This evening I am babysitting a little girl with a nut allergy. Her sister also has a milk and soy allergy. This developed a conversation between me and DH and I was curious how this would play out on here.
In a classroom setting should all children with allergies be in the same class? Should the school have to provide an allergy free lunch, or should the parents need to pack a lunch and snack? Should other children be able to bring in allergy foods in their own lunch?
Ahhh... Hotly debated questions.
Grouping all the allergic kids together wouldn't be feasible in many settings. My kids school is far to small for something like that to work.
Should schools provided allergy free lunches? Schools here don't provide lunches or have cafeterias so I can't say. I would think not? However, my cousin had multiple anaphylaxis allergies and there is NO WAY she would eat food prepared by someone else. Way too high a risk of contacting something that could kill her.
While it is a pain to tailor my kids lunches to the allergies in the class, I don't mind because I recognize the dangers for those kids. Our school doesn't have an outright ban on nuts and things like that, but has separate rules for each class as needed, which I think is a reasonable way to deal with allergies. Last year DS didn't have any allergies in his class, but DD couldn't bring nuts or oranges.
I don't know if they serve any food with nuts at school. I hate the meals there but my son loves them so he does get them a couple of times a week. For me that issue depends on what the allergies are. I think if kids have wheat problems it's not fair to ban all wheat-based products. If a kid is very little then the teachers can help look after them and when they get older they know not to eat those things anyway. But you can't ban sandwiches school-wide.
As kids get older, it's often less of an issue as they are not going to take any risks, but until then, I think the community needs to help out how they can without going to unnecessary extremes, like banning everything.
The school shouldn't be responsible for having to provide an allergy-free lunch all the time. That's really the parents' job. I'd say if you have a large number of kids with the same allergy, it might make sense then.
I prefer a moderate approach based on the specifics of the kids and their situations, and not some school-wide policy that is meant to address any and all issues in one blow.
Laurie, mom to:
Nathaniel ( 11 ) and Juliet ( 7 )
Baking Adventures In A Messy Kitchen (blog)
See I think a nut allergy is a reasonable accommodation. But, how would you deal on a school wide basis with someone who was allergic to both milk and soy. That limits a HUGE amount of foods. I never even realised how many until I tried to cook something for this family. One the other hand, how sad for the child.
If a child has other dietary needs, parents need to send their food. I would be willing to avoid outright nuts, but milk, soy, wheat etc is pushing it because that is affecting nutricious food choices for all kids. My heart breaks for these kids with allergies. I cant imagine what they have to learn to endure and how left out they must feel sometimes.
My nephew has nut/milk/wheat/protien/EVERYTHING allergies... I am not sure how they handled it in school (I know he couldn't even use the soap at school bc it had milk product in it) but I know at home it was hard when we had family get togethers. My son is allergic to nuts and I just keep him away and have trained him to ask. Our elementary school has tables that are allergy free. we have one student that is so allergic that all of the kids have to come back from lunch and wash hands with soap (not sanitizer) after lunch because if they touch a pencil, book etc he can have a reaction. Young kids are almost used to it now and they handle it well in school. they just "go with it" as far as the ones that don't have the allergies because we have taught them the seriousness of it.
I'm fine with not sending peanuts/peanut-trace foods. Now what's gotten tough is that we're not even supposed to send things with milk/nuts/gluten - my boys loved taking granola bars and cereal bars (nut-free), but now those are out of the menu as well as most of the other easy snack things. I'm definitely having to get more creative!
Carolyn - 37
Wife to Chad - 39
Mom to Tom - 15
Nathan - 10
Things like peanut allergies where oil can be touched and breathed in and cause a reaction I'm okay with.
Things like everyone is gluten free because so and so is GF because he/she has Crohn's not okay with it. Parents responsibility to teach child to not eat other's food or food they didn't prepare.
Pretty much all Canadian schools are nut-free which I can understand and support. A lot of people think because I have food allergies it includes nuts but that is the one thing I am not allergic to. I grew up with a sister with a peanut allergy when it was pretty rare to have peanut allergies.
If it is an anaphylaxis reaction (like peanuts) I can see restricting it in the school, otherwise I do not think it is an issue. I have an anaphlytatic reaction to fish/shellfish but only if I touch it or someone touches me after having fish/shellfish. Other people can eat it in my presence but DH and Robbie can not eat it.
Sean (38 )
Robbie (8 )
Bailey (April 2, 2011)
"The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." Caroline Myss