How careful are you with nuts if your child doesn't have allergies (ie residue and potential harm to children who DO have allergies) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure exactly how to put this question. My kids do not have any allergies. My kids eat a lot of nuts - tree nuts and peanuts both. They eat peanut butter and other nut butters. Nuts are a big part of our diet here.

I worry about them being covered with nut dust and having potential peanut butter smears on them and then taking them out. Like I take them to the park, they get peanut butter on them, etc. I know one little girl who will get a big welt on her arm if you have touched something containing nuts and then touch her arm. I know how sensitive this allergy can be. How careful should I be? How careful are you?

I'm hoping both moms with kids WITH and WITHOUT allergies will reply. What do moms with nut-allergic kids want us to know/do? I want to be considerate, but I don't know how much I need to do.
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#2 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 08:12 AM
 
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It's in the back of my mind. I try to avoid buying the kids any snacks with peanuts in them and we only have almond butter at home. A lot of places around here are peanut-free (i.e. kids lessons and activities). If, for some reason, I have a peanut snack for the kids I have them eat it away from other kids and wash their hands and face afterwards. I wouldn't say I'm overly vigilant  though. My little daycare girl brings peanut butter from home and I don't make her brush her teeth and have a shower before we go out or anything. 

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#3 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 08:12 AM
 
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honestly it doesn't effect what/how i feed my kids nuts at all unless there's a child with nut allergies in class and i'm bringing in something for the whole class. then of course i'm super careful. 

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#4 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 08:16 AM
 
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We avoid bringing nut-laced things to school or other places with nut bans but that's about it. We consume many nut products and I'm not overly vigilant unless I know we'll be coming into contact with someone that has an allergy. Otherwise I just make sure we wash our hands and go on our way. 


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#5 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 08:22 AM
 
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My son is a very neat eater, getting smears of peanut butter on him would be rare and it would bother him. But I don't offer him peanut butter snacks before we go out if we are going to be with kids with nut allergies. I'll wash my hands, around my mouth, and brush my teeth before going out (I like peanut butter on toast for breakfast). But I don't worry as much about it if we aren't meeting people that I know have allergies. Still, we aren't walking around with PB smears on us. I just figure I'm not going to be kissing anyone when I run errands so I might not wash my face.   


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#6 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, hmm. One likes peanuts in the shell and has bits of peanut shell over her pretty often, and the other likes peanut butter and gets her food in her hair every time she eats somehow, plus on her clothes.
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#7 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 09:52 AM
 
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Wow.  I seriously never thought twice about giving my little one peanut butter and then going to the playground or somewhere where he might smear fingerprints on the equipment or other kids.  I'll have to be more conscious of that in the future.  I doubt I'd do an extra tooth-brushing or shower or something, but I will try to wipe him down with a wet cloth.  As far as I know we've never known a child with a serious nut allergy.  I actually can't think of anyone that's had any sort of nut allergy.  My older one goes to a tiny school though.

 

Both of my children have decided recently decided that they don't like peanut butter any more, so this might not be much of an issue for us.  


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#8 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 10:03 AM
 
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My sons daycare, and the school he will go to in the fall, do not allow anything with nuts at all. So he doesn't eat nuts at school. But he eats a granola bar with peanut butter everyday after school - it prevents pretty major meltdowns.

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#9 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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I do not send my kids to school with nut products, nor do we eat overtly nut products during breakfast on school days.  There are two highly allergic children in my boys' class and while they're older now and very knowledgeable about how to protect themselves...when I was a preschool teacher I had to use an epi-pen on one of my students because another student's parent sent them to class with a handful of peanuts in their pocket (despite the fact that we had repeatedly asked for them not to do stupid things like that).  I have never forgotten the terror I felt seeing a child go into anaphylaxis and having to stab them with a needle and call 911.  So I just screw around with that stuff, even if it's inconvenient for me.  I'll never forget that incident as long as I live.
 

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#10 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 11:46 AM
 
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I am not particularly careful about nuts unless I know we are around a nut allergic child.We don't know anyone with a severe nut allergy.  Our preschool is not nut-free. Our public K next year is not nut-free. There are one or two children with mild nut reactions and they eat lunch at a separate table with kids that don't have nuts in their lunch that day. The school doesn't use peanuts in snacks it serves but it does often have almond butter with an alternative. There are one or two kids with a lot of allergies of various degrees and they just bring their own snack. We don't send it but pb&j is a super popular lunch at the school.

 

Peanut-free is really annoying but that doesn't mean I would complain or send anything that didn't comply. And it doesn't mean I am not sympathetic. It just doesn't really effect our lives.

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#11 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 02:30 PM
 
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Dd has always been homeschooled and we didn't frequent public playgrounds a lot when she was younger so it wasn't much of an issue. No one we were hanging out with had a nut allergy.

I don't go out and about in public carrying around nuts or nut products but I suppose we may have some residue from eating these things at home.


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#12 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 02:36 PM
 
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honestly it doesn't effect what/how i feed my kids nuts at all unless there's a child with nut allergies in class and i'm bringing in something for the whole class. then of course i'm super careful. 

This.  Unless I know my child will be in contact with a child with nut allergies, I wouldn't even give it a thought.  

 

I'd never send treats to school that contained nuts...but, I wouldn't withold it from her lunch  box. 

 

We still eat at Texas Road house, and I shop after eating a whole bucket of peanuts... I've never thought much about the nut dust on my hands after eating there.

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#13 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 04:07 PM
 
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I did not give it much thought, until recently.  But then I learned that one of my DD's friends has a peanut allergy and an epi-pen.  I just started babysitting her little brother and her occasionally, and I decided that I just wouldn't even have any nut products in the house because I just feel safer doing that.  We are not big consumers of nuts, but I will grab sunbutter instead of peanut butter from now on.


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#14 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 05:38 PM
 
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Right now we don't take any type of precautions at all. Obviously if they had peanut butter smeared all over their hands their hands would be washed before we went out. The school the older kids attend is private and does not admit children with any type of severe allergy so we don't worry about it there.

 

We live next door to a playground and I've never thought about the kids going out to play with nut dust or residue on them. Again if their hands/face/clothes are dirty they need to be washed or changed. We live on a military base so I guess I just assume if a child in our neighborhood of 70 houses had a severe allergy they would let everyone know or post signs at the playground.

 

When our oldest attended a ballet class with a child who had a peanut allergy we didn't serve anything with peanuts that day, didn't bring peanut containing snacks for the younger kids to eat while we waited during the class, and changed clothes/washed hands and faces the one time one of the kids got into some peanut butter crackers the same day as the class. 

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#15 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 07:26 PM
 
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We are allowed to send peanut butter/nuts to school for lunch but not to be eaten in the classroom. However, I will not send my child to school with nuts. She prefers sunbutter, so that's easy. 2 of her friends are allergic to nuts, and my own dd was diagnosed with an almond allergy. We had to strictly avoid nuts for a year until she had a food challenge, which she thankfully passed. If she has almonds, I have her wash her hands. She doesn't eat peanut butter at all, but if she did, I'd have her wash her face as well. It's' not worth the risk of hurting someone else.

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#16 of 112 Old 05-16-2012, 11:07 PM
 
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My kids go to a small school, and currently there aren't any kids at the school with peanut/nut allergies. We are allowed to send in peanut butter sandwiches and all that, but they have made it clear that the minute a kid enrolls with with allergies, the policy could change over night.

 

I think that in your park example, there's no point in being over careful. Playground equipment is constantly touched by kids who pick their noses and don't wash their hand well after pottying. It's pretty gross if you think about it. But between the occasional rainstorm and the sun doing it's best to bake things off, we all consider it "clean enough."  I wouldn't let my kids run around with food, mostly because after touching the equipment I thought they should WASH their hands before they eat. 
 

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#17 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 08:36 AM
 
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We eat nuts normally unless specifically told not to bring them and follow regular hygiene practices (like washing off smears of PB). We do have nut-allergic kids both at school and at a Saturday activity, but neither place is entirely nut-free. If told about a situation where we will be in contact with an allergic child, we comply with whatever restrictions are required. We have very good friends and family members with celiac and have seen a child have to advocate for her own health at a very young age, so we do try to be mindful and helpful where possible.

 

That said, I wonder about the effectiveness of the total nut-free practice. For example, the other day my DD brought leftover pad thai to school for lunch - an allergic person could have potentially had an anaphylactic reaction to either the peanuts, the shrimp or the egg in it, but only the peanuts would be banned from school? Flowers are still planted outside school even though some people have anaphylactic reactions to bee stings. Since no location can be guaranteed 100% free of anything, perhaps more effort should go into education, preventive procedures (I can definitely see the need for peanut-free tables at lunch, and we know kids with health IEPs with certain other precautionary measures like the whole class having to wash hands at certain times), emergency measures? I do not have an allergic child, though, and those who do may feel completely differently.


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#18 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 09:36 AM
 
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Browsed the thread.

 

My little one isn't eating peanut butter yet, but husband and I actually discussed (because it had come up on the television) the possibility that one of her classmates and possibly one of her dear friends in the future may have a severe nut allergy.

We discussed it while I was happily working on a spoon of peanut butter.

I've never been careful with my nut residues.  If the she-tyrant brings home a friend that needs an epi-pen if nut dust blows on them, I'm going to be in for one heck of a learning experience.

It's not the same, but I imagine that when we're exposed to multiple children and the possibility exists that someone might have an allergy, I'll treat the situation the same way I behave when I'm feeding something I prepared to a group of people; I either know who abstains from what, or I announce the potentially taboo ingredients.  For example, when I make meatballs and I say, to the group:  "I made meatballs.  They have pork in them." and this allows anyone in the group who keeps halal, kosher or eats vegetarian to skip the meatballs without a whole big to-do. 

But I clearly need to educate myself on which foods are most commonly highly allergenic.  My family has no food allergies so I have no idea what kinds of things people are allergic to.  Except nuts, of course I'm aware of that.


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#19 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 09:41 AM
 
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We eat a lot of nuts and peanut butter. We have moved around a fair bit, and not once have my children been allowed to bring any kind of peanut product into any school that they've attended. I don't think about it regularly, but I suppose that I am so used to being nut free with lunches and school snacks that I think about it if I am packing anything to take to the park. Also, as others have posted, my kids will wash their faces and hands after eating and before going out. I assume that cuts down on most of the contact issues.


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#20 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 11:11 AM
 
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We don't take any precautions. At my dd's school they have a separate table for kids who eat pb&j but even there that is enough of a precaution. We have rarely encountered a place that asked for parents to send in nut free lunches and it really never occurred to me to worry about peanut residue just as I don't expect people to worry about their cat dander when I am out and about.
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#21 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 01:00 PM
 
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No precautions taken here unless a friend informs us that their child has allergies. My kids' daycare is peanut free so I just avoid sending those products in.

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#22 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 01:18 PM
 
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We do not consume peanuts or peanut products in public. If it is eaten at home then I wash up all the kids, (face and hands) before leaving the house. I had two friends with severely peanut allergic children IRL and several more online friends, they lived in constant fear of peanuts. It gave me a healthy fear of what my actions and my feeding of my children can do to another family. One of the boys ended up in the hospital several times as a toddler after encountering accidental peanuts while out and about. It go to the point where the mom felt that they could not leave the house, even a day at the outdoor playground, could have him running into a roaming 2 year with a PB and J sandwich in one hand while going down the slide. To me, looking in at their life, it seemed like a lonely prison to be in because they could not control others. 

 

We have had two peanut allergic children at our small private school. One was more severe then the other where anything made for the class had to be labeled peanut free, the other just could just not ingest peanuts. I feel very fortunate that while my DD2 has significant allergies that trigger her asthma, it is all animal, environmental allergies. While I still can not control it, it is not quite like a peanut allergy where you need an epipen.


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#23 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 06:00 PM
 
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Chiming in as the parent of a severely food-allergic child. 

 

My child is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts as well as eggs and fish and sesame and a whole host of other foods, but she is most severely allergic to wheat. She is anaphylactic, contact allergic, airway allergic. 

 

Life for us means being hyper-vigilant ALL THE TIME. If dd's friend has a bag of goldfish, they can't sit next to each other on the bus. At the playground, she knows to stay away from kids who are eating (there are always a ton), and she knows she needs to ask her friends to wipe their hands if they want to share toys or something. She cannot eat restaurant food at all, ever, but if we take her with us to a restaurant, we wipe down her seat and table area first. I never order sandwiches or burgers or things that are eaten with the hands, so they I can make sure my hands stay clean to help her with her meal. If we notice a kid eating a bagel or something before dance class, I will try to get the kid a wipe; if I'm not able to intervene, dd needs to remember that she can't hold that girl's hand in class. We take public transportation to and from school. Don't even get me started on what people eat in crowded buses and subways. She has to clean her hands before she puts anything in her mouth. If dh or I or her grandparents eat wheat, we need to wash our hands and wipe our mouths before we touch or kiss her. And what I'm describing here is really just the tip of the iceberg.

 

I appreciate it when strangers don't bring nuts to the park and when they wipe their children's hands after they eat. But I don't expect it. Nor does avoiding peanuts in public necessarily mean that you are keeping other kids safe (peanut butter and goldfish crackers are both dangerous to my kid, but the crackers are much more so). Personally, we try to be mindful in public. If dd wants a snack at the park, she sits on a bench and I wipe her hands afterward. It's safer for her, but it's also safer for the kid who's allergic to corn or dairy or whatever she's eating. Cleaning your kids after they eat (washing their hands or wiping hands and face with WetOnes) and trying to keep food in places where food is expected (e.g., at the picnic table and not on the slide) are FAR more important steps to take, I think, than not eating nuts in public.

 

However, food has become ubiquitous in American society. I expect that allergens will be everywhere, because they are.

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#24 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 06:19 PM
 
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 Cleaning your kids after they eat (washing their hands or wiping hands and face with WetOnes) and trying to keep food in places where food is expected (e.g., at the picnic table and not on the slide) are FAR more important steps to take

 

 

it's a bit meaningless when you see a squirrel caring a nut on piece of playground equipment and watching them drop it and pick it back up and crack it open

 

 

personally I do not use wetones and am far more concerned about the over use of chemical products on children

 

 

 

I delt with a neighbor boy (age 4 to 13 at the time), 25 years ago when NO one had peanut issues- he was allergic to everything and only ate rice and turkey with water for years, could use his own pen at age 5- he grew out of all but the peanuts........as a child things were really easy, as an adult he as found kissing to be a real problem! contact even hours later is a problem for him- doesn't stop with children at playgrounds


 

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#25 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 06:37 PM
 
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it's a bit meaningless when you see a squirrel caring a nut on piece of playground equipment and watching them drop it and pick it back up and crack it open

 

 

personally I do not use wetones and am far more concerned about the over use of chemical products on children

 

 

 

I delt with a neighbor boy (age 4 to 13 at the time), 25 years ago when NO one had peanut issues- he was allergic to everything and only ate rice and turkey with water for years, could use his own pen at age 5- he grew out of all but the peanuts........as a child things were really easy, as an adult he as found kissing to be a real problem! contact even hours later is a problem for him- doesn't stop with children at playgrounds

No, it's not meaningless. The more parents keep food away from play equipment--ALL food, not just nuts--the safer it is for food-allergic children. Children leave far more food residue on playground equipment than squirrels. Perfectly clean spaces are an impossibility; no one understands that more than I. (Did you even read my post? I said that playgrounds are only a tiny fraction of what I deal with on a daily basis AND I said that totally clean public spaces are an impossibility.)

 

But the OP wanted to know what people do and I can tell you as the parent of a severely food-allergic kid that cleaning your kids and keeping food away from non-food areas are the most important things that you can do. Splash a little water on your kids' hands and dry with a paper towel if you don't want to use WetOnes.

 

I wish I had the luxury not to use wet wipes, because I'm not thrilled with the chemicals either, but unfortunately I have to be a little more concerned about my kid dying than I am about what's in the wipes. 

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#26 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 08:57 PM
 
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But the OP wanted to know what people do and I can tell you as the parent of a severely food-allergic kid that cleaning your kids and keeping food away from non-food areas are the most important things that you can do. Splash a little water on your kids' hands and dry with a paper towel if you don't want to use WetOnes.

 

 



I really get what you are saying. I think it is gross when kids run around with food at parks any way -- eating with dirty hands and dropping their food and picking it back up. I'm not sure what the big deal is about stopping playing long enough to eat.

 

It's not that big of a deal to wipe kids off before they eat. Wiping them off again afterwards to make the world a little safer for some one else's child seems like a small thing to ask.

 

I never really thought about it before, but now that I have, I can't see just blowing off the information. If you have no way of cleaning your child's hands, why are they eating anyway? What's the big deal about repeating what you did before the meal right after the meal?

 

And if you don't bother to clean your child's hands before they eat, ick. shake.gif


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#27 of 112 Old 05-17-2012, 10:57 PM
 
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And if you don't bother to clean your child's hands before they eat, ick. shake.gif

 

Hmmm. The only time i really suggest hand washing before eating is if my kids have actual dirt or crud on their hands, like if they were digging around in the sandbox or something like that. But if they were playing at a playground and i called them over for a snack? Nope, it wouldnt even cross my mind unless there was visible dirt on their hands (and only because dirt doesnt seem yummy.) I dont generally wash my hands before eating either unless there are special circumstances (going out to eat right after picking through stuff at the thrift store or used bookstore, i usually feel kinda grimy after that).....and all of us are usually pretty healthy.

 

Thats not to say we dont wash our hands, i def. encourage it after using the bathroom for instance....but before snacktime at the park? No, and it would never occur to me that would be "icky".

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#28 of 112 Old 05-18-2012, 01:47 AM
 
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If you don't use wet-ones then perhaps a damp washcloth in a plastic baggie? This is what my ex usually does and it works really well. (sorry, can't quote easily from my phone)
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#29 of 112 Old 05-18-2012, 04:25 AM
 
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Hmmm. The only time i really suggest hand washing before eating is if my kids have actual dirt or crud on their hands, like if they were digging around in the sandbox or something like that. But if they were playing at a playground and i called them over for a snack? Nope, it wouldnt even cross my mind unless there was visible dirt on their hands (and only because dirt doesnt seem yummy.) I dont generally wash my hands before eating either unless there are special circumstances (going out to eat right after picking through stuff at the thrift store or used bookstore, i usually feel kinda grimy after that).....and all of us are usually pretty healthy.

 

Thats not to say we dont wash our hands, i def. encourage it after using the bathroom for instance....but before snacktime at the park? No, and it would never occur to me that would be "icky".

me either!

 

 

there are sooooooooo many place at a playground/park, etc and no way would I do so

 

 

this world was not meant to be sterile, I do not want it nor feel it is healthy-an immune systems was designed to work, I want my child to have the chance, it seems to be getting smaller, but I still want dirt and exposures, that does include known allergens

 

 

 

I don't buy this- people have been eating in park, regardless if you don't allow food near the equipment- it is meaningless! The "stick" the child with a peanut-butter sandwich had is a great toy and most times they go for that to- get what I mean?

 

I don't know who touched what prior to me being there anymore than I know who touched the organic fruit at a local co-op- so to push this-IMO is just like saying "taking one for the heard" - NO I do not want my child in a sterile environment, I do not feel it is healthy for my child all the uses of "wet-one" and hand sanitizers, does my child count or only those with allergies?  BTW- we avoid (and have no alleges) inside playgrounds because of this- I don't want my child exposed to the cleaning chemicals (OVERKILL- IMO!!) and all the people cleaning their children's hands with sanitizers.

 

IF you knowing know that is different (person coming to your house, bringing an item, etc), to expect others to conform-NO.

 

You can not protect every situation and expecting others to IMO is not where your focus should be- this "heard" is not the majority.

 

 

 

Quote:
No, it's not meaningless. The more parents keep food away from play equipment--ALL food, not just nuts--the safer it is for food-allergic children. Children leave far more food residue on playground equipment than squirrels. Perfectly clean spaces are an impossibility; no one understands that more than I. (Did you even read my post? I said that playgrounds are only a tiny fraction of what I deal with on a daily basis AND I said that totally clean public spaces are an impossibility.)

You have lots of expectation of others and I see no regard for my child's immune system -why are you trying to control others?

 

Bees are a allergen to some- guess that is a good thing they are dying off.


 

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#30 of 112 Old 05-18-2012, 04:34 AM
 
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I grew up with a sibling with severe peanut allergies.  We didn't make peanut butter cookies in the house because my sister could smell it and start to  have breathing problems.  We had peanut butter for sandwhiches but would go outside to eat them usually if she was home and if you want  peanut butter and jelly you had to put the knife in the jelly first so you wouldn't contaminate it.  Other than that, it was mainly the eating out that was the problem, with food being accidently contaminated.  Twice we had to take her to the ER after eating out.  We'd have to make speical arrangements if we flew to make sure there were no peanuts given out on the plane.  We were homeschooled, so didn't have the school issue, but all our friends knew and were careful not to share food with peanuts.  I don't think I'd be freaking out that much about what my kids are eating before they see friends. Unless you can see it on the clothes or faces/hands I think you are probably fine.

 

I've been paranoid with my own kids (who do have some egg/milk issues) and waited till they were well over two to let them try something with peanut, and they are fine. I now have a much younger brother who has the nut allergy as well.  It's a scary thing, but at least now there are epi-pens parents carry around, etc. 

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