(This blog was taken from the website Parenting a Child With a Food Allergy. My comments are bold.)

Banning Peanuts Due to Allergies is Not the Answer

If you have been reading our blog for awhile, you know that we try to take a reasonable, practical approach to managing our childrens' food allergies. Every time I hear about parents demanding a "peanut free" school environment for their kids, I just shake my head. (You may need a neck brace when I'm done with you.)

The concept of a peanut-free school gives a false sense of security. (Banning peanuts doesn't take away the risk, moron. There is ALWAYS a risk, ALWAYS. No parent with a deathly allergic child is that fucking stupid or as uneducated as you. An epi-pen must ALWAYS be accessible.) It leads people to believe that the because the environment is "peanutfree," no exposure could happen. (Who thinks that? You? Not any parent I know with a child with an allergy.) And when it does happen, it leaves the adults responsible for a child a bit... well, flat footed. "Is this really a reaction? Should we give the Epi-pen? Maybe we should wait." (No fucking shit. Those questions are ALWAYS asked when anaphylaxis begins, no matter what. Do you not see that lessening those risks also lessens the amount of times someone has to ask those questions?) The result could be disasterous. (I'm glad you are beginning to understand the problem here.)

How would you really enforce a ban on peanuts in a situation where other kids bring their own lunch or snack? Peanut police? (Yes, the peanut police. Equip with badges on their arms.) I can hear the radio chatter now... "Ah, that's a 10-4 there, we've got a 10-28 here in sector 15. It's time to move in." (I'm glad you are finding humor in what is a controversial life and death matter.)

Further, the concept of telling another parent that they cannot feed their children peanut butter at school is just asking for a fight. (It's a fight many parents are willing to fight. But then again, you're the one cracking jokes when a child's life is being factored.) You want other parents to understand your child's food allergy and want to help. (I'm sure precious little Johnny would have a better understanding than you when he has to witness his 6yo best friend die next to him all because his mother couldn't pack him bologna sandwich instead of peanut butter.) Telling a parent what his/her child cannot have doesn't exactly envoke a spirit of cooperation. (I am not telling you that your child can't have peanuts, I'm asking for 1 meal a day, 5 days a week. You have the other 16 meals a week to do with what ever you please. Empathy could do you wonders in life.) Your goal should be to work with the school staff to raise awareness and provide education about food allergies and the truth about anaphylaxis. (Really? I didn't know I should educate all those people. I was just planning on sending my deathly allergic child to school without educating anyone. Great plan, eh! Now we'll head back to reality. I will educate all that will listen with what may be shocking to you, but pages and pages of research that back up the theory to ban them. The problem isn't with the school, staff, or the students, it's with parents like YOU. I'm sure you know at least one; you feel that it is more important to eat a peanut than to help protect a child's life. Do you even KNOW what he hell anaphylaxis is? Do you KNOW how it's caused? Do you KNOW how it can be prevented? I'm guessing you don't.)

So what could you do that is a bit more practical? (Part of minimizing the risk is banning the peanuts in the school environment; doesn't THAT seem a little more practical?) Take common-sense measures to minimize the risks and to keep your child from feeling isolated. (Wow. I hadn't thought of that. Hence the fucking topic, dipshit.) Asking for peanut-free tables in classrooms and the cafeteria is a good start. Most importantly is training school staff how to recognize a reaction and how to administer the Epi-pen in an emergency. (I am not aware of anyone who wouldn't be educating the staff and wouldn't assure themselves that the staff did know how to administer an epi-pen.) That usually starts with the school nurse. (You might think the nurse is the obvious answer, but are you aware that not all schools have a FULL TIME nurse? Nurses often provide services to multiple schools. By the time the nurse could get back to the school, it could very well be too late. But by all means, let's not take any precautions in the first place since you enjoy keeping the risks through the roof.)

Also, you'll need to spend some time at the school. Look for new risk factors like the peanut free table being wiped with the same cloth that was just used to wipe down the other tables. (Do you seriously think the risks of cross contamination end here? What about the 100's of little bodies with two hands who are enjoying their much needed pb&j and NOT washing afterwards, and then proceeding to touch doors, walls, desks, pencils, toys, chalk…need I go on?) Suggest a different color cloth (bright, easy to remember) and maybe even go out and buy them for the school. (Your cutesy little idea doesn't solve the rest of the contamination issues.)

Make sure any notes sent home to parents asking them not to send food containing peanuts is written with a concerned but not panicked tone. (This is the only solid sentence in your whole blabbering sense of entitlement to a human life.) People don't really go out of their way to help "that mom."  (Call me "that mom" all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a child's life on the line, and I can guarantee that if you were actually educated on the topic at hand, you'd be on the "child's life" side as well.)

And please show sincere appreciation to teachers and the school's staff for their efforts. They are your eyes and ears when you can't be there. Your child's safety at school depends on them. (Hot damn, you're a smart one aren't you?! Let's let ONE teacher be in charge of 25 kids – more in the cafeteria – and their peanut butter habits. Smart thinking, I've got to hand it to you.)

(Of course, the obvious answer is literally printed boldly in front you, but you'll still feel the need to send that trail mix with Johnny because, god damn it, it's your right to send what ever you want to feed your kid! Just a word to the wise, my kid has a right to live, feed your kid peanuts at home.)

The key to avoid an allergy induced anaphylaxis: education, prevention, and more education.

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Jun. 3, 2008 at 9:23 PM

Take my poll on peanut ban.


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