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Allergen free policy at school

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#1 Allergy smallergy

Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:56 PM

I realise there is an Allergy section here, but this is equally a question to people who don't have allergies as well as those with.

Does your child's school have an allergen free policy?   What do you think of it?  Do you think it's fair to make other families change their way of eating to cater to one child with anaphylaxis?  Do you think a class ban is more acceptable than a whole school one?

If you are a parent of an ANA child, did you find it more comforting to have a complete school or class ban of the particular food?  Or how else have you managed it?  How far do you go in protecting your child?

In particular, parents who've had to deal with an ANA reaction with their child, the fear of seeing them purple and struggling to breathe, does going to school in the absence of a ban worry you?

Thank you.

#2 Snot stew

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

Mine don't have allergies, but no, it doesn't bother me that there are some foods that are not allowed at school.  There are plenty of alternatives and they can have the other foods at home.

It's a no brainer for me.

#3 Funwith3

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:03 PM

My children thankfully have no allergies. Both my daughters LOVE peanut butter. Sometimes making school lunches becomes a real pain but I 100% support our school's "no nuts" policy. Imagine my child eats her peanut butter sandwich, gets it on her hands and then plays on the monkey bars. Poor little anaphylactic child comes along for a swing on the monkey bars and there you have it - that's how easily it's transferred.

Pointless to ban just one class.

I just imagine if it was my child, I would want everyone's cooperation. After all, for some kids it's a matter of life and death.

#4 tenar

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:08 PM

I think it gets tricky when you have to ban several different things that different children are allergic to.  So it's not just nuts, but also eggs, shellfish, whatever.  

Not sure what the answer is to that one.  Surely the children who are allergic to eggs or dairy or wheat or whatever have just as much of a right to be safe at school as those allergic to nuts.  

Agreed that it's a care of needing cooperation.  And thanks, EB, for discussing this issue often enough that I have learned more than I would have without that.  DD1 has a child in her class at kindy this year who is allergic to nuts, fish and eggs.  Without EB I wouldn't have known that having these things for breakfast could be a problem, etc.  So we'll be more careful because of the people here who discuss it.

#5 Allergy smallergy

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:15 PM

There are no current bans at the school but each class has it's own policies.  This particular class will be peanut and egg free (two different children).

#6 ~sydblue~

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:18 PM

Our school has no bans and as far as I know, never have.

#7 Lyra

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:18 PM

My child eats twice a day at school. It's pretty easy to put together something that is nut free (or egg and nut or whatever) for one snack and one lunch. I would hate to have to deal with it all the time. It really is no big deal and I can't understand why other people have a problem with it

I also think that it's better to have a school ban rather than a class ban. It's just easier to manage and doesn't single out one child in particular

#8 Juki

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:18 PM

At our daycare we have no nuts, strawberries, kiwi fruit or eggs I think. I don't have a problem with it and I think it is fair.

#9 Guest_Lilybird_*

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:30 PM

dd doesn't have any known allergies, but when she goes to school if there is a ban on nuts, eggs, whatever, i don't have a problem with it.

I think most parents agree, that a childs life far outweighs any preference my child has for a peanut butter sandwich at lunchtime!

#10 mumoftwoboys

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:30 PM

As a parent of  a 3 year old who is allergic to nuts the whole school issue is a worry. Child care is nut free and all food made on site.
I am not sure about a class ban.
The schools management of serious food allergies will be something I will consider in deciding where to send him.  Nut free would be preferred for me but also hoping with age he will be able to self manage as well.

#11 Fenrir

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:32 PM

I can only speak as to QLD but there is no enforceable allergy ban in any school. They can ask and strongly suggest and give very good reasons why but it cannot be enforced.

Do you think it's fair to make other families change their way of eating to cater to one child with anaphylaxis?

Do you think your child's right to peanut butter toast trumps another child's right to live?

#12 mommyoffour

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:34 PM

My youngest had a bad egg allergy when she was a baby, but she grew out of it. We are vegan or vegetarian in our family anyway, so it really doesn't make a difference to me to think of others when preparing food. Not at all unreasonable, imo.

But then I understand ppl being stumped by dietary requirements -- it requires a bit of creativity until you're used to it. (Eg, some ppl have never tried quinoa, chickpeas, tofu or lentils, so it wouldn't come naturally to sub these for nuts or dairy/egg).

I think education and meal ideas might go some way to easing in multiple restrictions.

#13 bikingbubs

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:39 PM

My kids arent at school, but when they start I will have no problems adhering to rules/bans regarding allergies.  Im sure they can live without whatever it is during the day.

#14 tily

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:42 PM

My daughter is ANA to tree nuts, only recently diagnosed. Her school is nut free. I actually wish it wasn't so people aren't so complacent and so she has to be more careful. Her specialist agrees that bans don't work ad people break them .

#15 Allergy smallergy

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:55 PM

tily, why do you think a ban won't work?  If people do break them, wouldn't that mean less risk of exposure than if every child was allowed to bring the food to school?  

What other practices would keep a child safe?  Who is responsible for ensuring all children wash their hands and faces after eating to keep the ANA child safe?

#16 deejie

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:58 PM

DS1 is ANA to peanut and egg with other mild-moderate food allergies as well.

ASCIA (Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) does not recommend blanket food bans in schools for several reasons, including that of a false sense of security and complacency when there may be non-compliance with the policy by parents.

There is a fine line between young children needing to independently develop knowledge and strategies to avoid ingestion of an allergen but possibly increasing the risks to their health by allowing an environment where this can take place.

In my opinion, schools have a duty of care to their students. Every student has the right to a safe environment and in some instances, I believe class bans are appropriate.

#17 red_squirrel

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

My kids don't have food allergies but I support the various food bans at our school. i.e. no nuts for whole school and a couple of classes have specific banned foods, for less common allergies, due to one child in the class.

What price for a child's life? It's not hard to avoid foods.

Edited by red_squirrel, 05 February 2013 - 08:03 PM.

#18 Funwith3

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:01 PM

QUOTE (tily @ 05/02/2013, 08:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My daughter is ANA to tree nuts, only recently diagnosed. Her school is nut free. I actually wish it wasn't so people aren't so complacent and so she has to be more careful. Her specialist agrees that bans don't work ad people break them .

But surely you agree that a ban is better than no ban??  unsure.gif

If the ban is not adhered to by one or two parents (unintentionally i would have to assume), then at least just one child bringing a peanut butter sandwich to school is safer than 50 peanut butter sandwiches.

It's like every rule, people will always break them. But they still work for the majority.

Also, just from reading this thread I'm really shocked at how many schools are NOT nut free!!   ohmy.gif I really thought it was standard across the country.

#19 eachschoolholidays

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:08 PM

QUOTE (deejie @ 05/02/2013, 08:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ASCIA (Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) does not recommend blanket food bans in schools for several reasons, including that of a false sense of security and complacency when there may be non-compliance with the policy by parents.

I'm a high school teacher and an immunology nurse from Westmead Children's Hospital came to run our anaphalaxis training last week.  She said that they don't advise schools to ban any food.

Edited by nlman, 05 February 2013 - 08:14 PM.

#20 Allergy smallergy

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:10 PM

niman, what do they recommend instead?

#21 ~~~

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:15 PM

QUOTE (deejie @ 05/02/2013, 08:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ASCIA (Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) does not recommend blanket food bans in schools for several reasons, including that of a false sense of security and complacency when there may be non-compliance with the policy by parents.

This is one of the things that I think impacts the school environment the most re: allergies. We have over 700 students and I know personally of other children who have brought Nutella to school etc, even though there may be a restriction or "ban" etc. Class ban, yes I think that is more feasible, smaller group to educate etc, but the enforcement of a school wide ban is just too hard. Who is going to check ingredients/lunchboxes? Unfortunately I think that on a practical and enforceable level, school wide "bans" will never be 100% effective.

How many parents still send their kids to school with muesli bars, which contain nuts, or are processed in factories where nut contamination may take place? Would children be forced to wash their hands and faces at the gates in the morning in case they had peanut butter etc? I am grateful that DD has only a moderate nut allergy and that we haven't had to deal with ANA. I can't imagine how scary it is for parents with ANA kids.

I agree that every child has the right to an education, but the enforcement of a total ban of whatever allergen, I just can't see that being possible.

#22 Allergy smallergy

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:17 PM

To the previous poster, would you be ok with a class ban?  Do you think that is feasible or is that also creating a false sense of security?

#23 JRA

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:18 PM

Does any school have an allergen free policy.

Surely anything can be illicit an allergy reaction, the most obvious, and one of the most deadly being a bee sting.

So surely a school would have a policy regarding certain items, rather than allergen free

#24 JRA

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:18 PM

Does any school have an allergen free policy.

Surely anything can be illicit an allergy reaction, the most obvious, and one of the most deadly being a bee sting.

So surely a school would have a policy regarding certain items, rather than allergen free

#25 Fenrir

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:18 PM

FWIW - even though I would comply with a ban I don't think they are a good idea as per PP's

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