how to keep food allergic child safe at school? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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do you have any tips on how to keep a food allergic child safe in a Montessori classroom?

The kids all bring their lunches from home, so I know the food I send is safe.
Snack is an activity that they choose to do on their own time line. When they complete their snack, they wash their dishes. I may resort to sending in our own snack, but how do I protect my dd from the snack the rest of the kids are eating, allergens in the dish water and on the other kids hands and the table?

Anyone have experience with this?
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#2 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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I do!

My son has Celiac disease, so not anaphylactic. We make sure that EVERYONE knows about his needs. We explained in great detail about cross-contamination and hidden sources of gluten and wheat. We also send in his own crackers for snack, but mostly the snacks that are provided are safe--fresh fruit, cheese, etc.

We also keep in touch with his teachers if we notice that he might have gotten gluten at some point. Asher is 8 now, so there's his participation in avoiding foods as well, which is a really good learning opportunity for him. The only thing that has snuck up on us were things like papier maiche and things like that.

Hope this helps!
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#3 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by onlyboys View Post
I do!

My son has Celiac disease, so not anaphylactic. We make sure that EVERYONE knows about his needs. We explained in great detail about cross-contamination and hidden sources of gluten and wheat. We also send in his own crackers for snack, but mostly the snacks that are provided are safe--fresh fruit, cheese, etc.

We also keep in touch with his teachers if we notice that he might have gotten gluten at some point. Asher is 8 now, so there's his participation in avoiding foods as well, which is a really good learning opportunity for him. The only thing that has snuck up on us were things like papier maiche and things like that.

Hope this helps!

With Celiac, is skin contact an issue or just ingestion?

My dd at only 2 is well aware of her diary allergy. She has other allergies as well that are (or are in the process of being) recently diagnosed (peanuts, tree nuts, and potentially soy, and sesame seed). Those she is not as familiar with. She will tell you she is allergic to dairy. and some obvious dairy products that daddy or her sister has, she will tell you she cannot have it because it has dairy. However, there are many foods for her that are not safe that look just like the safe version, so she has to rely on teachers for that. I will probably send her own food.

In your son's class, do they do dish washing after snacks? how did you handle that? What steps have the teachers taken to avoid the cross contamination?

Thanks!
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#4 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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I think for some Celiacs the skin to skin thing doesn't bother them, but my son is only about 4 years out from consuming gluten and is still very, very sensitive. We avoid him touching things that have touched wheat.

They do washing up after snack, but we requested that he be allowed to use a paper plate for his snack and avoid the washing up. He does wipe the tables down after snack and lunch, but I don't worry too much about that. Now, if your daughter has an anaphylactic reaction to something, I would ask the teachers to even have her avoid washing up at all. She can do her practical life activity at home, perhaps. You can reinforce that work in a safe space for her.

Asher also has other true allergies--egg, oranges, pumpkin, etc--but we don't really care so much about those because it's not as serious for him as the wheat.

You're totally right that sometimes the products look OK, but they are really not at all. Yogurt is a good example of that with Ash. Some have modified food starch in them, which doesn't say "wheat" or "gluten" but it does contain it. He can read labels like a pro and knows what to look for. Although you can't use your daughter as a sentinel now, you will eventually be able to.

His teachers and even the parents and students have been so great about avoiding contaminating him. Some parents will only send gluten free snacks and two of Asher's friends refuse to bring things with gluten in them. One even claims to have Celiac too, which is cute and sweet in a way.

He's in the Lower Elementary class (6-9) but we didn't have any issue with him in the Primary (3-6) either. I think it's just awareness, education and unceasing vigilance.
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#5 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 09:15 PM
 
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My son has outgrown most of his allergies, but when he started he had a lot of them. His school is nut/peanut-free, so we didn't have to worry about the big ones. We sent a stash of snacks so when the teachers were in doubt about his allergies, they gave him one of the safe snacks.

I just asked him about the dishes, and he said they eat on regular dishes, but he doesn't know who washes them. Apparently, not the kids--probably per health code.
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#6 of 8 Old 01-07-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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In my DD's school one of the classrooms has a "Peanut Free Room" sign on the classroom door. Their lunch table has a similar sign saying "Peanut Free Area". I assume there is a child with a severe allergy in that classroom. I take the sign to mean that no-one can bring products with peanuts into the classroom or lunch table. Classes are assigned tables for lunch.
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#7 of 8 Old 01-12-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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I don't have any experience personally, but I know in my DS's classroom there are at least 3 students that can't have dairy for whatever reasons- allergy, cultural, etc (among other foods, nuts etc). They have a list on the wall of who can't have what and the teachers are completely comfortable with it. They always err on the side of caution, in all cases. No type of nut at school, ever, for anyone, period (and this kills me as DS eats so many types of nuts I'm digging in the deepest recesses of my soul to find food for him to bring for lunch....as are you for your DC, I'm sure ). I'd discuss it with the teachers. They're probably more familiar with this than you expect. If they can't handle it, maybe you should look for a different school (but surely they can).

Re: snack....I'd send my own if it were me. Let the teachers know what's required for your DC to be safe, then let them handle it. The kids in my DS's class are required to wash hands before and after snack, and they always eat at the snack table, there's no meandering etc. IME, the kids that have restrictions know what they can and can't have- even the very young ones- and are comfortable policing themselves for birthday parties etc- but the teachers are all over it anyway. My DS is in a primary class. HTH some. GL.
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#8 of 8 Old 01-12-2010, 01:38 AM
 
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BTW, if it helps you to know that parents of non-food-sensitive kids consider your (a collective your) child's needs...I would love to feed my DS a peanut butter sandwich before school every morning- and he'd love to eat it- but I don't (dry cereal and fruit it is!). I know that even if I wash his hands and face, if he has it on him even slightly and it might get all over a teacher and then your child....or just your child (since DS is very physically affectionate)....it might send your DC to the hospital or just make them feel crappy or out of sorts or grouchy or sick or whatever, so I don't. I tell him why and he understands and doesn't even ask for them anymore ("you're friends might get sick, etc, so it's better not to") and I hope that it makes him a more compassionate and grateful person. So IOW, you're not alone in being concerned for your DC's well-being . I hope it's like that at your current school.
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