Peanut Allergies and Peanut-Free Schools - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-04-2004, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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grisandole,

You've just described a huge percentage of those who are peanut allergic. This thing about this allergy is that those who have it react with moderate to severe anaphylaxsis upon even minute exposure. These children do just fine, for the most part, in peanut free classrooms/zones.

No one can prevent accidents! NO ONE! But accidents happen to all of us regardless of the most careful planning. I don't think children should be isolated from their peers just becaause an accident *could* happen. If this were so, we'd never let any of our children do anything ever! It's like saying : I'm not going to let little jenny go to the play ground every because the possibility that she might fall off the monkey bars is too great.

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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Old 02-04-2004, 08:22 PM
 
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I think it's a pretty big risk to be in a public school setting if a child is that allergic. Really. Because that's an awful lot of trust to put into so many people......What if, despite a mamas best efforts, her kid snuck some peanut butter on the way to school, and she didn't know; and didn't wash his hands.......then what?

I'm just saying that the kids should have other options, for their safety. I wouldn't send my kid to public school if they were that allergic.

And you can't have it both ways, you can's say "Everything must change for my child, it's safety, a life or death situation" and then say "well, nothings 100%, my kid shouldn't be excluded" ????

I just see potentially dying from a whiff of something produced in a facility that also processes peanuts, as a very serious allergy. And why gamble with that childs life by expsoing them to hundereds of people who may not have been careful enough?

About the "right" to an education, sure everyone has that right. But I don't see why having a teacher come to the house, where it's safe and the parent can monitor the situation, is a bad thing???

Kristi

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Old 02-04-2004, 08:30 PM
 
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A tutor for the child would be wonderful, in a perfect world. But what if the parent can't stay home, or what if the child doesn't want to be homeschooled?? I see your reasoning in this, and I even agree with you a little. If that is what works for a family, then fine. But its not fair for everyone.
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Old 02-04-2004, 08:36 PM
 
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Well, a teacher isn't the same as homeschool. And just because the child doesn't want it, doesn't mean they should go to a potentially deadly environment.

As for working; presumably, if the parent is working, they are paying for child care, so why can't they continue to pay for child care once the child is of school age? Like once the teacher leaves, the child care provider comes over? And the teacher would be paid by the school district, so no extra money needed there.

I homeschooled and worked; I had an excellent nanny who did some of the hs stuff with ds1, and then when I got home I did some with him, too. It can be done.


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Old 02-04-2004, 08:47 PM
 
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That would be a great solution, if that's what the family wanted.

Just to add, I was "homeschooled", or whatever you wanted to call it by a district teacher. She only visited about once a week, for about three hours. That left a lot of time home alone for me. (I was in highschool)

I also, think that it might be hard for a lower income family to afford a full time nanny. That's what you'd need, because I don't think a child care center would accept a school age child full time. And a nanny is ALOT more pricey than a child care center -and maybe not even subsidized.

I'm starting to get tired of arguing...I feel this conversation is going nowhere. See ya all,
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Old 02-04-2004, 09:12 PM
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Originally posted by dreadmama
I don't understand why it is better for a private school to ban peanuts over a public school? And there would be the same inconsistancies with a private school as with public schools (parents bringing or sending products with peanuts, etc.).
This is a no brainer for me!


I pm-ed you my answer to this, but for the sake of answering questions in the thread, I will reiterate here.

Both my kid's schools are tiny, and intensely community oriented. The one she went to for the first 6 years was completely parent run. We did *everything* So my prejudice is, and I didn't realize it till you pointed it out, that private schools were going to be smaller, and more understanding, and the parents there were going to be slightly more careful because they *know* you.

I'm sorry I wasn't clear. The schools my kids went to/are currently attending are pretty unique, and I WOULD feel safe, having explained face to face with intensely AP type parents of all 6 kids in her class.

Sorry. I let my prejudice for small school co-ops show there. That's why it was a no brainer for me. I guess if you choose a huge, normal private school there wouldn't be any difference.

And I truly do not wish to argue with you, upset you, or imply that you are a bad parent, but I couldn't do it.

Edited to add: The parents of the allergic child in my dd's class sent home PAGES of lists of things that couldn't go into the classroom. And I do mean PAGES. I was overwhelmed when I got the thing and found half of my persnickety ten year old's diet on there.

Of course we use the guide, who wouldn't? But I have to tell you, it makes me *really* nervous. If he could really pop his clogs cause my kid's eating a granola bar that might have peanut dust in it cause the other granola bars made in the same facility have peanut dust in them.....that's WAY too much responsibility for me to have to assume.

I'm not callous. I'm not a horrible person. I'm scared to death for your (generic you) kid.

Use the car analogy. I would be the mother watching YOU to make sure YOU are watching the child., and I'm also the one who puts herself between your kid and the road without saying a word. I do it, but man......

Ok, I'm shutting up now. Blast me if you have to.

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Old 02-04-2004, 10:27 PM
 
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Originally posted by shelbean91
When an allergy is life threatening, it is very well a disability. This isn't just stuffy noses, runny eyes, sinus headaches- this is hospitalization or death, within a very short amount of time. I don't think anyone is saying peanut free is solving the problem, nor is it giving parents peace of mind because they know that any day there could be an innocent mistake.

Yes, it is putting some responsiblities on others, but if you don't want to change your lifestyle and accept the responsiblity to accomodate the needs of the highly allergic student, pull your own child out of school and homeschool- that's your right. Putting out a letter to keep peanuts out of school isn't accomodating a 'whim' of the child and parent, it is helping reduce the chance of death.

Putting your child in a carseat isn't going to guarantee they will survive a crash, but it will greatly increase their chances. Just like removing peanuts won't guarantee an allergic reation won't happen, but it will greatly reduce the chances.
I don't understand WHY its a disability....there are lots of other allergies than can cause hospitilization. It's catering to a really small minority. Period. It's forcing responsibility and NOT NOT NOT solving an issue. Period.

Putting my child in a carseat is my choice. I'm not asking the Department of Transportation to provide me a carseat for my child. I do it, I pay for it. My responsibility.
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Old 02-04-2004, 10:33 PM
 
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Originally posted by mamamaya


This is what I don't understand. There seems to be a group within this discussion that thinks peanut allergy children should be homeschooled, tutored, private schooled, whatever...I'm just wondering, how do you feel about allowing other children with disablilitie into the classroom? Do you feel they should be homeschooled as well?

The second thing I don't understand is if you don't feel the allergy is a disability, why should the child be homeschooled?

I don't think that that's what people on the other fence are
getting so upset about. I thinkl what's happening here is that there is a deeper dynamic at play here about children with disablilites---and where they belong. Why should someone who is a little different have to stay home, or go to private school???



Glad this thread is back


Ew ew ew ew ew.
Yuck yuck yuck!!!!!!!!! Coming from the perspective being a minority AND having a disability...ew.......I'm really really offended that you tried to play this card. I have a very very yucky feeling about this....

So...back up your statements..........where in any part of this thread does anyone say "These kids should be homeschooled.". I can't find it. I know *I* said that even if I couldn't afford it, which I can't, it would make me think about doing it for MY kid.

I don't care where anyone goes to school. I don't see anyone, in fact, saying otherwise.

Ugh. Thats all I'm going to say because I'm very very very upset that someone tried to throw around the discrimination card.
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Old 02-04-2004, 10:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by pumpkinhead
grisandole,

You've just described a huge percentage of those who are peanut allergic. This thing about this allergy is that those who have it react with moderate to severe anaphylaxsis upon even minute exposure. These children do just fine, for the most part, in peanut free classrooms/zones.

No one can prevent accidents! NO ONE! But accidents happen to all of us regardless of the most careful planning. I don't think children should be isolated from their peers just becaause an accident *could* happen. If this were so, we'd never let any of our children do anything ever! It's like saying : I'm not going to let little jenny go to the play ground every because the possibility that she might fall off the monkey bars is too great.

Your SOOO right! And making a RULE about it in public schools is ALSO like saying "We can't let the kids play on the monkey bars...they might get hurt" or "We can't let them play outside...they'll get struck by lightning". Just as parents have to weight the risks for their families, they have to do it when picking schools and sending their kids to school. And if you have a peanut allergic child, you have to weigh that risk in sending your child to school...........but it's not fair to force that descion on others.
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Old 02-04-2004, 10:41 PM
 
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A child at my brother's school died from a allergic peanut reaction a few years ago. Apparently, a child who ate lunch before him had a peanut butter sandwich, and the leftover residue caused his allergic reaction. At the time, the school did not have a peanut free policy...they have since switched to being peanut free. I think that most of the families are more than happy to deal with the minor inconvenience to protect other potentially allergic children at the school.

At my daughter's kindergarden, there is also a policy to protect the allergic children. Snacks and birthday treats must be free of peanuts, dairy, and egg (which several children are allergic to). Homemade birthday treats are not allowed. Personally, I really do not mind this policy at all...the teachers provide a list of acceptable snacks, and include many more whole foods (fruits, veggies, etc). In fact, I like that all the children are able to participate and nobody feels left out. It creates a feeling of community in the classroom.
Christy
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Old 02-04-2004, 11:06 PM
 
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I don't understand WHY its a disability....there are lots of other allergies than can cause hospitilization. It's catering to a really small minority. Period. It's forcing responsibility and NOT NOT NOT solving an issue. Period.
"In both the ADA and Section 504, a person with a disability is described as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or is regarded as having such impairments. Breathing, eating, working and going to school are "major life activities." Asthma and allergies are still considered disabilities under the ADA, even if symptoms are controlled by medication."

"
The second issue is whether allergies to peanut butter are disabilities within the definitions of applicable federal law. Under the current interpretations of federal law, including the Supreme Court's decision in Abbott v. Bragdon, which applies the definition of disability broadly to cover a woman who was HIV positive but asymptomatic (see Bragdon v. Abbott -- Supreme Court Decision Addresses Application of Americans with Disabilities Act to Individuals with HIV <980626Bragdon.html>, Bragdon -- The Unanswered Questions <../../HealthLawNews/09-1998.html>, and 118 S.Ct. 1206 (1998)), the courts are likely to find that at least those individuals with severe reactions to peanuts are substantially limited in the major life activity of breathing. It is less clear whether individuals with moderate reactions would be covered. The courts have distinguished between degrees of limitation in cases involving depression, mobility, and other impairments, so it is not impossible to imagine a program challenging the coverage of discrimination law to at least some individuals, although to do so might not be wise from a public relations perspective. "

"Federal discrimination law -- i.e., the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Air Carrier Access Act -- require covered programs to not discriminate against otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of their disability. More importantly for the purposes of peanut cases, these laws require reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodations are those that are not unduly burdensome either administratively or financially. "

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Old 02-04-2004, 11:15 PM
 
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thanks
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Old 02-05-2004, 11:04 AM
 
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I think my DD's preschool has a very fair policy. No peanut butter, period. But as far as items with the possibility of trace peanut dust - there is no exclusion unless it will be a "class snack".

In other words, the kids can't have pb but the parents don't have to search labels unless they are bringing a snack for the entire class. The allergic kids are expected to not share lunches. The school has given us a list of "approved" snacks if you need to bring something for the entire class.

I think the thing that gets to people is not the exclusion of peanut butter - it's the exclusion of everything that might contain peanut traces (at least that's what would get to me).
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Old 02-05-2004, 07:14 PM
 
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Originally posted by anothermama
Oh my goodness!
I can't belive that YOU mamas are making the WORLD responsible for one thing about your childs health!!!!!!!!!!

(BTW, all the stats I've seen have said the instance of people in the us TOTAL that have a nut allergy is 1 percent
http://www.pslgroup.com/dg/f4092.htm
And the ammount of KIDS in that population who could DIE from it CLEARLY fall into the less than half a percent of all people in the US!!!!!!! It's not a ton of kids!!!!!!)
It's not the whole world, it's the public school system, which by law is supposed to accomodate all children. And I'm really curious about the statistics. I teach a sunday school class of 14 kindergarten children and two of them have life threatening peanut allergies.

I'm really surprised at the "that's not fair" attitude. We're not talking about something that's uncomfortable or unpleasant, (like not having your favorite lunch and choosing not to eat anything else), we're talking about a life and death situation. Come off it! It's not fair that I can't drive 150 miles and hour on the highway, but I don't sit and whine about it, because the roads have to accomodate other people too. Lots of things aren't fair, and we all deal with them every day. I think it's a good lesson for kids to learn: sometimes we can't get what we want, because there are other people in this world to consider. Your child's right to eat a peanut butter sandwich ends with my child's right to go to school and come home alive at the end of the day.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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Old 02-05-2004, 08:18 PM
 
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Your child's right to eat a peanut butter sandwich ends with my child's right to go to school and come home alive at the end of the day.
At the risk of being totally misunderstood, I respectfully disagree with this. It is definitely more important that your child come home alive than my child eat a peanut butter sandwich, but my child's rights do not end because of your child's special needs.

Please remember that during this entire discussion I have said that I would happily comply with a peanut free policy in any school that my child attended. I personally wouldn't send my child to school if it put his life at risk, but that's not my decision to make for your child.

But I think the attitude that your kid's rights are more important than another kid's rights is what pisses people off. Absolutely it is important that we do what we can to accommodate as many special needs people as we can. But let's not take it to the other extreme - it doesn't mean that the rights of a special needs person are more important than the rights of any other person.
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:35 PM
 
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Originally posted by oceanbaby
At the risk of being totally misunderstood, I respectfully disagree with this. It is definitely more important that your child come home alive than my child eat a peanut butter sandwich, but my child's rights do not end because of your child's special needs.

Please remember that during this entire discussion I have said that I would happily comply with a peanut free policy in any school that my child attended. I personally wouldn't send my child to school if it put his life at risk, but that's not my decision to make for your child.

But I think the attitude that your kid's rights are more important than another kid's rights is what pisses people off. Absolutely it is important that we do what we can to accommodate as many special needs people as we can. But let's not take it to the other extreme - it doesn't mean that the rights of a special needs person are more important than the rights of any other person.
I wouldn't say I"m pissed off so much as...mind boggled.

I made a couple points that none of the peanut free advocates have addressed...

It's more than a disability..its life threatening. Fine. I get that. The policy doesn't solve anything and all it does it make it so that you can sue. And that boggles me. It's like saying you don't have to be responsible for your kid and if they die you can sue the school. Because...really....what else is the point of making a school wide policy to apply to one person in a hundred?

It boggles my mind because the more life threatening it is, the more I see it as something that is more of a burden and responsibility for me and my family. If my kid was wheelchair bound...well, there are fixes for that, and my kid wont die without a ramp.

It's a HUGE responsibility, being responsible for someones LIFE. Thats HUGE!!! And it's one thing to say to the parents of a school "You're responsible for helping my child get educated" because, yeah, thats what school is for. But to say "You're ALSO responsible for keeping my kid ALIVE". Holy moly!! I would NEVER presume to push that on anyone else. I think, on a community level, it's just plain rude and inconsiderate and on a larger scale...holy cow I'd NEVER trust an institution with that responsiblity of my child!!! Schools are gonna cover the basics and do what they can...but extremes like this can't be covered with legislation. It's like saying the victims of Columbine can sue the school for not keeping THEIR kids alive.

I think whatever the condition is, the MORE severe your childs condition is, the LESS responsibility others have for it. Sure, it must be very VERY hard for the parents. Just like it's hard for parents of kids with lukemia or kids with mental disabilities...but it's one of those things you take on when you have a kid...some kids will have extreme health problems and you have to deal with them...not make other people deal with them.
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Old 02-06-2004, 02:19 AM
 
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Wow- what a thread!

Sort-of T

I wonder if *any of us* should be eating peanuts? I just wanted to mention aflatoxins.

Quote:
Aflatoxin is also recognized as a potent carcinogen that causes liver cancer in laboratory animals.
Quote:
According to a Consumers Union study done a few years ago, eating peanut butter that contains an average level of only two parts per billion of aflatoxin once every 10 days would present a cancer risk of seven in one million. Small as that may seem, it's higher than the estimated risk of cancer from most pesticides. And that's if you can restrict your children's peanut butter consumption to once every 10 days!
There is life after peanut butter!
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Old 02-06-2004, 02:26 AM
 
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given the link we're learning about with consumption in pregnancy and nursirsing, creating more highly nut-allergic children, I certainly don't think it should be in WIC. Perhaps the prevelance in govt food programs, given to the highest-at-risk for allergies people, could explain some of what we're seeing. Some enormous number of mothera and children get WIC. But then WIC gives tuna too, also not the best form of protein for pregnancy, nusring and little ones. How about some beans!
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Old 02-06-2004, 02:56 AM
 
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Originally posted by Clarity
given the link we're learning about with consumption in pregnancy and nursirsing, creating more highly nut-allergic children, I certainly don't think it should be in WIC. Perhaps the prevelance in govt food programs, given to the highest-at-risk for allergies people, could explain some of what we're seeing. Some enormous number of mothera and children get WIC. But then WIC gives tuna too, also not the best form of protein for pregnancy, nusring and little ones. How about some beans!
WIC usually gives out vouchers for dry beans.
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Old 02-06-2004, 02:13 PM
 
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Originally posted by anothermama

I think whatever the condition is, the MORE severe your childs condition is, the LESS responsibility others have for it. Sure, it must be very VERY hard for the parents. Just like it's hard for parents of kids with lukemia or kids with mental disabilities...but it's one of those things you take on when you have a kid...some kids will have extreme health problems and you have to deal with them...not make other people deal with them.
That would be true, if we weren't talking about something which, by law, people are required to do. If there was no compulsory school attendance law, this wouldn't be an issue. If every mother was a SAHM, this wouldn't be an issue. Then you would be correct, and responsibility for keeping my kid alive would fall solely on me. But it doesn't. If I'm a single mother who has to work outside of the home, and my child is too young to stay home by themselves all day and homeschool in the evenings and on weekends, what are my alternatives? I have to send them to school. The law says that my child must be educated, I can't keep them in daycare all day (even if I could afford it). In order for a child with a life threatening allergy to go to school, the school has to make reasonable accomodations. It's perfectly reasonable to ask other kids not to bring peanut butter to school if it might kill my child, just like it's perfectly reasonable to ask kids not to bring guns to school.

Or should we let them do that too, because it infringes on their right to bear arms?

The columbine analogy is a good one. There was a reason the parent's didn't sue: because the school had a policy that guns were not permitted. It doesn't mean that parents were not responsible for teaching their kids gun safety and first aid, but it does mean that the school is doing what it can to keep the kids safe. If the school had a policy of letting students bring guns to school, then they would absolutely be liable if a student got shot. If the school has metal detectors, it doesn't mean your child is perfectly safe, but it does mean that the school is doing everything they can to accomodate the saftey of it's students.

The peanut free policy *does* do something. First, it makes other parents aware of the issue. Secondly, it allows parents to feel more confident about sending their children to school. No parent of a child with a life-threatening allergy is going to say "Oh, the school is supposed to be peanut free, so I won't send Jimmy with his epi-pen." No parent has said "I'm going to sue the school if a single kid sneaks a peanut butter sandwich in and kills my child." The policy means that other parents know that this is an issue. It only puts *some* of the responsibility on those other parents. The same degree of responsibility that a gun owner has for not killing people with his firearm.

Without those policies, without those laws, it wouldn't be remotely safe to do *anything*. Yes, people will break the laws, and accidents will happen, but that doesn't mean that the laws serve no purpose. I really don't see what you mean by that.

Oh, and WIC does let you get dry beans instead of peanut butter. I gave up peanut butter in my third trimester because I was concerned about him developing such an allergy. I also gave up shellfish and cow's milk, which was a pain in the neck but, IMO, well worth the effort.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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Old 02-06-2004, 04:15 PM
 
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one thing i don't get: people have been eating peanuts for thousands of years and until recently all were breastfeeding. i don't buy it as the reason for this epidemic. its just one more slight against breastfeeding. there's something else going on, IMO.

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Old 02-06-2004, 04:28 PM
 
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true, it's very likely to be more complex...but peanuts...weren't they originally an african food? and only recently did europeans eat them? I don't know when asians started. but like with lactose intolerance maybe there's a genetic difference with nut tolerance. And when we did become a more broadly peanut-eating country, breastfeeding was decreasing. So I don't know. I don't think it's a slight against bf at all...since the allergy if it's going to develop is more likely from direct consumption. So not nursing just to hand your toddler a peanut butter cracker is worse. They're just finding prenatal and BF exposure does also count as a sensitizing exposure, which they weren't aware of before. They're really only warning off moms who have a nut allergy tendency in their family, and encouraging people not to feel nut products to very young children, since kids with allergy tendencies might not develop as serious a reaction if exposure is delayed until they're older.

YAY on WIC! I thought you got equal parts of each, and if you passed on one or two you just got less.
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Old 02-06-2004, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think this has got anything to do with breastfeeding and everything to do with our way of life nowadays. We are raising our kids in increasingly sterile environments and introducing them to processed foods at earlier and earlier ages. It's pretty scary how many food items /may contain traces of peanuts or other nuts'. All of these products that are mass produced tend to be processed in plants that are processing multiple things. It wasn't until relatively recently that it's been required by law to indicate this on the label (if the plant processing the food also processes peanuts or other nuts). It's entirely possible that the frickin' baby cereal we thought was so safe and healthy could have contained traces of nuts without our knowledge.

We (I don't mean us at MDC per se, more so the general population at large) also tend to give into our Grandmothers etc. too often and introduce solids before many of our babes are ready for them. As their little intestines aren't completely sealed, it allows bigger protiens to cross into the blood and the immune system encounters them before it should, leading to all manner of allergies and sensitivities.

The sterility issue...honestly, how are our children going to develop healthy immune systems if we're continually 'lysolling' the crap out of everything they come into contact with? If we're not exposed to pathogens, our immune systems cannot develop properly. Plain and simple. So of course, when we actually come into contact with an allergen, our body is gonna overreact. Also, this makes it difficult (esp for a formula fed babe) to obtain a healthy intestinal flora.

I think this is a complex issue and hinges on more than one thing, but I don't believe that BF'ing is one of them. JMO.

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Old 02-07-2004, 02:05 PM
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I was telling dp about this thread, and he says, that he thinks it's a possibility that the change in how we grow peanuts that causes the problem. You know, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.

Just a thought.
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Old 02-07-2004, 02:20 PM
 
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Or perhaps in earlier days, children didn't survive their allergic reaction, and thus were statistically eliminated.
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Old 02-08-2004, 10:10 PM
 
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Oops, sorry, that was me being naughty (again.....sigh) Piglet. Forgot about the PM thing.....

It seems to me that many posters here are concerned about the threat of legal action if something hypothetically happens & they are found to be the parent who sent the peanut product to school. That's sad, for a lot of reasons & I'm not really sure what you folks can do about that.....Perhaps that's why it doesn't seem to be such a big deal with me (P-nut free schools), cuz I'm fairly certain that no Aussie parent is going to try & take revenge on me if something terrible happens to their kid. Now living with my own conscience, that's another story......

So, now my question is, is it the inconvenience of finding alternative foods for school that worries people, or is it the fear of legal action that is the bigger concern?

Just another culturally confused missive from the other side of the planet......

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Old 02-08-2004, 10:58 PM
 
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It's not an either/or issue for me. It's both. It's the huge inconvenience for me and for everyone else who sends dd with food to school. I also suspect that people who would expect every other family in the school to go to these lengths with their shopping might also be people who are litigious.
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Old 02-09-2004, 12:31 AM
 
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aussiemum....as someone else who is not a native American, I too find the litigousness (sp?) of this society to be extreme compared to my own (Canada). On the one hand, I read anothermama's posts about fear of being sued and think "that's nuts!" but then I think about the sorts of cases I read about in the states and think...ya know..maybe she's not that far off....



But honestly....no, I don't think any mother who fears for her child's life every time they go off to school has a court-case agenda in her back pocket. Maybe that makes me naive...I don't know.

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Old 02-13-2004, 05:50 PM
 
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And just when you though this thread was finally over....

I was reading around in some other forums (who shall remain nameless) and I came across this link.

http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/bioeme.html

It just reminded me of peanut allergies.
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