stays for lunch. For me, I just feel that the "least restrictive" environment is the way to handle it (of course I understand that some childrens reaction history would require more restrictive rules! This is just what we feel comfortable with).
I should add that the boys attend a fairly small Catholic school, where there are pretty defined rules and the discipline is pretty strong. This helps my comfort level, as far as children running around with food, not washing up, etc.
Hope this is helpful, it will be interesting to read everyone's responses.

Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2002 - 8:23am
Rae's picture
Joined: 03/28/2000 - 09:00

All the time. Jenna can smell it a mile away. She usually makes sure to tell them - sometimes several times - to make sure and wash when they are done. That's Jenna. Heidi wouldn't notice what someone near her was eating - most of the time she doesn't notice if someone is even near her! My comfort zone is more laxed - like me. We stay safe, are very careful, etc., but I really don't expect others to "get it". I figure many of them also have children to care for, houses to clean, laundry piling to the ceiling, etc., and my child's PA is probably not what they wake up and think about each day - that's my job.

Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2002 - 8:56am
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

My son is not in a peanut free school. He does have a peanut free table at lunchtime, supposedly, but there are plenty of slip-ups. Last year, in kindergarten, he ate in his classroom along with plenty of kids eating peanut butter and there was no washing up after lunch. So I know he has been exposed to plenty of residue and never reacted.
It was hard sending him to school knowing the potential danger, but since he has been OK, I'm actually glad I had a chance to see he could be safe in that environment. The other day after school he was playing YuGiOh cards with a boy who was eating a drumstick ice cream cone w/peanuts. My ever-vigilant daughter came to tell me and I went over, pointed out to my son that the kid had peanuts, and then stepped back and watched. He was fine. I don't like him that close to peanuts, but I kept an eagle eye on him and it was good to see that everything was OK.
I want to be careful, but since sending him to school, I've been forced to compromise my standards and accept that he'll be in close proximity to peanuts one way or another. Knowing that he has functioned safely in a less-than-ideal environment has made me feel less frightened and more comfortable with the PA.

Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2002 - 9:34am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Just yesterday Kevin attended a Halloween party. Right before leaving, the hostess brought out a tray of chocolate candies, including Reese's and Mr. Goodbar. I just kind of stood back to watch what would happen. When Kevin's best friend opened a Reeses, Kevin just said, "See you later", and moved on to play with some other kids. I was really, really proud of him.
Kevin is contact and airborne sensitive, but I did not for a moment consider keeping him home from this party. I jsut told the hostess I would stay, and she was fine with that - in fact, I think she appreciated the extra supervision. There's really no social situation we avoid; we just adapt to wherever we are (with the possible exception of the circus - the last one we attended was when Kevin was an infant and I seem to remember peanuts flying everywhere, and peanuts weren't on my radar yet so it must have been pretty bad). I think that especially due to his airborne sensitivity, it is important for him to know how to handle himself in any situation, while he's still young enough to get guidance from me. This is not to say we throw him to the lions; obviously we only fly airlines that don't serve nuts, etc.
He does sit at a peanut free table at school, and I plan to continue this until Middle School. We'll reevaluate it then.
He goes on lots of playdates without me. Of course when he was younger there were only two or three people I trusted him with (one of whom has a PA daughter). Now that I see how responsible he has become, he is free to go to anyone's home who I would trust in general.
Of course, each person is different. With the exception of an airplane reaction, none of his contact/airborne reactions have been anaphylactic; if they were this would be a whole different post!
Hope that helps!

Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2002 - 10:09am
Codyman's picture
Joined: 08/14/2002 - 09:00

My daughter has sat beside someone eating a peanut butter sandwich but we quickly moved her.
This happened when we went to Colorado to visit our friends last year. We brought PLENTY of snack food for all the kids but for main meals we usually ate out (the wife wasn't much of a cook!!).
One day I didn't feel like eating out AGAIN and decided to make the kids tuna sandwiches since I had brought canned tuna with us. Our friends younger daughter (2 years)wanted a peanut butter sandwich and so they gave it to her!! She was sitting beside my daughter and since a toddler hands are everywhere my husband took our daughter and moved her. Later my daughter was going to ride one of their bikes of made sure the kids washed their hands and when one of the other children had touched the bike before washing their hands, my daughter had their Dad wash the bike. I was very proud of my daughter who was 4 years old at the time!!
My husband and I were VERY surprised that our friends couldn't withhold peanut butter for the 2 weeks we were there!! Our friends were also given a WAKE UP call to our daughter's allergy due to her avoidance and cleanliness of peanut particles.

Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2002 - 1:19pm
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Going Nuts, just wondering what kind of airborne reaction did your son have? Did you have to use the Epi in the air? Also wondering how old he is, and when he goes to houses without you, is he trained to use his own Epi? Just wondering at what age you trained him. I have been mulling this over for awhile. My dd is only seven, so nowhere near old enough to know when and how to use an Epi, but she is invited on so many playdates that she can`t go on, because I doubt that the parents would have the wherewithall to use an Epi in the moment. As someone else said, they have their own laundry, bills, jobs, etc and my dd`s safety is probably not high on the list of their concerns. I have been wondering at what age she would be mature enough to teach her how and when to use an Epi.

Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2002 - 3:05pm
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Cindy, I totally understand your fears. Leah had never sat next to anyone eating peanut butter until she was 6 1/2 and went to day camp, just over a year ago. (I'm sure you'll remember that this was when my anxiety level sky rocketed and I didn't sleep for four nights.) I was so unbelievably scared. I just didn't know how or if she would react. The counsellors were great and assured me they would really watch Leah and keep her away from kids eating peanut stuff; and also make sure the kids washed up after. Still, who really knows if this happened. After that, she went back to school and had a peanut free table, instead of a peanut free class as she had had in kindergarten. I was still really scared but she was fine. This year, in second grade, she sits with everyone else with no restrictions (because of some social problems we were worried about which seemed exacerbated by the separate table). She is doing fine and I am much more relaxed. Had she reacted this would be a whole different story. At this point I trust her comfort zone in who she sits next to, etc. She seems to be handling it really well. Her last reaction was 3 years ago and that was from ingesting peanut butter. So, I guess we're fortunate.
She goes on play dates and everywhere else other kids go. I always make sure an adult knows about the epi-pen and how to use it. Again, we've been lucky. I think Leah could use it herself if she had to, since we've practiced with the trainer and she sees me showing people how to use it a lot. Still, I'm not even close to having her take responsibility for being in charge of it.
It's a mother's instinct to keep our kids safe. I would love to keep peanuts totally away from her. It just hasn't seemed feasible to do so in our situation, and once again: we have been very lucky. With the anxiety Jesse's been having regarding his pa I think the last thing you should think about is loosening up your comfort zone. You're doing great. The last thing either of you need right now is to determine whether or not he can be safe next to kids eating pb, IMHO. I hope I don't sound hypocritical. (I guess I probably do!) I just feel that our situations are different and you are handling things really well for Jesse right now. Hugs, Miriam

Posted on: Tue, 10/29/2002 - 7:46am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Kevin is 8 1/2. He has practiced with his trainer many, many times, but I would not count on him if he were having a major reaction. I've trained his friend's moms, and send his own food (unless they have something pre-approved by me). He is very responsible about not eating anything questionable. Also, none of his buddies lives more than about 5 minutes away, and I'm always home if he's at someones house (I also have both a beeper and cell phone, just for extra peace of mind).
As for his airplane reaction, he was three at the time, and I *should* have used his epipen, but :
1) I wasn't as well educated then as I am now, and;
2) In the confusion surrounding my FIL's sudden death, the person who had been with Kevin immediately prior to our flight handed Kevin over to me, but not his epipen. In my total confusion, I didn't realize it until we were taxiing down the runway. I panicked, then calmed myself down and reminded myself that he was fast asleep and wouldn't be eating anyway. Famous last words; with 100+ people opening bags of peanuts at the same time... Let's just say we were extremely lucky, and I had a few more gray hairs to show for it. His other airborne reactions have just involved hives on his face and neck; no coughing, wheezing, etc.

Posted on: Tue, 10/29/2002 - 8:14am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

We have been near people eating PB at parties and playgroup. I generally have redirected my dd away from it in playgrooup situation and then it becomes very obvious to the other Mom and they watch their child closely. One time, the Mom had not noticed 2yo brother swipe older sis's sandwich and he was smeared with it pretty well. That gave me quite an anxiety attack, but dd was fine, though my friend seemd to keep a distance at that point being he could not wash up as well as he should have.
Three parties where friend invited us and put out PB sandwiches for the kids! Now, they did not eat next to dd because all were very young, and dd two-ish. However, I doubt they all washed as well as they should if at all, and dd has been fine. I have been a wreck [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] (how's that Cindy?), but dd fine.
I imagine at some older age(she is 3 now and in a peanut free school, sort of, they are new to it and learning as they go) I will be fine with just a peanut free table, and depending on her personality and attention to it, and ultimately, sitting with everyone else someday. This provided she does not react, of course.
I found it was harder the last party with nuts. I saw my dd help herself from a bowl of chips(she hates chips) because her friend did it. Now I need to police things a bit more closely for awhile as she becomes interested in being like everyone else. So we will see if I tighten up or if I can teach her! becca
[This message has been edited by becca (edited October 29, 2002).]


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