Lesson Learned on Comfort Levels - A caution

Posted on: Thu, 08/23/2001 - 10:02pm
LaurensMom's picture
Joined: 05/23/2001 - 09:00

I have a very dear neighbor who informed me after Lauren's last reaction that her house was safe for Lauren to visit for unattended play dates with her daughter. Seh assured me all would be fine. She told me she has 2 other friends with PA children and is very aware of PA issues. We have spoken many times and she does seem to understand the severity.

Well, this neighbor had a birthday party for two of her children on Sat. We attended, as did two other sets PA parents. I found it comforting to meet these people as I have never actually met in person any other PA parents. I started thinking to myself that if we knew more PA parents, letting Lauren out of my sight for a play date or with a babysitter would be easier if it was with someone PA knowledgable.

Well, after talking with these other parents, I realized that that will not happen without very serious investigation into the comfort levels at the house where she would be visiting. The parents were PA aware but their comfort levels were much lower than ours.

We brought homemade cupcakes (using PN free ingredients) to the birthday party (a normal process for us) ... enough for all the invited children. The other PA parents did not question the cupcakes when we told them they were safe. Honestly, I'm not sure it would have occurred to me either considering they were made by a PA parent. Now I know better. One of the parents gave their child the option between the cupcakes and the served ice cream cake. The other parent mentioned how she allows her children to have c-chip cookies from the local supermarket bakery. These are things we would *never* allow Lauren to have.

I'm not criticizing the judgement of these parents. I am saying that I learned to not blindly trust the 'OK' from another PA parent. Maybe this was obvious to others, but it wasn't to me.

My daughter will not have unsupervised visit at my neighbor's house, as well intentioned as she is, because her understanding of PA is based on the other PA parents and their comfort levels. At least she won't until I can teach my neighbor about my comfort levels.

Posted on: Thu, 08/23/2001 - 11:45pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I know what you mean. When I first met my neighbor, she told me her older son had been peanut allergic when he was younger, but grew out of it. I was elated to meet someone who "understood."
Since then, I have found out that her kids eat pb&j all the time in her house, and she keeps inviting my son to come over alone! So she really doesn't "get it" after all.
I have continued to maintain a very good friendship with her, and often have her daughter over my house (her and Tucker are the same age). But I will never trust Tucker to go to her house alone, since her "comfort level" is very different from mine.

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2001 - 12:58am
Georgia Mom's picture
Joined: 08/08/2001 - 09:00

Tucker's Mom - How do you handle saying no when your neighbor asks your son to come over alone? My son is only a year old so this is not a problem for us yet. However, there are several children on our street around his age so this will become a problem in the next few years. I want to try and make our house the most fun place to be in the neighborhood so all of the kids will want to play at our house. I do not feel comfortable letting my son go to a neighbor's house without me until he is MUCH older.

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2001 - 2:14am
AlwaysAvoidAnaphylaxis's picture
Joined: 06/23/2001 - 09:00

Excellent point!!! Thanks! I agree completely with that. If parents were concerned enough (and had internet access), they would be on this "peanut line" as my DH calls it. "are you on the peanutline again?"

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2001 - 2:22am
barb1123's picture
Joined: 04/08/2000 - 09:00

We live on a small cul de sac (12 houses). I have gotten to know the other parents very well. All the kids here are around 1-3 years old (except for one 5 year old). Every day they are playing together outside and in an out of each others' houses.
All of the neighbors are very well educated about Ronan's allergies (he has multiple severe food and environmental allergies as well as asthma and eczema). They know that he can only have food items that I have already approved (basically plain potato chips, plain french fries, veg, some fruit, etc.) They ALWAYS check with me before giving him anything.
If a child is eating anything dangerous (such as ice cream, yoghurt) outside the parent keeps them away from Ronan. If any spills they wash it down with a bucket of water. This was a particular problem with one child whose mother I was wasn't getting along with. He would come into our yard with this big ice cream cones and spill them everywhere. I would chase him out and then rant outloud about parents trying to kill my kid. They got the message and only sent their child out with popsicles from then on.
No one would ever send peanuts out. This was of particular concern at Halloween as people in Ireland give out peanuts (among other things).
All the neighbors know that Ronan can die from him allergies. They have all seen him have reactions (none very serious, thank the powers that be). I even trust a couple of my neighbors to babysit for a couple of hours. I carry a mobile phone and check in frequently.
Ronan will have contact reactions over his friends' houses (e.g. old milk spilt on a toy). He's also very sensitive to strong cleaning agents. However, any neighbor who babysits has a list of possible reactions, what to do, in what order and know how to administer medications. And they never give their kids anything that would harm Ronan while they are watching him. Even the other kids in the neighborhood know that some things make Ronan sick and they need to keep them away from him.
This was very important to me as I have no family here and my husband is frequently away. I was literally housebound for the first 2 years of his life. At 2 1/2 I finally left him with a trusted neighbor so I could go to the gym for an hour 2x a week. It has made the world of difference.
Yes, he can have reactions (hives, scratching) from cross-contamination but I think it is worth my son being able to socialize and be "normal". My neighbors are as careful as possible. I'm always available. My son would go nuts if he couldn't play with his friends.

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