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Thread: Food allergies

  1. #1
    Shy
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    Food allergies

    My youngest daycare child had a reaction to peanuts at home a while ago. We discussed peanuts and I told them that I was not a peanut free home and neither was daycare. The parents were ok with this and stayed with me.

    About 2 weeks ago the child has the testing and it came back the child is allergic to peanuts. The parents never mentioned that they were uncomfortable with peanuts in daycare or my home. (but I rarely serve peanuts, maybe once every other month).

    Anyway, last week we had peanut butter. I just received an email from the parents stating that they want me to refrain from serving peanut products during daycare hours due to cross contamination and the children sharing toys.

    My biggest problem is, if they had concerns shouldn't they have come to me when the child was diagnosed and not the first time I serve peanuts? They have always known that I serve peanut products to the children (family has been with me for years). They also knew that I would not stop serving peanut products, as the only thing I agree to with allergies is that I will not serve peanuts to children under 2.

    Finding new children has been really difficult, so I don't really want to terminate, but I will not stop serving peanut products in daycare. The child has survived, 2 months with me serving peanuts during daycare.

    Is there a way to have both, or to calm the parents ... the child has never went into anaphylactic shock, only had a rash. The rashes have always occurred at home, despite that I have serve peanuts.

    The reason why I don't go peanut free is because my family already has our own allergies and I won't eliminate another food, when peanuts are a staple for us and a tread for daycare.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Euphoric !
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    Since the kids will grow up not allowed peanut products at school I just don't serve them at daycare either although it is so tempting when kids get to the won't chew other meat proteins stage. The fact the allergy is not anaphylactic in nature at the moment means I would read labels but not be fretful about them BUT mom must store an epipen at the daycare for your use.

    My family still uses peanut butter and I even eat peanut butter cookies during naptime but I brush my teeth and scrub my hands well when done, etc. Family knows they must use a plate, only put the peanut butter knife in the far sink etc. I had another child for 3 years whose sister had an allergy so they just wanted him not exposed just in case and that is where the family protocol started and now it is just habit so wasn't as big a deal once current child was diagnosed.

    Good news is that because her reaction was only rash/hives/redness doctor said she would probably outgrow it and after a year when retested it is now borderline status so it could be a lot more temporary than you think as in the child I have has to actually eat it for there to be a reaction where as some react to touch or even smell.

  3. #3
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    we ahve peanut products here. We don't serve them or eat them when dcg is here. Its not hard. I don't serve peanut products to the children just because you don't know till they have eaten them at home, this goes with eggs and shrimp.

  4. #4
    Euphoric !
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    I don't serve any nut products in the daycare either even though I don't accept kids with nut allergies into care. I am just concerned about the young ones who haven't yet tried nuts and may have their first reaction here...not a position I want to be in. However, this is easy for me because I have a separate basement daycare with it's own kitchen...my family eats tons of nuts in the upstairs kitchen and I don't have to worry. That said, I still would not take on an allergic child because the risk is just too high for me and I don't want that extra liability. In your case, I would either agree to not serve nut products or I would terminate care. It is a huge risk to continue exposing the child the nuts...sometimes reactions can be worse over time. I wouldn't want to take that risk.

  5. #5
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    It is up to you to decide how much you are willing to do to keep this family. The first family I accepted were vegans. I was reluctant to take them on, but didn't know I would fill up before I even opened, so I took them on. A year later, this little boy is my little sunshine, and I would cook any kind of weird concoction they want me to just to keep him. Family is wonderful, and I am so glad I made allowances. Would I be willing to stop serving peanut products (which I don't serve anyway since I have mostly little ones?) to keep him now if asked? In a heartbeat. Great clients who appreciate us and pay on time, with adorable little ones who behave themselves, are worth it in my book.

  6. #6
    Euphoric !
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    I had a child in care with a peanut/tree nut allergy and I learned to read labels. It isn't hard to switch to crackers, bread and a few other prepackaged products that are made in nut-free facilities. Everything else I make is from scratch so it wasn't a big problem for me. But my little one had to carry around an epipen everywhere and still does because her allergy is very serious.

    If your dc child is allergic and you don't want to change your food products then for everyone's sake can you replace the family? Do you really want to take the chance on being responsible for a child who could go into anaphalactic shock?

    Have you tried the soy butter as a replacement for pb? It's pretty good.
    Frederick Douglass
    It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

  7. #7
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    Morning,

    I've personally lived with a food allergy for 20 years or more, I likely had it when I was a kid, but I didn't have a good Mom and she just passed off all my problems as me trying to get out of my chores. My own daughters have food allergies and sensitivities as well. I could be a little more relaxed because things have been fine with my daughters and I, my daughters are teens now. Our allergy can become anaphylactic at any point as well, in fact, I do get swelling of my tongue and lips. I had to stop eating eggs completely because the allergy was getting worse.

    The child in question has survived my home daycare for a few months with peanuts being offered to the other children and has had no attacks. The child has never had anaphylactic shock, just a rash/hives, the doctor/allergists say it may or may not ever get to that point. The child's last attack there were no signs of anaphylactic shock. That was the child's 3rd exposure (at least), and it wasn't a small amount, the parents fed the child about a handful of peanuts. Testing showed the child was only allergic via ingestion, not touch or smell.

    The parents have known for 2 months the child was allergic to peanuts, the parents knew 2 months ago my home and daycare were not going to be peanut free and they were fine with that, saying they still served peanut products to their oldest child. I've had the family in care for 2 years, so they know that I only serve peanut products about once every 2 to 3 months. So my problem isn't that the child has an allergy, or that I am not willing to take precautions to ensure that she doesn't eat peanuts in my care, but the problem is the parents didn't even ask me if I was willing to make changes, or discuss if there precautions that can be taken etc. All I get is an email the first time I serve peanuts after the diagnosis.

    I can't help but believe all the attacks have happened at home, despite that I have served peanuts in my daycare. Is it a possibility that I can continue with the precautions I take and everything work out? I'm not prepared to become peanut free, but replacing children is also very difficult to do right now. So I'm kind of stuck.

    The biggest problem still is the parents didn't even talk too me about their concerns and expect me to make changes without trusting me that I am taking precautions.

  8. #8
    Euphoric !
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    Could the parents be using this as an excuse to pull child from care to go to someone with better hours, less closures, better rates, closer to home, or whatever other excuse parents come up with thinking it is in their best interest - in other words the complaint has nothing to do with peanut butter and more about how do we pull her. You mentioned having the older child didn't you in the sense you have a longer relationship with this family than just a new mom to care that I would come out and ask what is really going on. While you might not like the answer at least you will know where everything stands.

  9. #9
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    Playfelt, with the history I've had with this family in the last 6 months it is hard to say. I can't say it has been smooth sailing. We've had some issues with my illness policy twice, meaning I've sent the child home sick and they have disagreed said child was sick and refused to follow through with my illness policy. Their emails that they send to me during that time were also disrespectful. I would have terminated, but it was more advantage to keep them.

    I send the family an email this morning basically saying the precautions I take when serving peanuts, and have always taken with a child under 2, that I wasn't aware they were making changes at home or wanted changes at daycare, because the last time we spoke about peanuts they said they weren't expecting changes and were going to still serve peanuts in their home. I did maybe in a round about way ask what changes they were expecting in daycare, when they knew in advance my daycare wasn't peanut free.

    I won't cry to lose the family, I haven't had enough time to get attached to the younger sibling and the older sibling leaves care at the end of Aug, so I've already been preparing myself. I will cry to have an empty space. Depending on how this email goes, I guess will depend on whether the family stays with me. Although, I admit I do not serve peanut products to the daycare often (and never knowingly to a child under 2 without parents permission), I will not become a peanut free home or daycare. Peanut conscience yes but not peanut free. Peanuts are a staple for us and with having 2 teens we don't have to worry about nut free products because nuts are allowed at high school. I know there are peanut alternatives like almond butter, BUT and here is the big but, but I am allergic to tree nut oils, not to ingest (that I'm aware of, but I admit I don't willingly eat tree nuts else than hazelnuts) but I can't touch tree nut oils without breaking out. My skin is on fire at the smallest amount of tree nut oil. I did write in the email that when my hubby is home, I would be willing to test the alternatives, but can't until then.

    Crossing my fingers all works out well. But how this will work out, not sure.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Rhonda; 07-30-2013 at 09:30 AM. Reason: spelling mistake

  10. #10
    Euphoric ! bright sparks's Avatar
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    Here is my thing. This is all over peanuts. Would it really be such a big thing to eliminate them from your daycare meal plan? I appreciate that it's hard to be 100% peanut free as processed products can easily be cross contaminated but to just cut out the occasional PB that you serve is not going to be detrimental to the other kids and as a result reduces your liability ten fold. You could explain that you can't guarantee peanut free but can reduce the exposure by not serving things that are clearly made with or from peanuts. While you clearly are knowledgable on allergies with your personal experiences, who knows how this allergy will evolve in the child and the next allergic reaction could be the one that has them on the floor blue unable to breath. It's not like you have to eliminate a main food group which will take something away from the other children such as dairy, or gluten. It's just peanuts. Regardless of them signing up knowing you are not peanut free, circumstances have changed and the fact that you know about the allergy, and that it has been confirmed by an allergist but you still continue to serve peanuts, when exposure could be so dramatically reduced, won't prevent them from taking action should the worst happen. Your daycare, your rules. If you don't know how this is going to turn out, IMO it's because YOU haven't made the choice of how it is going to turn out. Either stop serving the peanuts in the best interest of the child and put something in writing to the parents to explain to them that you are not 100% peanut free but don't knowingly serve peanuts, or alternatively if it means so much to you to keep that food in your meal plan, terminate them. Remember it's about the child in care regardless of a parents attitude. Either make it work or cut all ties. I have been faced with this exact problem with a child in care who was also confirmed allergic to tree nuts, sesame and peanuts and due to the liability on me, I gave them the same outline of what I could do and if this wasn't satisfactory to them then they would have to find alternative care. I just kept my focus on what was best for the child, and how I would feel in their shoes.

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