More on Peanut Policies

By Heather Legg

I was conferencing with my daughter’s new third grade teacher the other day. This is not my child who has the nut allergy, by the way, but it is the first time for her that she has had an allergy free class. So basically, it is the first time in my family that there is no need to worry about any type of food allergy.

This means my daughter can bring in peanut butter sandwiches for lunch or trail mix for a snack, where in past years we didn’t do anything with any foods anyone was allergic to. Having one allergic child, I know not only the risks, but also the respect of not sending something in if the parents have asked for it not to be. I know all parents are different and have different expectations, but asking a class to refrain from snacking (in the classroom) on something their child is deathly allergic to isn’t too much to ask.

This conversation led the teacher and I and the other room mom to another discussion: the teacher’s child. Her three year old son is allergic to nuts and peanuts. Of course, she worries about him and knows not only the risks of his allergy, but appropriate things to ask for. She is a bit discouraged (not to mention scared and nervous) because there are no peanut policies at his preschool.

And this is preschool! When toddlers eat peanut butter it’s not like adults eating it. All of the peanut butter does not get into their mouths. It’s on their hands and then they touch the tables and toys, and then, well, her child has a good chance of touching the same thing and then putting his hands in his own mouth. I don’t blame her one bit for being angry and upset.

I don’t know if others have peanut policies in preschool, but it seems there should be something in place. At that age, they may not be able to identify or relate their symptoms if something does happen, or they don’t know as well to stay away.

It reminded me way back when of when my child was diagnosed, and it’s a very frightening thing. As they get older, it does become more manageable, at least for us it has. Kids become more responsible, food becomes more contained. But you still worry. As a parent, I don’t know that that will ever stop.

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