So DD is 3 and is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame and intolerant of dairy. I'm starting to stress about her starting childcare and school.
Parents of kids with allergies, when did they start to really understand that there are foods that could kill them?
Teachers, how do they handle allergy kids in schools? I know there's no peanuts allowed, but what about nuts and sesame? Surely those aren't banned too? So do all kids get taught what the symptoms are to look out for allergy kids having a reaction at lunchtime when a teacher isn't around? Are all teachers trained to know the signs and how to use an epipen? Do they put all the allergy kids together in the one class so only 1 teacher and 1 set of kids have to assist in ensuring allergy kids are kept safe?
I'm starting to get very nervous!
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20-04-2015 21:57 #1
Allergies at school
Last edited by A-Squared; 20-04-2015 at 22:06.
20-04-2015 22:04 #2
I dont have an allergy child, but can imagine how terrifying it must be relying on other people to be aware.
As a side issue our school does not promote itself as nut free based on advice from the Royal Children's Hospital. Parents are very strongly encouraged NOT to send nuts to school. We get emails and notices in our newsletters almost every week but they do not promote the school as nut free because the teachers cannot ensure that a student does not have something containing nuts.
I am staggered at the amount of people who take the view that another kids allergy is not their problem and that if their child wants a peanut butter sandwich then they will send it.
good luck, i'm sure it will be a nerve wracking time until your little one is well aware of what she can and cant have.
20-04-2015 22:08 #3
What is the reasoning behind that advice?
20-04-2015 22:18 #4
It's part of mandatory first aid training in schools to know how to use epi pens and the like. All staff working at a school in SA would know how to use an epi pen.
Schools differ as to how they manage it, but all schools will have some sort of awareness procedure - for example, at our school we have medical information posted on the wall in every building, along with photographs of the student, the medical issue and protocol to follow.
Speaking for myself only, if I were to have a child with severe allergies in my class I would be working very closely with the parent to ensure I understood exactly what action I was supposed to take in an emergency. We have no nut allergies at our school, which is highly unusual, but I do have a student with severe deathly anaphylaxis to certain fruits, and we are extremely vigilant about this. Fwiw he knew from the day he started school that he was not to go near these fruits at all. We also educated his classmates and they knew it was better not to bring these fruits into the classroom. We also trained them to run and get an adult if he was in distress.
I always leave details of students with allergies in reliever notes if I'm going to be away as well.
From memory, the main issue with epi pens is the expiry date? Is that right? I do know in our First Aid training they stress that it's important for students to have an epi pen of their own at all times that all staff/students know where to find it in the scenario that the school epi pen is being used, which I guess is feasible if someone brings nuts to school.
I understand how difficult it must be to entrust others with your DD, and most schools should be very accommodating of your concerns and be willing to share their policies with you. It might be worth role playing with your daughter what she can say/do in different scenarios (ie someone wanting to share or swap food).
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20-04-2015 22:32 #5
Action plans are placed in strategic places throughout the school and staff are notified of enrolments with severe allergies. An action plan and epipen are kept in the classroom of the students and taken on excursions, etc.
No school is allowed to advertise themselves as nut-free as they can't assure this to parents due to not being able to control what other parents will send to school. It would be misleading.
It is up to the parents to make sure that epipens are in-date and replaced and for organising the action plan, epipen and providing these to the school. Schools will also have general epipens in their first aid kit/room as a back-up, incase a 2nd shot is required or if a student without an epipen is having an anaphylactic reaction.
When I had students in my room with an allergy we would discuss it and what steps to take if the child had a reaction, what foods, insects, environments would cause it and steps that we could take as a class to minimise risk. I also used to monitor the students at times when eating outside. Once I came across a student eating an egg sitting next to a child with the allergy and would ask the group of students to split into two (and sit apart) just for the moment so as not to isolate either student, leaving them with friends to eat with, then quietly asking the student with the egg to make sure they wash their hands and have a drink after eating.
Some schools ask teachers not to bring nut products to school to consume as part of their own personal lunch as a precautionary measure as some students are more sensitive than others to an allergy.
As a mum, I don't send peanut/nut products to school. This leaves one of my children with some bizarre sandwich toppings as he is a peanut butter loving monkey whilst at home and he dislikes other regular toppings ...but I feel it is much safer.
Last edited by Little Ted; 20-04-2015 at 22:44.
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21-04-2015 05:26 #6
I teach in a school that does not do 'nut free'. my daughter's childcare isn't either.
I have a student in my class who is allergic to peanuts.
We are all trained with the use of epipens. Students must have an epipen available and up to date.
Teachers are all aware of students with medical conditions. With a photo and short medical info in the staff room .... But students with anaphylaxis are brought to our attention for playground duties etc.
Teachers are as vigilant as possible.
When parties happen or we cook food I'm very aware of allergies (and intolerances).... I do not under any circumstances let children share as much as I can supervise that.
It's very important for parents to teach their kids early on too that they shouldn't share food or take food from others just in case.
21-04-2015 05:32 #7
We all had to fill in forms for the kindy teacher at the beginning of term, including any allergies. As it happens no child in DS's class has allergies so they gave no restrictions.
Schools seem very aware these days and would restrict anything that could harm a child in their care. For mild allergies, they may not ban, but ensure a child is ok. They also check ingredients of any xakes etc made for birthdays.
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21-04-2015 05:40 #8
For kids who have anaphylaxis or severe intolerances I have had parents provide a bag of treats for their kids. So that on birthdays when other children bring cupcakes or something they can still have a treat.
21-04-2015 08:55 #9Senior Member
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My kids dont have allergies.
We have had several with allergies though in my kids classrooms. Our school is not nut FREE, we are nut AWARE. We are strongly encouraged to not bring nuts to school but also the children are taught to not share food and the teachers are obviously aware of any allergies and trained in appropriate.
It is my understanding that we are nut AWARE not nut FREE to teach the child with the allergy to take responsiblity for themselves. Of course when they are young (kindy/prep etc) the teachers have more of a role in it but as they get older they need to be on their own a bit more. This is after all what school is for right!
Even though my kids dont have allergies i have always told them not to share their lunch because there might be someone who is allergic and can get sick from some foods. Even though i make sure i dont pack nuts i still think its important to teach children with AND without allergies to be aware of it.
At the start of the year i always check (there is usually a anaphyaxis poster) if there is a child in the class with a nut allergy. I will then make sure my kids know who is allergic and to be aware of it.Especially for pre-packaged foods.
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21-04-2015 08:55 #10
Thanks everyone! I think it's just the unknown that scared me. When I was at school no one in my class ever had any food allergies. I also remember a story of a teacher who had administered the epi pen incorrectly and the child died. It has stuck in my memory ever since.
But it sounds like allergies are high on the agenda these days and have become part of teachers' every day lives, just as it's now part of my every day life.
DS is having his allergy tests on Monday. He's CMPI now as well as DD but here's to hoping there aren't any allergy issues with him.
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