or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › I don't want to be "that mom" but...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

I don't want to be "that mom" but...

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

I learned something common in the kindergarten class my dd will start next year, and it really grosses me out. To many (most?) it sounds like a small thing, so I don't want to be an annoying, nitpicky mom.. but.. its nasty to me! Before snack (or lunch, for full day, but dd will be in half day) since it takes too long for everyone to wash their hands in the one sink, they have everyone wipe their hands with baby wipes. Chemically laden, scented baby wipes.. all over her hands.. which will immediately be holding her snack, which will go in her mouth. May as well suck on a wipe. My mind keeps going back to the time that I ate a pretzel out of the bag that was in the church nursery. It tasted coated in chemicals. The teacher always sanitized her hands before reaching into the bag. I'm not a germophobe *at all*. As long as her hands aren't coated in paint, blatant dirt, etc, I really don't care whether she washes her hands before eating or not. But I definitely don't want her transferring baby wipe chemicals to her hands, then to her snack, then to her mouth. Every student is supposed to bring in 10 packs of wipes at the beginning of the year for the class to use. You can bet that most students are going to be bringing the cheapest possible, aka nastiest. Not 7th generation or other more natural variety. Is there a way I can bring that up with the teacher without sounding like a high maintenance PITA? 

post #2 of 44

Tell her your child has sensitive skin and does best with particular products. Then bring in your own for her. 

post #3 of 44

I'd check with the teacher and let her know that your DD can manage washing herself and you'd rather avoid the baby wipes ("sensitive skin" is a good excuse, nice!). It's probably not possible for the teacher to supervise an entire kindergarten class at the sink. However, if your DD is independent, she can probably wash her hands herself at the sink and just let the teacher know she doesn't need a baby wipe. Unless the students are forbidden to use the sink, she shouldn't have any problem.

 

Most kindie-age children should be able to wash their hands but there are lots of kindergarten children who can't manage simple activities of daily living like washing and dressing themselves.

 

I understand the teacher's dilemma. I recall helping out on an outdoor education field trip once. They spent the morning hiking through a swampy marsh and dredging up pond life. I took the girls to the bathroom to clean up before lunch. For some reason, only one sink was available. The first smartypants in line loudly proclaimed that it was necessary to sing the entire "Happy Birthday" song while handwashing to ensure clean hands (a fairly well-known campaign promoted by public health advocates). Of course, every kid had to follow suit. Lunch was almost over by the time we got out of there! 

post #4 of 44

Yuck.

 

AND the trash created by that endeavor.  I suppose no worse than the mountain of paper towels used to dry their hands by normal washing, but...

 

Maybe you could send a wet washcloth in a ziplock baggie for her each day.  She can take it out and use it, then put it back in and bring it home for washing?

 

Maybe you could suggest that all the children bring in 3 washcloths at the beginning of the year, and you'd be happy to pick them up every other day for washing? (Just to keep the burden off the teacher?)  How long would it take for the teacher to throw all the washcloths in a bucket of lightly soaped water and pass those out instead? 

 

I dunno.  Blech.

 

I hope you can at least get your dd out of it.

post #5 of 44
Thread Starter 

I like the "bring wash cloths" instead of wipes idea! I do plan to take advantage of as much volunteering in the class as I can so my helpfulness will counteract any annoying nitpicking I do :) Maybe if I provide a clean, new trash can with a brand new PUL liner for the classroom, that will help. Then maybe they can have every student bring *1* pack of baby wash cloths (those cost, what, $5 or less at target?) instead of 10 packages of wipes. It'll save everyone money! If she doesn't go for it I'll just send dd with one every day.. 

post #6 of 44

Wow. Nevermind the chemical and enviro concerns, 10 packs of wipes is expensive. I can't imagine you are the only parent concerned about this. Is this the first year they will be doing this?  How does wiping your hands on a disposable wipe kill germs (I am not a germaphobe either and don't have my boys wash their hands before eating unless they are dirty *with dirt*)? I can't see how this is ok with the health department. Can they rotate snack times? or figure something else out so the children are actually washing their hands? I really think you should talk to the teacher about this.

post #7 of 44
Thread Starter 

This seems like its a well established routine! They had a parents information night and they went over a few of the supplies parents will be asked to bring, and thats how they explained why we'd need to bring the wipes! The preschool my dd went to has the kids wash their hands before snack and lunch. There's 13 4-5yos (and in the other class, 3-4yos) to one sink, and they manage. Course, there's 20+ 5-6yos to one sink, which is different, but I wonder if they couldn't just send half into the bathroom (literally steps outside the classroom door) to wash there. That shouldn't take long. I'm surprised how many people are totally cool with a non-edible substance coating their hands, being unable to rinse their hands with water to remove it, then eating a finger-food immediately after..? 

post #8 of 44

You will be able to find some medical authority (AMA, AAP; I've read it but don't have the reference handy) who states that hand sanitizer/wipes are not a substitute for washing hands and that there is a "healthy" limit as to their use.
 

I'm not sure of the best way to say it but "complaints" about problems like this are better made with a solution ready smile.gif. I'd just ask about the other close by restroom. I think it's unlikely the school has overlooked it as a solution to the problem. The reason they don't use it like that may be due to a law or regulation about direct supervision of the Kindergarteners.


Edited by Emmeline II - 6/12/12 at 6:23am
post #9 of 44

Bah. 25 kids washing their hands takes about five hours. I understand that the school thinks they are at least doing something. I really like the wet washcloth idea and probably will use that next year. I dislike the idea of wipes less than daily antibacterial junk. But seriously, what research supports the idea that a baby wipe somehow cleans hands?

post #10 of 44

I mean this in the most polite way possible but I don't think it's ok to insist your child is above using the wipes with all the other kids unless there is a legitimate medical concern (not just claiming she has sensitive skin). I also think it's over the top to make the teacher deal with two sets of wipes. 

 

I do like the washcloth idea but as a parent I wouldn't really be comfortable with my child wiping his hands before eating with something that was washed in a regular home washing machine that just washed someone's dirty underwear unless lots of bleach was used which kind of defeats the purpose.

 

If you have an email list of other parents maybe ask that they each send in maybe $10 (what 10 cheap packs of wipes would cost) and you'll use it to purchase more natural wipes in bulk. Assuming perhaps 22 kids that's $220. You could buy plenty of natural wipes. I'm assuming each parent would bring the cheapest, smallest pack of 60-80 wipes. For that number of kids you would need approximately 4000 wipes. Buying 4000 seventh generation free and clear wipes off amazon would come to just $120. That's $5.45 each. Bring it up to $10 each and there will be plenty of extras to wipes down desks or whatever. If you can't get ahold of other parents see about returning the wipes that are brought in to walmart or another store and you can use that money for things you would buy anyway then buy the wipes online at a discount.

post #11 of 44
Quote:
I'm surprised how many people are totally cool with a non-edible substance coating their hands, being unable to rinse their hands with water to remove it, then eating a finger-food immediately after..? 

 

 

 

don't these children go to the bathroom prior to snack? that's what happens at most places I know - preschool and Kindy- most places have more than one sink- ask why they are doing this in the classroom and not first using the public restrooms---and what is that procedure- at that age children should be in there with a teacher or aid (as in all the class go at the same time) and should be having them really wash their hands there

 

I would object and put it in writing - nothing will change until others see a reason! State it as it is- medical you don't wont those chemicals on your child and if she is subjected to them you will hold them liable in the even of a reaction- this should not be news to a school- they have to deal with other children and other allergies all the time. State the need for proper washing and if you don't know about the bathroom breaks ask how that is done too.

 

if they will not use the restroom prior- send a cloth and say you will not send in wipe supplies but will send in other items

post #12 of 44

I think a kid covering their hands with chemicals IS a legitimate medical concern! Just not widely publicized or recognized yet. The fact is that we are *all* allergic to those chemicals b/c some of them are carcinogens. When my daughter was in school, they did wash hands in the bathroom, but the soap was so cheap and stinky she'd come home smelling like it. So I sent her with a natural antibacterial spray and told her to use that and water only. For me it wasn't just a matter of scented products containing carcinogens but also the fact that I do react to them with headaches etc.

 

That being said, I think your solution is the best yet regarding natural wipes! If the concerned mother offers to handle it all I'm sure it would go over well. Green cleaning is quite the fashionable trend now-a-days ;)

post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

I mean this in the most polite way possible but I don't think it's ok to insist your child is above using the wipes with all the other kids unless there is a legitimate medical concern (not just claiming she has sensitive skin). I also think it's over the top to make the teacher deal with two sets of wipes. 

 

I have taught in a kindergarten classroom and I can't see how this would be any extra work for the teacher. The parents sends the child with the wipe in a baggie, the child puts it away in a designated spot, gets her own wipe at snack time and then returns it to the spot in the baggie until the end of the class. This is not an unreasonable responsibility for a kindergartner and does not need to involve the teacher on a day to day basis. 

post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by pammysue View Post

 

I have taught in a kindergarten classroom and I can't see how this would be any extra work for the teacher. The parents sends the child with the wipe in a baggie, the child puts it away in a designated spot, gets her own wipe at snack time and then returns it to the spot in the baggie until the end of the class. This is not an unreasonable responsibility for a kindergartner and does not need to involve the teacher on a day to day basis. 

 

I get what you're saying but in my opinion teachers have enough to deal with besides reminding a child to go get their special wipe. What happens when they forget? What about when another child decides to play with it and gets it dirty before the op's child can use it? Does the teacher or someone else have to escort the child to the bathroom for proper hand washing? Do they make the child use the mainstream wipes then have to deal with an upset parent? How about sending in a different brand of wipes? What about the other kids who whine about not getting to use the special wipes? or pester the child with the special wipes to share? or take them without asking, leaving the op to buy more? or exclude the child with the special wipes from their play when the teacher wouldn't allow sharing, necessitating intervention from the teacher? How about making the teacher monitor the supply of the special wipes and send home a note when they're low?

 

Maybe in a private school where teachers are well paid and you're paying an arm and a leg to send your child there and the teacher is not overworked and there are fairly small classes with aides in the rooms at all times I could maybe see it being reasonable to ask a teacher to do all this but in a run of the mill public school I honestly don't think it's fair to expect a teacher to deal with one more thing when it doesn't involve a true allergy and the alternative (regular baby wipes) is generally thought of as perfectly safe by the vast majority of people. It's just me but I don't think it's honest to fabricate an allergy over something like this. 

 

What happens in a year or two when the parent of a child with a real allergy or skin condition meet a brick wall when trying to question the policy because the teacher and/or school is tired of parents who cause a stink over baby wipes? Things like this happen more than you think. My niece has a dairy allergy and even with a doctor's note and lab tests the school will not provide her with the free school lunch she qualifies for because they have decided they no longer have time to 'entertain' non life threatening allergies or intolerances parents claim their children have (all lunches are peanut free and she is not allowed to bring peanuts, the only affordable and shelf stable protein she can have that she likes the taste of). She's losing weight because of it but the school doesn't care. They're burnt out from dealing with parents who feel their child is sensitive to things, those parents ruined it for the kids with real allergies.

 

I'm not saying the op should not do anything but what she does should be done for the whole class to avoid headaches for the teacher.

post #15 of 44
Thread Starter 

I definitely don't feel comfortable saying anything like "sensitive skin" because you're right, "inventing" allergies as a cop-out excuse makes things difficult on the families who are genuinely struggling with an allergy. But I do think sending her with a wet wash cloth in a baggie every day should be a cinch, and should not create extra work for anyone. Kids bring their own snack from home every day. She can retrieve her wash own wash cloth from her back pack at the same time as she gets her snack. I could even be super cute and crafty and make reusable snack bags with 2 compartments. One for the snack, and one to store a wet wipe :) Then she only has to grab one thing and has an easy place to put it when she's done. 

post #16 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

 

My niece has a dairy allergy and even with a doctor's note and lab tests the school will not provide her with the free school lunch she qualifies for because they have decided they no longer have time to 'entertain' non life threatening allergies or intolerances parents claim their children have (all lunches are peanut free and she is not allowed to bring peanuts, the only affordable and shelf stable protein she can have that she likes the taste of). She's losing weight because of it but the school doesn't care. They're burnt out from dealing with parents who feel their child is sensitive to things, those parents ruined it for the kids with real allergies.

 

I'm not saying the op should not do anything but what she does should be done for the whole class to avoid headaches for the teacher.

 

I don't know about your area but ours NEVER entertained non-life threatening allergies and not because of other kids with whatever claims.... because it's too expensive for the schools. My kids are vegetarian and there are school lunch options maybe twice a month. Even if we qualified for free lunch, we would not have been catered too.  Your niece isn't being denied because of other kids... she's being denied because there are large quantities of children these days with peanut allergies and many with life threatening cases. What she's asking for is just TOO specific an issue that affects a very small minority. In school, the majority is always considered over the minority.

 

Schools really don't care about exceptions as long as it doesn't make their life harder. If you don't want your child to participate... fine, but provide your own option for them. They get upset when they have to pour out money to feed around 15 different special requests. My kids are sensitive to chemicals. It's not life threatening but it gives them rashes. I always just provided their own stuff and it was never a big deal at all. Lots of young kids do have issues with chemical laden hand sanitation. 

post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

 

I don't know about your area but ours NEVER entertained non-life threatening allergies and not because of other kids with whatever claims.... because it's too expensive for the schools. My kids are vegetarian and there are school lunch options maybe twice a month. Even if we qualified for free lunch, we would not have been catered too.  Your niece isn't being denied because of other kids... she's being denied because there are large quantities of children these days with peanut allergies and many with life threatening cases. What she's asking for is just TOO specific an issue that affects a very small minority. In school, the majority is always considered over the minority.

 

Schools really don't care about exceptions as long as it doesn't make their life harder. If you don't want your child to participate... fine, but provide your own option for them. They get upset when they have to pour out money to feed around 15 different special requests. My kids are sensitive to chemicals. It's not life threatening but it gives them rashes. I always just provided their own stuff and it was never a big deal at all. Lots of young kids do have issues with chemical laden hand sanitation. 

 

The big problem for this is that my sister's family doesn't have a lot of money so they qualify for free lunches. The lunches are peanut free but frequently use cheese to save on meat costs and they require kids to take milk to drink. Some days all she can eat out of her school lunch (even the meat sometimes had dairy fillers) is an old mealy apple so she needs to bring lunch. Making lunches costs money. She isn't allowed to bring peanuts or tree nuts, she doesn't like sunflower butter, soy butter, hummus, or any other spread like that. She can't use dairy as an inexpensive source of protein. That leaves eggs (which she doesn't care for), tofu and soy milk (doesn't like), beans (she takes these sometimes but she ends up with intestinal issues if she has more than a little), and whole grain. They're occasionally able to get some meat on sale and try and leave enough leftovers 

 

You said "In school, the majority is always considered over the minority".

That's sure is not the case when it comes to peanut alleges. She can't take any nuts to school because there is one child in different classes out of a school of 450 children. All school lunches are peanut/tree nut free and non allergic students are not allowed to bring any kind of nuts to school. At her school the one nut allergic minority is considered over everyone, including the one dairy allergic minority.

 

Your vegetarian children do not have a medical need to eat a meat free diet. My niece does have a medical need to eat a dairy free diet. The school should give children's allergies equal billing. If the kid with the nut allergy gets a nut free lunch provided to them then the kid with the dairy allergy should get one too, that's only fair. 

post #18 of 44

What's the rationale for this, OP? Baby wipes don't kill germs, so this really doesn't accomplish anything, unless the children's hands were visibly dirty prior to snack.

post #19 of 44

Are they also going to pee in buckets they bring from home because there aren't enough toilets either? 

 

I would e-mail the teacher telling her you are concerned about the lack of hygeine and cc a copy to the principal.  I work in childcare and when the nurse from the health department came out she told us we needed to wash the kids hands with soap and water before and after meals even if the meal consisted only of a bottle.  I don't see how that can possibly fly in grade school where they should have multiple sinks for a large number of students.  If they truly don't have adequate facilities I would go to the district and complain.  I believe there is a requirement for the number of toilets and sinks you have to offer based on how many people use your facility but I am not for sure on that.

post #20 of 44

 Quote:

Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post If they truly don't have adequate facilities I would go to the district and complain.  I believe there is a requirement for the number of toilets and sinks you have to offer based on how many people use your facility but I am not for sure on that.

 

Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms often have an in-class bathroom w/sink in addition to the larger hallway bathrooms (I assume this is due to the frequency young ones may need to use the toilet, have toileting issues, and need closer supervision). The public elementary schools in my area also have a second sink outside the bathroom.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at School
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › I don't want to be "that mom" but...