Families with nut allergic child, could you look at this school situation for me please - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 02:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK so DD attends a school with a nut ban, the school have several children with nut allergies so I understand it's a way to help keep those children safe at school and I'm very careful in what I send in for lunch.

 

However DD is allergic to milk, and has almond milk instead. Not usually a problem, we just don't use it in things for her lunch box. However in a couple of weeks she is off to school camp, and I would like to be able to send her with the almond milk for cereal etc. We haven't found any other alternatives that DD is willing to drink.

 

The issue is one of the children in her class (lets say child A) has a sibling  with a nut allergy and therefore A is not allowed nuts. This is making the teacher concerned about the almond milk, I think she is planning to speek to the other family but so far all I have heard is that Almond milk will be a problem.

 

Obviously I don't want to put another child at risk but since A will not be drinking the milk themselves is it really a problem? OK maybe we need to make sure A and DD are not sat together in case of spills but wouldn't that be enough?

 

If you were the other family what would you need to happen for you to feel comfortable with the situation?

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#2 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 05:33 AM
 
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I have two adult sons with multiple life-threatening food allergies, and our entire family is extremely vigilant about food intake.  I would never, ever raise this concern with a teacher if I were the parent of child A and the allergic sibling.  If child A goes to any other public venue, there's also possible allergen exposure.  I believe if this is a concern for the family, it needs to be addressed by things such as changes of clothes, scrupulous cleaning up, etc., for child A and any others who come in contact with the allergic family member.  Do the parents require a nut ban at their workplace?

 

I'm sorry, I guess I let this get me a bit torqued.  Full disclosure, I believe that nut bans are dangerous because they provide a false sense of security.

 

It's a tough issue to raise with a teacher who's trying to be conscientious, but I strongly dispute any benefit of such a policy.
 


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#3 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, it did seem bit odd to me, but I'm not dealing with life threatening allergies so I know my perspective may different.

 

I'm not sure yet if this info has come from the family themselves, or DDs teacher. I've handed DDs health info sheet in this morning so hopefully we can reach a situation where everyone is comfortable but didn't want to push it if it was going to cause big problems for another family.

 

Also hoping we can find out what other food options there are for her, as it seems to be to have a lot of cheese!  I think since I mentioned sending almond milk they are not keen on me sending food :-(

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#4 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 07:44 AM
 
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There's also an allergy subforum here on MDC, or there used to be (I can't find it!) -- the moms there might have other helpful perspectives or ideas.
 

Hah!  Found it:  http://www.mothering.com/community/f/307/allergies


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#5 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 12:48 PM
 
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If school policy covers school camp I would think this would end there. No nuts at school, none at school camp.

 

That said, I agree that nut bans create a false security for everyone and complacency is a bigger danger. I would much prefer vigilance in protecting my kid also with life threatening food allergies over saying "they aren't allowed" and expecting people to follow through. 

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#6 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 09:49 PM
 
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How old is your DD?  I think with little kids the bans are necessary.  However older kids are more careful and know what to avoid.  My DS1 is allergic to nuts.  As far as I know his middle school doesn't have any rules.  He's on his own.  Although he's so vigilant I don't really worry. The elementary schools here usually will issue a ban if there are allergic kids in the class, but not middle or high school.


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#7 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 8,  she's been pretty good about asking about foods and reading lables. We've only been doing this for a couple of months, but it's been quite difficult for her so I'm just trying to make sure that she has some familiar foods, that I know she will eat while she is away.

 

As to the nut ban extending to camp, I felt most of the ideas was stopping smears of peanut butter getting on the school furniture, not really an issue for camp. FWIW the camp venue does not have a nut ban the rest off the time.

 

Again I would feel differently if the allergic child was there at camp too.

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#8 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 04:26 AM
 
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You said you are't dealing with life threatening allergies. I think it really is a different game when you are. The other parents *may* prefer no nuts for all the kids. It may make sense to them depending on the severity and contact reactivity of the kids with the allergy. One never knows. Then again, you may hear from them and it will be a non issue.

 

I suspect the schools rules are expected to be followed at school (ie dress code, conduct code) so it may be that school rules do transfer to the camp when your school is there. Nut bans at school may be to decrease "smeared" peanut butter but there are plenty of kids with nut allergies that react via airborne issues so it may not be as it seems.

 

Can you work with her to get her using another alternative? Think of packing a different breakfast for her incase the ban is in effect at the school? It's always good to have a back up plan!

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#9 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 09:46 AM
 
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Am I understanding correctly that the child with the allergy will not be at camp? Just the allergic child's sibling (who is not allergic but isn't allowed to consume nuts) will be there? It seems awfully extreme to me to not allow a child to have almond milk near the *sibling* of an allergic child, especially at camp where the kids will presumably be showering before heading home.

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#10 of 26 Old 03-09-2013, 12:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Limabean, yes, the sibling will be there but not as far as I'm aware a child with a nut allergy.

 

I feel there is probably more than meets the eye to the situation.

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#11 of 26 Old 03-09-2013, 08:30 AM
 
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Well, I sort of doubt they will change an existing nut ban to allow almond milk. Whether it is a true risk to the (sibling??) is probably beside the point. It might be liability as much as anything else for the school.

At any rate, why not just work on alternatives for her? My son's don't eat milk on their cereal--nut safe granola might be alternative. Can she have rice milk? Perhaps she could have some sunbutter or similar for protein at that meal if that's the issue? I'm assuming you have refrigeration for her foods if you would be sending almond milk, right?

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#12 of 26 Old 03-09-2013, 08:55 AM
 
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I'm more curious about your daughter's allergy/intolerance. You said she's only been doing this (avoiding dairy) for a couple months. Is she ready to be continuing her diet without help? It is not something her teachers or chaperones can really be responsible for maintaining.
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#13 of 26 Old 03-09-2013, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been surprised how she's handled the change of diet, asking before eating foods, reading labels and so on. I'm sure we've had some mistakes along the way as she's been to friends houses and to a couple of parties during the last few weeks. My thinking right now is that even if we don't manage to stick to it 100% cutting out the obvious dairy does seem to be helping and while she has had tummy pains they do not seem to have been as frequent (one a week vs several times a day)

 

She had problems with cows milk when we first tried yoghurt, and would be sick with 1/2 hour or so. As a result we kept her off cows milk till she was around 3. At that point she started eating it with no noticeable issues and we thought all way well, we did an allergy test and the result was negative. However some time later she started complaining of tummy pains frequently and the doctors suggested constipation and gave her lactulose. Within a couple of weeks of taking that she stopped complaining of the pains and started eating well and putting on weight. However over the last year or so things have got worse, and she has wanted to start investigating, hence finally starting this trial.

 

It feels liker her pain is related to food, as it comes on soon after meals.Certainly it's an association she makes and that in itself makes her very wary of trying new foods. It has taken quite a lot of talking for her to want to do this and she is now talking about a gluten free trial soon, fortunately not till after school camp!

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#14 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 05:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaughingHyena View Post

Limabean, yes, the sibling will be there but not as far as I'm aware a child with a nut allergy.

 

I feel there is probably more than meets the eye to the situation.

If the sibling isn't in her class, and won't be at camp, I don't see how this should affect your daughter.  School should be concerned about the students in the building and accommodating and protecting them as best they can.  Extending restrictions for someone who isn't even in the class is ridiculous.  

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#15 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 06:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post Extending restrictions for someone who isn't even in the class is ridiculous.  

 

 

I think it is more of, does the school rewrite all the rules when they are not in the building? I would think for them that it would be easiest to have school rules cover all outings. Not that there couldn't be changes made but i would think the blanket policy would be easiest.

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#16 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just a quick update, got word today that the almond milk is not going to be a problem.

 

DD had a chat with her teacher about which foods on the current menu she would prefer and the venue are going to check the ingredients of those specific dishes. If they don't work out then they'll get back to us with other options.

 

While I would have preferred to have this discussion some weeks ago, as camp is next week, I'm glad we seem to have reached a result everyone is happy with.

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#17 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 11:32 AM
 
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I wish both you and your daughter well!! I hope she manages her food choices wisely and has a good time!
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#18 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 11:53 AM
 
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#19 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 11:58 AM
 
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I don't think tree nuts pose a problem. I'm not sure where you are, but in Ontario schools the alternative to peanut butter is actually almond butter. 

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#20 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 12:10 PM
 
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I don't think tree nuts pose a problem. I'm not sure where you are, but in Ontario schools the alternative to peanut butter is actually almond butter. 

Peanut allergies are older, but tree nut allergies have been documented, too, now.
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#21 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 12:44 PM
 
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I don't think tree nuts pose a problem.

 

My spouse, who was born in 1965, is allergic to tree nuts, with Brazil nuts, cashews and walnuts being the biggest offenders (weirdly, tho, he can eat pecans). He doesn't have to go to the ER or anything, but they make the inside of his mouth sore and swollen.

So tree nut allergies have definitely been around for a while...

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#22 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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I don't think tree nuts pose a problem.

 

My spouse, who was born in 1965, is allergic to tree nuts, with Brazil nuts, cashews and walnuts being the biggest offenders (weirdly, tho, he can eat pecans). He doesn't have to go to the ER or anything, but they make the inside of his mouth sore and swollen.

So tree nut allergies have definitely been around for a while...

 

Sorry, I didn't word that correctly, I meant that tree nuts don't inherently pose the same problem to kids allergic to peanuts, as peanuts do... So if there is a child with a peanut allergy, it doesn't necessarily mean that almonds are also banned. 

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#23 of 26 Old 03-12-2013, 04:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

I don't think tree nuts pose a problem. I'm not sure where you are, but in Ontario schools the alternative to peanut butter is actually almond butter.

I did check with the school when we started whether the ban was peanuts only or included tree nuts as I know they are not always the same. Anyway our ban definitely extends to tree nuts and apparently coconuts which I though were not nuts..

 

I'm over in the UK, I've never seen almond butter I'll have to keep an eye out. I love Almonds.

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#24 of 26 Old 03-12-2013, 05:42 PM
 
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I have never heard of a coconut allergy being common enough to ban it from schools!
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#25 of 26 Old 03-12-2013, 06:08 PM
 
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I have a close friend with a super severe coconut allergy. It's even extended to coconut flavorings and milk used in soaps and whatnot. It's quite crazy.
My HS had a nut ban because there were a few students that had extreme contact reactions, but at the same time they sold candy bars and peanut butter candy in the school store. It always baffled me how a school with over 3000 kids not counting staff, and teachers could have a nut ban but still sell items that include it.

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#26 of 26 Old 03-12-2013, 07:22 PM
 
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I have never heard of a coconut allergy being common enough to ban it from schools!

According to the FDA a coconut is a nut and coconut products must be labeled as containing nuts. They ARE NOT nuts. They dont even cross react with nuts.  Its all very confusing. My DS outgrew his coconut allergy so we learned that it does cross react with palm oil/fruit. 

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