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"Please DONT bring snacks to the playground".

Posted by Anonymous   + Show Post

 Kids And Food Allergies: Please Don't Bring Snacks To The Playground

2012-07-03-slatelogo.jpg | Posted: 04/23/2013 3:23 pm EDT | Updated: 04/24/2013 6:28 pm EDT

Playground Allergies
 

Spring came to St. Louis a little later this year than it usually does, and the playgrounds where I go with my children are finally overrun with joyful kids. They're also overrun with food. Other parents may not notice that fact, but I do: My 2-year-old daughter, Claire, is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and dairy, and many common playground snacks would be dangerous to her if she ate them.

I don't think it's an overstatement to say that allergic families live in a parallel universe in which what is harmless to everyone else requires extreme vigilance from us. In the months after Claire's diagnosis, my relationship to food changed so much that I felt as if I had woken up one day, still living in the same country I'd always lived in, but that I could no longer speak the language. Around other families -- at a picnic for my husband's colleagues and their families, for example -- when I watched other children handle food, I felt like they were holding tiny snakes. Maybe the snakes were poisonous and maybe they weren't; maybe they'd escape, and maybe they wouldn't. But this is the comparison that's ultimately stayed with me: Being the parent of a child with food allergies is like someone suddenly telling you the colors orange and gray are harmful to your child. I can guarantee that you'd soon realize orange and gray are everywhere.

On a recent afternoon trip to the playground, I noticed the Goldfish crackers first. They were sprinkled, some already crushed to a powder, between a climbing toy and the swing set -- presumably a snack that some kid had spilled. When we got home, my husband told me he'd also seen an almond by one of the slides. The next weekend, at a different playground, two open containers of melting milkshakes sat on the miniature metal picnic table, and leftover Easter candy dotted the mulch. After my 4-year-old daughter, who doesn't have allergies, kept trying to surreptitiously pocket little chocolates, I finally picked them up with a tissue -- I didn't know if they contained nuts -- and threw them away myself.

One of the first things that I realized after Claire's allergies were diagnosed, shortly before her first birthday, was that I had to accept the fact that the world is full of people who just ate a peanut-butter sandwich and didn't wash their hands. There's a lot I can't control. But I am hopeful that if parents of nonallergic kids had a better understanding of how scary their children's ostensibly harmless snacks are, they might act differently.

So here is my plea: If your child snacks at the playground, please don't let her run around while she's eating. Please don't leave the food unattended and accessible to other kids. If your child spills, help her clean it up. And after she's finished, please use wipes to wash her hands, not antibacterial gel; hand sanitizer doesn't kill the proteins in most foods that cause allergic reactions, and tiny amounts of such proteins can literally be lethal.

How much of a threat does, say, a little boy munching yogurt-covered pretzels really pose to Claire? The biggest risk, of course, is that she'll get hold of one and eat it, which would likely cause her to break out in hives; my great fear, the great fear of any parent of an allergic child, is that it would result in fatal anaphylaxis. (Among the many confusing aspects of food allergies is that previous reactions aren't necessarily predictors of subsequent reactions in terms of severity.) Claire also has a contact reaction to dairy, meaning that her skin breaks out in a rash in the places where dairy has touched it without her having ingested any. If I thought the chances of any of these reactions occurring were truly high, I wouldn't take Claire to playgrounds in the first place. But still, whenever allergenic food is present, it's nerve-wracking.

The eight most common allergens, accounting for as many as 90 percent of all allergies, are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. As every parent of an allergic child knows, these ingredients hide in surprising places -- there can be milk in potato chips, say, and manufacturers often make dried fruit on the same equipment with nuts -- and I don't think it's realistic to expect people to pore over ingredient labels if they don't need to. That's why my preference would be for kids to avoid eating food at playgrounds altogether, but I understand this possibility is probably about as likely as my laundry washing itself or me having a moms' night out with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. If you do bring snacks, something like fresh fruit is statistically less likely to cause problems than donuts or cheese sticks-though of course statistics aren't much comfort to the dad of a kid who's allergic to strawberries.

If I seem here like a particular kind of parent -- a fussy, hovering, self-righteous priss -- let me say this: I kind of am. But the fact that we live in the Age of the Irritating Parent shouldn't be conflated with the rise of allergies. According to the advocacy organization Food Allergy Research and Education, 1 in 13 American children under age 18 now has a food allergy, as does 1 in 10 preschoolers. The food-allergy rate in the U.S. rose 18 percent between 1997 and 2007. It's true that I happen to be a neurotic mom. It's also true, as demonstrated by skin tests, blood tests, food challenges in the doctor's office, and accidental exposures, that my daughter has a serious medical condition.

So the fact that I wish parents wouldn't let their newly walking toddler stagger around the sandbox with that sloshing sippy cup of milk or their 7-year-old practice his throw with Ritz Bits -- I promise it's not that I'm trying to tell them how to raise their kids. They probably just want to keep them fed to prevent a meltdown, which I sympathize with. (For the same reason, we bring fruit squeezers for the ride home.) And I wouldn't presume to instruct parents what to do at their own house. You do not need to bake and serve a vegan cake at a birthday party. (Claire brings her own cupcake.) I realize all bets are off at a restaurant, which is why our family doesn't go to them. But in the communal space of a playground, food isn't the main attraction.

Many times since I became a mother, I've been struck by the effortless bonding among parents. On an airplane when Claire was about 7 months old, she had a disgustingly messy diaper on a bumpy flight during which passengers weren't supposed to get up from their seats. The woman next to me, rather than holding her nose and glaring, offered to hold Claire's head and torso while I changed her. As it happens, the woman didn't speak fluent English, but she managed to convey that she, too, had a daughter.

It is this spirit of generosity and compassion that I hope to appeal to in persuading parents to handle food at playgrounds more carefully. Obviously, the circumstances of our lives vary widely, but all of us with children are trying in our own best way to look out for them. The next time you bring food to the playground, please think about what you would hope other people would do if your child was in Claire's situation.

Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 26, 2013 at 8:38 PM
Replies (121-130):
angelachristine
by Platinum Member on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:41 AM
our playground has picknick benches and grills so we often bring food. we clean up after ourselves and don't leave garbage or take food into the play area. I'm not going to change just to suit kids who may or may not be allergic to something.

mich.el.le
by on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:43 AM
1 mom liked this

Both sides are ridiculous. Wanting people not to bring snacks to the ground..ridiculous. Making rude comments that the mother of the child with allergies should keep her ''special snowflake'' home or in a bubble...bitchy, rude and pathetic.

illinoismommy83
by on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Lol, I could see the news article now... "Crazy lady goes door to door, demanding residents chop down their apple trees!" Lol. In the 80s the school system told me "then don't touch apples or share food" and shockingly it worked. I didn't need an allergy table or a magical park all to myself. I just kept my hands to myself and practiced good hygiene. 

Quoting RobinBright:

Nope.  You would be a precious snowflake if you insisted that the world be eradicated of apples because you are allergic.  You would be a precious snowflake if you demanded that your zipcode be declared an apple-free-zone.  You are a normal human being if you address your allergy by avoiding the allergen as best as you can control.  

I'm allergic to penicillin.  I don't demand that the pharmacy stop selling it because of a risk of cross-contamination.  Life doesn't work that way. 


Quoting illinoismommy83:

I'm deathly allergic to apples and cannot even pick one up. May I use the term snowflake?

Quoting Anonymous:

I hope your child developes severe food allergies...


Quoting RobinBright:

Precious snowflake. Allergies suck, but they don't come with a right to dictate where/what people can eat in public.





SpnFulOfSugar
by on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Honestly I will continue brining snacks. I am not responsible for anyone's child but my own.
ColieO
by Ruby Member on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Sick kids don't bother me. Germs are good.

Quoting Anonymous:

Oh yeah. Lol!! Okay! Well, I will be excited to read the next "don't bring your kid out when he's sick!" Post.



Quoting ColieO:

Seeing as how a playground is in an open area, it's really quite simple to move them a few feet.





Quoting Anonymous:

Would it piss you off if Soneone brought their sick child to school or to the park to cough all over your kid???







Quoting ColieO:

No. I'm sorry. School is one thing. I will not allow anyone to dictate what I can and cannot eat in public. Will not happen. You have a problem, keep your kid at home. My life does not revolve around strangers.
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Anonymous
by Anonymous 23 on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Oh I'm disgusting to expect respect? I'm disgusting for wanting to protect my son? That dose of reality could KILL my child, my nephew, my cousin... My kid shouldn't be put at risk so some kid can have a PB&J. It's discrimination.

"If your kids have allergies home school."

"If your kids have allergies don't take them to restaurants."

"If your kid has allergies don't take them to the park."

Sounds similar to...

"If your kids black don't let them use my water fountain."

"If your kids Mexican don't sit on my bus."

"If you have a girl keep her off the football team."

YOU ARE FUCKING DISGUSTING!


Quoting ColieO:

You're a disgusting person.



Let me guess, you have a precious snowflake of your own who you think everyone should walk on eggshells around? God forbid they have a dose of reality.




Quoting Anonymous:

I hope your child developes severe food allergies...






Quoting RobinBright:

Precious snowflake. Allergies suck, but they don't come with a right to dictate where/what people can eat in public.


Anonymous
by Anonymous 23 on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:50 AM
Is that what I said? No. But your attitude sucks. You should be more understanding because of your situation especially. If you could prevent it why wouldn't you try?



Quoting RobinBright:

lol, you wish harm on a child?  Good for you.  

My 4 year old has severe asthma and chronic bronchitis, and most of his flareups are attributable to airborn irritants-- namely, pollen and smoke.  (I'm taking ambulance-to-the-peds'-unit flareups, not the kind that can be handled with an inhalor or a neb at home.)  Does that mean I should be demanding that smoking on public streets be outlawed because it has landed him in the hospital on numerous occasions and could very well threaten his life?  

Should I be petitioning the parks' department and all of my neighbors to STOP GROWING GRASS!  My son's right to live trumps your right to landscape!

No.  I keep a careful watch of his pulseox levels, I avoid taking him to places where I cannot control what he comes into contact with, and I hope for the best. 

My kid, my problem.  I expect care and courtesy from family members-- ie, there is no smoking anywhere on our property, backyard, driveway, etc-- the kids do not go in the vehicles or homes of smokers-- but I can't demand that from strangers.  


Quoting Anonymous:

I hope your child developes severe food allergies...





Quoting RobinBright:

Precious snowflake. Allergies suck, but they don't come with a right to dictate where/what people can eat in public.






Anonymous
by Anonymous 27 on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:52 AM
1 mom liked this

and I'm hypoglycimic so the fresh fruit would spike my sugar rather then stablize it like say umm pb crackers. I really don't get moms like you. I myself am hypoglycimic & allergic to seafood & pinapple. SO is allergic to coconut. 6yr old allergic to blueberrys and bees.3yr old is allergic to tomatoes and onions, 8month old is allergic to tomato. 3 of us 6 are lactoce intollarent. Rather then complain about others we watch out for ourselves & our family. We don't hide. We don't live our lives in fear because if we did we wouldn't live.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 28 on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:52 AM
I don't think anybody understood the point being conveyed in the article.

How sad to see the complete lack of reading comprehension skills, as well as the lack of information processing skills.
ColieO
by Ruby Member on Apr. 27, 2013 at 11:53 AM
1 mom liked this
I get it. You're crazy. Ok.

Here's a crazy idea...

Be a parent. Teach your kid to protect themselves. Make them be responsible. I'm not telling you to keep your kid out of public, but the reality is that you cannot dictate how others live their lives. You cannot dictate what others eat. You cannot expect people to cater to your child. But you can absolutely be a responsible parent and teach your child how to take care of themselves.


Quoting Anonymous:

Oh I'm disgusting to expect respect? I'm disgusting for wanting to protect my son? That dose of reality could KILL my child, my nephew, my cousin... My kid shouldn't be put at risk so some kid can have a PB&J. It's discrimination.



"If your kids have allergies home school."



"If your kids have allergies don't take them to restaurants."



"If your kid has allergies don't take them to the park."



Sounds similar to...



"If your kids black don't let them use my water fountain."



"If your kids Mexican don't sit on my bus."



"If you have a girl keep her off the football team."



YOU ARE FUCKING DISGUSTING!




Quoting ColieO:

You're a disgusting person.





Let me guess, you have a precious snowflake of your own who you think everyone should walk on eggshells around? God forbid they have a dose of reality.






Quoting Anonymous:

I hope your child developes severe food allergies...








Quoting RobinBright:

Precious snowflake. Allergies suck, but they don't come with a right to dictate where/what people can eat in public.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
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