Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Food Allergies

I mentioned in my first post that my son has food allergies. He is allergic to eggs, peanut and tree nuts. We are hopeful that he will out grow these allergies in time. We carry an epi-pen with us, because you can never tell how a child will react to their allergen, especially nuts. I have been struggling with the idea of putting C into a school setting, and mostly because of food allergies. Right now, he is with my mom every day, and my mother-in-law once a week, and we trust them both 100%...but how can I trust teachers, even if I know them?

I was reading another blog, http://vickysickies.blogspot.com/, written by a local mom who has children with different allergies in the public school system. Her daughter has food allergies, and she, along with other parents in the area, are working hard to fight for Food Allergy Awareness. One post really made me sad and even more apprehensive about putting C anywhere other than with family. She writes about how hard it is to make sure all children are safe with food being served in the classroom (not just food allergy issues, but other dietary restrictions as well.) I actually started to cry reading this particular post because I was picturing C sitting in class with his friends, waiting to celebrate a birthday...but he's not actually sitting with his friends, he's sitting at a table of his own (to reduce the risk of cross-contamination,) eating a rice krispy treat while the rest of the kids are eating cupcakes.

Is making classrooms food free the right thing to do? I can see how some would say no, why should their child be punished because of my child's food allergies? To which, I have to ask, why should my child be punished for something he cannot help? He cannot help the fact that he has food allergies. He cannot help the fact that eggs make him break out in hives or that accidentally eating the smallest sliver of a peanut might make him stop breathing. Is it fair to take cupcakes and other treats away from the children who CAN eat all these foods with no restrictions? I say yes. Yes because it is taking something away from ALL children, and not just the 1 or 2 that have dietary restrictions. What's wrong with having the birthday kids parents come in a read a special book, or if they can't come in, send in a special book for the teacher to read. Or something else just as fun that ALL children can enjoy, not just some.

Would it really be so horrible for children to not have junk food while at school? Not thinking about dietary restrictions and food allergies for a minute, wouldn't taking unhealthy snacks and rewards away help with childhood obesity? Kids love stickers and stickers are cheap, that's all I have to say about that!

Enjoy this picture of my wonderful little guy enjoying the completely safe birthday cake his Nanny made him :)


  1. Great post! I am also a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) for Loudoun County Public Schools. I have been advocating for all kids with disabilities including food allergies. The SEAC have welcomed "us" with open arms as both families of children with developmental disabilities and food allergies find themselves in a similar struggle with their school. For example Individualized Education Plan and Health Care Plans not being implemented and/or full inclusion in the classrooms.

    I was approached by several families in our meeting last week about the new food guidelines. They are very supportive as they do not like the idea of candy and junk being given to their non-food allergic child without their knowledge or consent. Many of them have children, that when given too much processed foods, can have emotional outbursts or a change in personality or ability to learn.

    Keep up the great posts! Your son is a cutie pie!


  2. Haha, he definitely looks like he's on a crazy sugar high in those pictures!

    This is something that I think must be one of the hardest things to struggle with as a parent. I agree about all or nothing for kids - it's not fair for a few to get something and others to get none. I think you're so strong and feel free to share or vent as much as you need to here!

  3. I felt really strongly about this post and agree with your thoughts about not bringing food into the classroom. As a teacher, it's very hard to know every single thing about your students, bringing food allergies into the mix is another thing to remember and also fear, because if something is brought into the classroom and shared between two students, even in a hallway, you have no knowledge of it happening and can be liable for what happens to your students. That's a very scary thing!