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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:35 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 641
Location: AB, Canada
Not sure how to handle this. There was a pancake breakfast at school the other morning, for various reasons we opted not to go. Unbeknownst to us, our 8 year old went in with a friend and ate breakfast.

He said he asked if there were peanuts in it, I have no way to verify it and don't fully believe him. But even if he did, and was trying to be safe there is no way for people, on the spot, to verify ingredients/cross contam.

I don't know who dropped the ball. Us? Our kid? The school (they know he's PA, and was without a parent..should they have served him?).

It's so hard, he can be a bit shy, and I don't want him to feel excluded. What would you do?

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
OMG! :frightened Becky, :huggy

1. He's OK?
2. Do you have an anaphylaxis plan? What are the protocol supposed to be regarding him and food in the lesson plans, celebrations eetc?
3. Who did he speak with? Who served him?
4. How does he feel about what happened?

I think your response with the school can vary depending on the answers to these questions.

As a couple, you need to decide how to deal with your son regarding this.
Our family rule is that 8 years old is too young to make life and death decisions.
Canada's Clear Label law does not come into effect until August 4, 2012.
An 8 year old is too young to consider all of the possible sources of cross contamination, I don't care how often they help out with cooking at home.
If it is important to him to be involved in the pancake breakfast at school and if he had spoken about this to you in advance, you could have looked into the possibility of him being able to join in. I know that if it was important to my daughter, I would have made a safe mix, scrubbed the pans and been involved in the purchase and preparation. There are ways to safely be included but to sneak it behind your parents is not cool, not safe and just not acceptable.
This would, in my mind, demonstrate that he has a little too much control and he would have to build up my trust again before I let him enjoy his current level of trust and privledges.

I would make sure he knew that I was not mad at him so much as concerned that I had given him too much responsibility, had misjudged his level of understanding regarding anaphylaxis and that I was thankful that he was OK but man he scared me!

I hope that helps.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 641
Location: AB, Canada
Thanks for your reply Susan, there is an anaphylaxis plan at school, but I have no idea how effective it is, big events are often chaotic. Whenever there is a school/food function that we attend we bring our food from home. I would have brought pancakes from home if we had attended, by arriving just before the belltime (breakfast was 7:30-8:30 or something) I thought we had bypassed the need to worry about it. Earlier in the week I had thought about attending, but we were all sick/tired by that am and needed the sleep more than the breakfast.

I don't know how to take away any food freedoms, he doesn't have any (maybe that's contributing?), we take EVERYTHING from home for bdays and food events. He isn't allowed to eat anything without our permission, has alternate safe snacks at school as needed.

I don't know why he thought this would be ok. The kid he was with can be pushy and is one of the COOL kids, no idea if that contributed.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 797
Location: Vancouver, BC
Eeek, scary, Becky. Glad it turned out OK. This has happened to us as well, but it was packaged food from the canteen. Dd brought money to school and bought a granola bar without asking me. It was one she'd had before that had been ok'd by me, so she thought that was good enough. I gave the speech about how ingredients can change, we have to check each time, that it's confusing so it's me or DH that decides, not her, or another adult.

There are a lot of parent volunteers at our school for different events, and I don't think the volunteers can be made responsible for remembering which kid has allergies. I'm not entirely sure how to handle it either because I think DD will continue to test the boundaries.

One idea might be to get your GP or allergist to give your Ds a firm talking to about how dangerous it was to do that, and maybe talk about other children who have become seriously ill or even died by doing something like what he had done, and just not been as lucky.

Good luck. I am hoping desensitization treatments are in full swing in Canada soon. I was a bad teenager and can see DD being a lot like me. I thought I knew everything and didn't want to listen to my parents ever. Luckily I didn't have life threatening food allergies. . .

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
OK. When was your son's last ana reaction? Does he remember? Maybe he doesn't realize how serious it is or how foods can lurk in innocent looking foods.
I don't want to scare the willies out of him but he needs to have a healthy respect for the risks.

If you have a plan at school, you need to contact the principal. Send a letter advising that your son ate foods which you and your husband had not deemed safe and that you are requesting a meeting to discuss this. It is important that this be in writing. It is also important that they realize how incredibly lucky eveyone was that there was no reaction but that this was NOT OK.

Get this much out there and you can work on the details over the weekend.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 641
Location: AB, Canada
Thanks for your replies.

Alison's Mom, I also hope treatment is available soon, not so the he/we can be careless, but because there is ALWAYS a chance of something going wrong :(.

Susan, you're right about scare tactics. He was 4 when he had his 1st (only) ana reaction and doesn't remember it clearly. He needs to understand how serious the consequences can be, so far we have only used terms like 'very sick' for what could happen if an allergen is ingested, not 'possibly fatal'. I made him watch the epipen training dvd with me, there is some good information there and I thought it might make him realize how serious this is.

As for going to talk to the school...we have had a revolving door at the principal's office, have sent countless emails to teachers, and DH gave a talk at a staff meeting stressing the importance of "ONLY FOOD FROM HOME". Since it seems none of them live with life threatening allergies they don't fully get it, but even if the core staff/admin does, there are tons of other volunteers (parents, student teachers, subs...) and so much room for error. :(

I think, unfortunately, much of the responsibility does have to lie with the individual....

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
There needs to be tighter controls on who has access to providing students with food. Even food service staff have some training on food allergies.

The school might as well figure itout now because food allergies are increasing, not going away.
If volunteers with no training are involved in preparing and serving food, the risk of cross contamination is HUGE! :frightened

You're going to have to communicate in writing (e-mail) so that you can establish a log documenting the issues.

I would create a letter describing what happens, outlining the risks and requesting a meting to discuss the issue and find solutions so that it does not happen again. I would cc it to the Superintendant.

Try to arrange a meeting with your husband also present.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
:frightened OMG!!! You didn't drop the ball...the SCHOOL should be aware of his allergies and at his age not put the burden on him to remember to never ever ever eat food not ok'd by you. WOW!! I am so thankful he didn't have a reaction. Susan has given great responses...I'll just 'ditto' what she says. HUGE HUGS Becky, I'm sure your heart stopped for a second or two. :huggy

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DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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