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Posted on: Mon, 09/30/2002 - 3:57am
Grateful's picture
Joined: 04/10/2002 - 09:00

Thank you guys for responding! Renee - I don't think you're crazy to have pb in your house. We had it in ours for years without any problems. I mostly got rid of it because I didn't like looking at it and being reminded about the allergy! Home is one place I don't need to worry beyond double-checking labels!
As far as being concerned about possible minute exposures at school, I was worried until this past summer when my son had a "contact challenge" ( a big glob of pb on the back of his hand for 20 minutes) with no reaction whatsoever. My son's orginal (and only) 2 reactions were contact rashes, so he is definitely less sensitive than he was prior to 3 years of non-peanut-free school! My allergist says that peanut protein is relatively heavy and is not an airborne allergen (if someone close to him is eating pb, peanut protein would not be in the air for him to inhale) so that doesn't concern me.
I am so glad this is working for other children with pa! My son's school has 3 other pa children that I know of so this must be working for them as well. I rejoice daily in the relative "normalcy" of my son's life and it is great to find support for that approach here!

Posted on: Mon, 09/30/2002 - 4:18am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

I agree completely! My son's IgE level was 850, and allergen level >100 indicating frequent "exposure". From what, I was not certain, since we had a peanut free home.
Consider this senario: If a child has a reaction at school (a severe one), or forbid, dies,he most likely ingested peanuts. If the peanut products (especially PB) are limited or restricted, the chances of this drop. Isn't that what we are looking for? Increasing safety, decreasing the likelihood of injury or death? It took a child dying (in Chicago) to enact a law prohibiting chaining of school doors during the hours of school. The child was unable to escape a fire in a school which chained and locked doors. (Does anyone remember this??) Will it take the same here????!

Posted on: Tue, 10/01/2002 - 3:09am
Grateful's picture
Joined: 04/10/2002 - 09:00

I am not looking for a fight or for advice here. I want to hear from other people whose children are doing well in a similar school situation to my son's.
I agree completely that our children's highest risk of a life-threatening reaction comes from ingestion. This is why I actually like having my son in a non-peanut-free school. He automatically knows that wherever he is (except at home) he can only eat what we specifically say is okay for him to eat, which at school is food brought from home and hot lunches without the dessert. My son never eats anything that doesn't have our approval (last year, a teacher gave him and the rest of the class a candy bar that was full of peanuts, told them they could eat them instead of their regular snack if they wanted and despite this, my son saved it and brought it home to ask me first. He would have refused it outright except that he knew this teacher had been told about his allergy and he hoped it was safe since she gave it to him.) He is also super at turning down friends who offer him candy, etc. All of this practice is what will probably save his life when he is older and more likely to be rebellious or careless. He knows his allergy is ultimately his responsibility and he has great confidence in his ability to keep himself safe, which NEVER includes him deciding whether an offered food is safe for him to eat!
I would still love to hear from more parents who are having good experiences with non-peanut-free schools and/or classes.

Posted on: Tue, 10/01/2002 - 7:24am
EmilysMom's picture
Joined: 09/03/2002 - 09:00

You are so right on! Emily already knows (at barely turned 4) not to eat anything unless it is provided by me.
I don't want Em to have a false sense of security. My gut reaction is to DEMAND that there are no peanuts in her school. You have no clue how badly I want a totally peanut free school. Personally, I don't think that is feasible for us. How do I teach Emily to avoid peanut outside of school, if I don't teach her to avoid them in?
I, like you Grateful, do not want to start a fight. It just helps to see that there are other parents with a similar approach.

Posted on: Tue, 10/01/2002 - 10:24am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Our preschool is trying to go/be peanut free, and interrestingly, it concerns me for the very reasons you two raise. I have been training her to simply always eat the food we bring to any home, restaurant, even Grandma and Grandpa. Anything beyond that goes through me or dh if there is a *very* trusted friend I put in charge(a few know some safe alternatives to offer her). She is still very little at barely 3, but getting it, and saying out loud her allergies, and pretending to check labels, etc...
Her preschool teacher is trying to make everything be as the same as it can be for her, and it actually makes our training as parents harder! By trying to make typically unsafe experiences(playing with chocolate) safe for her there, I fear she will be confused and think that chocolate is now a generally safe thing. Just one example.
So, I would be happy in a very aware school, but not need a total ban. Though our school is saying they are peanut free, they are still doing things with may contain type items or unsafe manufacturers, and we go through it every time there is food around specifics for my child. People can send in baked goods, but my dd will not have them. We do have her stuff there for that. So I really still try to function here as if it were not a nut free school, since it is really not nearly perfected yet! They are private and trying this all on their own out of concern for several allergic children, not at the demands of any parent, so I am flexible and helpful, not demanding of them. It is stressful, but I do think it is the best long term way for my child to learn to manage her own allergies. That said, I would love it if a school were peanut free anyway, or the world, but I can adapt for now either way, understand? Becca
[This message has been edited by becca (edited October 01, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 10/02/2002 - 4:03am
Grateful's picture
Joined: 04/10/2002 - 09:00

Thank you EmilysMom and becca!
Emilysmom - I think I do know how badly you want a peanut-free school. I wanted the same when my son started preschool at barely 3 years old and had never even been with a babysitter! The preschool teacher said it would be unfair to tell the other parents they could not send peanut/peanut butter snacks. I had already checked out another preschool where the teacher scared me to death allergy-wise and since this one was where my son's beloved cousin was going there really weren't other options. We worked out that my son would only eat and drink whatever came out of the "red bag" from home, would sit at one end of the long snack table with children on either side who didn't have a peanut snack, would be monitored by the aide during the entire snack (in other words, she stood behind his chair and watched him like a hawk!), and we provided wipes for all the kids to use after snack. He never had a problem and those 2 years of practice and such careful supervision really taught him how to deal with his allergy at school. Which was a good thing, because his kindergarten teacher was not as careful as I would have liked. (He drinks whatever the other kids drink now, as long as it is not chocolatey or a milkshake kind of thing - we just thought it was less confusing at first to have EVERYTHING that went into his mouth come from home!)
becca - I know what you mean about treating the school as if it were non-peanut-free because even if my son's school were peanut-free I would never trust the other parents to send or make food that was safe for my son - I would still send all his food to school! Even when parents have called me to find out what they can send for parties, etc. that my son can have, I always explain to them that no matter what they send he will only eat what I send because I don't want him wondering why some of his friends bring safe stuff and others don't. When we assume nothing's safe, it's not an issue. I know exactly what you mean about the chocolate situation and teachers wanting so badly for the kids to all eat the same thing. That really bothered my son's preschool and kindergarten teachers and it was hard to get them to understand how important it was for him to learn that having different food was going to be his norm. (I think it helped so much starting the different food thing around his friends when he was so young.) Luckily, the 1st grade teacher isn't pushing food sameness! And wouldn't a peanut-free world be the greatest? But as long as the world is full of peanuts, I want my son to learn to deal with it now while there are caring adults around to help him with that learning process! I would imagine that as he gets older, the teachers' attitudes will shift more and more toward the thinking that he should be able to keep himself safe. I already know he will be ready and that is the best feeling of all!
[This message has been edited by Grateful (edited October 02, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 10/02/2002 - 4:50am
Kim M's picture
Joined: 06/09/2001 - 09:00

This is a very interesting topic for me as I am trying to find a preschool for my 4 yo DD. I found one that was not peanut free, but was very aware of the allergy, had been trained in using epipens, were totally willing to work with me on structuring a plan to keep her safe. Their snacks were peanut free and they would make copies of the labels for me to review. They already had a peanut free table, but I was planning to pick her up before lunch so she would have no exposure to peanuts at all. My husband, however, is so nervous about her allergy that he insists that she only attend a school that is peanut free. So I found one that was nut free and visited them yesterday.
I felt much less comfortable with them than the school that was not nut free. This was a cooperative school, which means that parents were responsible for the snacks. They are told not to bring things with nuts, but there is no education about label reading, may contains, etc. They have no experience with a peanut allergic child and have never even had to keep an epipen on the premises, much less had training. So I felt that this school that was nut free was much less safe for my child. I wish I could convince my husband that it is possible to have a safe environment without having it be totally nut free. He seems to be unusual compared to comments I have read here about other husbands/fathers, who for the most part are less neurotic than the mothers. He is WAY more neurotic than me and would, in fact, love to see me home school. Bottom line, it all depends on the school's attitude and their willingness to work with you. "Nut free" or "not nut free" is not the only question we need to ask.

Posted on: Wed, 10/02/2002 - 6:16am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Kim you made me think of another concern of mine. My school is saying peanut free, but not fully aware entirely of all the risky foods out there yet. I think, regardless of peanut free or nut, cleanlimess, and organization are key. I observed a risky situation at our school as they snacked after the first field trip. No siblings were supposed to go , but a few babies did(barely toddling). One toddled so close to dd and tried to put her donut hole snack to my dd's lips. I have not discussed this with the staff, but I should. I have had to discuss another mistake and just do not want to be too overbearing as long as she was okay. She would not have had it, and it was an egg risk, not a nut risk in this case(not as severe a thing for us). Just a good example for the school, though, on how easily accidents happen. I may mention it for the next field trip or something.
I am digressing about the situation, but the point is being structured and organized whatever the plan is to protect the child. I htink a school *can* become overly confident believing they have a safe environment and drop their guard. I do know the teacher is quite anxious and allergy aware from having a child with severe food issues as well, just a little bit of a disorganized sort! Becca

Posted on: Fri, 11/15/2002 - 11:51am
Sue's picture
Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

bumping up

Posted on: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 11:22am
melissa's picture
Joined: 07/05/2004 - 09:00

I'm hoping some of you involved in this thread are still around (Becca, I know you are and always enjoy your input)...this was a really good thread that I stumbled upon...I'm trying to pick a preschool for DS and struggling w/ my thoughts.
So, here are some questions if you're still here...
You stated your child doesn't eat any thing that does not come from home or has not been approved by you and turns down those who would offer say a candy bar...at what age do you think you could reliably count on him to do that?
You stated if the snack at school in pn free, your child eats it; if not, you provide the closest thing to it...can you give me some more details on how you do this? Do you check the snacks daily, or just send in a safe snack box?
Did/do you use the "lunchbox rule" where if it doesn't come from her lunchbox she doesn't eat it? If so, how would you feel about combining this "rule" w/ still asking that no peanut products are sent for snack? (asking for a 3 yr old entering preschool)
Thanks all,



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