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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
I am a Teacher On Call and also the parent of a peanut/nut allergic student. In the past two days (two different schools) I have come across two incidents where an allergic student ate the trest handed out although they did not know the ingredients.
In the first case the mother was the lunch monitor. She was beside herself to find that her child had eaten a homemade chocolate chip cookies. The family had the rules of not eating when you don't know the rules but wanted to be part of the group.
Yesterday I had a kindergarten student who was given a candy by the grade one teacher after visiting the class to get ready for next year. He was chewing it when he came back to our class. I knew he had peanut allergy but knew nothing about what he was eating. I watched him closely and fortunately their was no reaction this time.When I checked with the teacher who had given the treats we discovered their was a may contain warning on the candy package. She was horrified as the prospect of this being a problem had not occurred to her.I let her know where the same type of candies with peanut-free labels could be found in town.

Both of these children knew but ate anyway. I checked with the teacher of the girl who ate the cookie and discovered the impression given was the girl was a little bit allergic and the mom over reactive. I stuck my neck out and told of my own experience as the parent of an allergic child,how terrifying it really is to not know if they will have a reaction and how each reaction can be very different. It was good to be able to offer support to a terrified mom. I remember all to well being the mom that spoke up when no one else would and being regarded as over the top.

I think simple adjustments in routines could really help. If birthday treats are to be given out then notification needs to be given a few days before so the allergic child can have a safe treat sent for them.I always had cupcakes in the freezer ready to go.
Teachers should avoid candy treats and use nonfood rewards or activities to create the positive experience for all.

What is working for you?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6465
Location: Ottawa
Wow! :frightened
We had an incident like this when my daughter was in JK, even though we had an individual anaphylaxis plan indicating that they are not to do such a thing. A quick look on the school forum will reveal several such threads. When are schools going to start recognizing that they are placing children's lives in jeopardy? :scratchy

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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 16, 2012 8:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 9:47 am
Posts: 305
Location: Montreal, Canada
That's awful. I know children are not adults but they need to be responsible for what they put in their mouth. I know my mother drilled ino my head that I should never, EVER, eat something she did not pack for me that I never did it. And back in the days, when I was 5, there was no Epipen (or at least, my panrets did not know about it). I was scared of needles (still don't like them much) and remembered vividly my last reaction that required a few shots so I obeyed my mom.

That beeing said, I am all for schools having to be more responsible because they are the adults. They should know better. As far as I am concerned , all schools should be peanut free. Thhe world should be peanut free. But that's my utopia :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
My kid is very responsible. Sometimes it bothers me that she HAS to be so. It seems to me that the teachers should be as responsible as they expect their young charges to be... :banghead

Honestly, if a teacher is not able to stand up to the pressure of the parents, if they can't think of anything else to offer, if they want everything to be fun....if they are like this, how do they expect a 5-6 year old to be more mature? :scratchy

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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 16, 2012 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
_Susan_ wrote:
My kid is very responsible. Sometimes it bothers me that she HAS to be so. It seems to me that the teachers should be as responsible as they expect their young charges to be... :banghead


Very true Susan! Our kids should not be put in that situation. There is no need for food in the learning environment. The only exception to me would be a breakfast program which could be done outside of the classroom.

youngvader - the tough part about the food bans is that for someone else it is dairy (think yogurt, milk, ice cream etc...) and too many people do not understand that there are other life-threatening allergies beyond the peanut. My daughter is allergic to tree nuts and the majority of times that we ask about tree nuts in foods we get a response about peanuts which is not applicable!

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
I should have clarified that the cookie treats were given out when the students were eating lunch not during class time. There are several paid adult supervisors who circulate rooms. The teacher was not in the room. The parent on duty was the parent of the allergic student who took a cookie.
I am hearing a bit of teacher bashing and really this is not a solution. It takes a school community all being on board to create a safe environment. In my experience even though the teacher has rules about when treats can be given out not all students think this applies to them. Why did a parent send treats without ingredient labels? Usually mishaps are the result of people going about their own routines and not realizing that this can hurt someone else. Awareness and education are really still needed.

Students need to have consistent rules, no exceptions to avoid mistakes.

I do see candy still being used as rewards. When I checked with the teacher who distributed the candy she was horrified that it hadn't occurred to her a student might be allergic. I doubt she will use that reward again.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:44 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Cathie, it's not teacher bashing so much as school boards not educating all school employees.

My daughter started school when Sabrina's Law was first implemented in Ontario. I niavely thought it was automatically go to keep my child safe. I came to realize that there is a huge learning period for those who do not live this 24/7.

Some of those teachers who put my daughter at risk back then are dearly trusted trusted teachers now. Most go into education because they truly want to nurture young minds. They would not place children at risk if they understood the situation. It is up to us to ensure that they do understand. They simply can't fall back on what worked 15-20 years ago.

Principals need to enforce policies & procedures and ensure that staff are given the time and training that they need. It needs to come from the top. They need to have money and time budgeted for this. This is why we require legislation! Without it, it ends up on the wish list.

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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 17, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 647
Location: AB, Canada
I don't know what the answer is, and am sick over it. I've posted a few times about my son being given food at school without permission. I always have safe snacks available for him (kept with his teacher, mini mars bars, lollipops etc...).

I am not THAT old, and I'm sure teachers did not hand out baked goods at school, and kids did not bring cake/cupcakes. We had those at parties, not during class time. I would be so happy if school would go to a 'no food' policy, but it doesn't seem like there is any movement in that direction.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 9:47 am
Posts: 305
Location: Montreal, Canada
Quote:
youngvader - the tough part about the food bans is that for someone else it is dairy (think yogurt, milk, ice cream etc...) and too many people do not understand that there are other life-threatening allergies beyond the peanut


By all means. I did not meant to imply peanuts was the only allergy to be taken into account. If a child's life is at risk, the food should be banned.

It is hard to manage but there are more and more allergic kids. When I was in elementary school back in the early 80's, I was the only "weirdo" with food allergies. Besides me, no one had ever heard of that was my parents reply most of the time. So my my mom drilled me like a military sergeant because she could not rely on the adults in place, even though she went to see, called, and wrote the school autorithies more time than I can count.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:43 pm
Posts: 75
Unfortunately children with allergies do have to be a bit more "grown up" than the average child. When I started school I was told not to eat food that wasn't mine because it could kill me. It sounds harsh but did I eat food that wasn't mine? Nope. Not even food that the teacher had brought for the class.

And all through my schooling days we always had parties, etc with food. Especially in high school, other students would bring baking in all the time. By then I grew out of my nut allergy (thankfully) but I still didn't eat it unless it was a close friend of mine. I mean...it is high school kids baking..... :?

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Moi: Pineapples, Turkey and Asthma.
Fiance: Ana. to Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts/Nuts and Horse. Also has asthma.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 926
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Quote:
When I started school I was told not to eat food that wasn't mine because it could kill me.

I actually think these harsh words are very wise. I have not said this to my son, but tomorrow his class (grade 4) is having "International Food Day" (sigh... it never ends). I am worried about this day, so for the first time ever, I think I am going to use your parents words because I am worried he might eat something he shouldn't. He ate a freezie at-a recent fund raiser held at the school (Jump Rope for Heart) and I absolutely could not believe it! Yes, it ended up being safe (as I found out after the fact) and he did read the ingredients (which I'm proud of him for), but we all know how warnings can appear in fine print, and sometimes even adults miss this. It just bugs me so much that food continues to show up unannounced, no matter how many times the school claims they are food free!!! So, as harsh as these words are, when kids start getting older (and let's face it, they are not monitored as closely... I know this happens because I volunteer quite a bit and there's a big difference when kids hit grade 4 vs kindergarden up to grade 2 or 3. Grade 4's are expected to be more independent, and they are!) but they still might eat something they shouldn't!! We drill it into our son's head like you wouldn't believe, so I just couldn't believe he went ahead and ate the freezie!!! I want to empower him to be independent, but when it comes to food and eating at school, the idea of him eating something that did not come from home, without my knowledge or permission completely freaks me out. Normally I go in for food-related events, but I can't make it in this Friday, so I will have to resort to "it could kill you" for this event. :( At his golf lesson yesterday, the kids were all given popsicles at the end, and sure enough, the popsicles said "May contain peanuts" so my husband was there and the coaches offered him a juice instead. So, even popsicles can be unsafe, as can freezies.

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15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 647
Location: AB, Canada
I'm so sorry Julie. When the soccer coach handed out freezies the other day and I raced over to check the ingredients, other parents thought I was nuts (pun intended?). I told them I was paranoid about ingredients due to a severe peanut allergy, they (nicely) said 'who would think that water, sugar food colouring could have peanuts in them'.

In an odd way it makes me feel a bit better that your son mad a mistake (I don't mean that in an offensive way at all!!), I was so upset at my gr 2 son for eating pancakes at school a few weeks ago. I never got angry with him, but was deeply disappointed that he would do such a thing.

I have also not used the 'could kill you' phrase, but might have to as he acquires more freedoms. :(

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
I can really empathize with your situations. My peanut/nut allergic daughter never ate anything given out at school or parties. The rule that helped us was "if it did not come from home don't eat it." There will be something safe for you when you get home. I didn't tell her outright that she might die but she knew. She had been shown the Alexander videos and had known Mom checked all new products to find out the ingredients before we tried them.
The rule that also helped if you do not have an epipen you do not eat.
Consistency was important to prevent confusion.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 926
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Hi Cathie, Yes, that is our very strict rule at home too. That's why I just couldn't believe our son ate the Freezie at school! And I couldn't believe his teacher let him eat the Freezie! I'm guessing that the reason he may have eaten it is because our son had eaten a Freezie, with us, at a neighbours just days before, so he must have thought, these are safe! Plus there is a label on the freezie, so he could read that. I'm not sure at what age people feel children are capable of fully making these decisions on their own, and obviously it depends on the maturity of the child. But, for us, our son, at 10 years of age, does not fully have that maturity to read and understand labels. We read them together, so he is coming along, but I do not want him eating food, away from home, that we, or another trusted adult have not determined to be safe. And NEVER at school!!! My daughter's teachers, in grade 7, still give out occasional food rewards (Fuzzy Peach, Twizzlers... things that have no peanut) but they still have kids reaching into the bag for their treat, with unwashed hands, and why do kids need food treats at school! My daughter was worried about one of her friends, newly diagnosed this year with a peanut/tree nut (and others, including orange and cucumber) allergy going up to accept her Fuzzy Peach treat because she wouldn't yet have the knowledge of cross-contamination and the risk reaching into the same bag. Anyway, this school is supposed to be food-free, which it isn't! This is why we have to work so hard to teach our food-allergic child not to eat foods that are offered at school (or elsewhere), but sometimes there is that gray area... they recognize the food, there is a label, they ate it a few days ago... you know, it's tough.

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15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
Once kids are a bit older, an alternative to the "could kill you" message is the inconvenience and embarassment factor.

When my daughter was 12, she went into anaphylaxis where her blood pressure was dropping and she was dizzy and agitated. We used the epi, called 911 and then the ambulance arrived with 3 paramedics and the firetruck with 4 firefighters. Although the ambulance was there first, the firefighters had to ensure that the situation was okay before they could leave so we briefly had 7 emergency people in our home. We went to emergency and had to stay for 6 hours.

Now, as a teenager she doesn't like people talking about her allergies nor does she like the "could kill you" aspect as they hear so much about dying between presentations/lectures on drug and alcohol, suicide, train safety, texting and driving etc. She knows it can happen but it just becomes too much sometimes. So instead, I frame it with do you want all of your classmates/teammates/bandmates/friends to see you almost passing out and needing paramedics? Do you want to have to spend 6 hours in emergency? Do you want to miss the movie/party/event just because you had to eat that cookie?

Dying is a difficult concept sometimes whereas missing out on the immediate special event or pure embarassment in front of peers can be more relatable. As I typed about the paramedics etc I wondered at what age that would change from "Wow, cool, they're for me!" to "Eek! I'm so embarassed!".

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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