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school nut bans - I am totally opposed - what do you all think?!

(174 Posts)
babybarrister Fri 02-Jul-10 21:19:04

I am really anti for all the reasons that the Anaphylaxis Campaign is and more .... DS allergic to nuts as well as full list of other stuff - egg, dairy, celery, peas, lentils, sesame, soya etc etc

DS consultant says people with one allergy actually v rare

I feel that schools are doing allergic children a disservice by imposing such a ban as they need to understand not to eat other people's foods from day one. It therefore gets other parents' backs up frankly for no good purpose as every allergic child has got to learn not to touch other food - whether, as when in nursery, they are physically kept apart, or as when older, they are supervised carefully.

I [or any of the rest of you with multiple allergies] can hardly ask a school to be sesame, soya, egg, dairy, celery, pea etc free - can we?! wink

Finally, and proibably most crucially, as we all no doubt know from bitter experience, it is only the parents of allergic children that are super alert to ingredients - a nut ban just creates a false sense of security. Parents of non allergic children simply are not going to trawl through ingredient labels in the way that we all have to - I am sure that if they did, they would be as amazed as we are which foods contain what ....What good is banning a packet of peanuts if the kid brings in a "healthy" muesli bar [most have nuts in as we all know on this forum]

As a matter of interest the Anaphylaxis Campaign does not support a schools ban either.

I intend to post on AIBU once I have collated comments from this thread!

So, comments please!

oiteach Fri 02-Jul-10 21:29:25

How allergic is your child?

My childminders son is very allergic, if a child has touched a peanut and then touches him he is affected immediately.

It is the only allergy he has, there are children with other allergies at the same school but they are less allergic if you see what I mean. Ie, as long as they do not ingest sesame/celery/soya etc etc they are fine. ( I do know that some children/adults allergic to sesame etc are extremely allergic, I am using my childminders son's peanut allergy as an example)

I have a nut allergy (hazlenut and brazil), I check ingredients, friends know, dp's friends are particularly sweet and will wash hands etc if they have had a cornetto for example without being asked.
My children are very vigilant and tell people if I don't.
However, my allergy is not even half as bad as childminder's son. And I am an adult and far more able to be responsible for my own safety.

I do wonder how she and other parents of extremely allergic children would feel about you advocating a ceasing of nut free mealtimes at school.

NoahAndTheWhale Fri 02-Jul-10 21:32:22

I have to admit that I do find it a little odd that it is nuts that are always the banned ones - in DS's old school one of his friends had a severe dairy allergy and there was never any suggestion that everyone should stop bringing in items with dairy in.

Is nut allergy more like to result from airborne nut particles?

oiteach Fri 02-Jul-10 21:38:22

i think so yes. Childminders son is affected severely by airborne particles as are a couple of other children which is why the school decided to be nut free.

I do think that schools should go on a case by case basis though.
ie if there is no need for a ban why have one if you see what I mean.

I do agree that it is vital for a child with allergies to understand from an early age about not eating other childrens foods but for some children ingesting is not the only route to a serious episode.

HarijukuLover Fri 02-Jul-10 21:42:28

I don't know enough about it, really. All I know is that there are two children at DS's school who have severe peanut allergies, and so all proper nut products (peanut butter etc) are banned in school lunches, and they have an adult sit with them at meal times to ensure that they only eat their own lunch (they are both reception year, so still very young). School meals are also made from foods that are guaranteed nut free. If this was my child, I would want the same.

The school are very hot on allergies and conditions like Type 1 diabetes etc and have had awareness-raising assemblies about these before (parents were asked to attend also).

toccatanfudge Fri 02-Jul-10 21:42:54

I know our infant school go on a case by case basis.

For DS1's first 2years there nuts were banned, as there was a child in YR1 with a severe allergy to them.

When the child moved up to junior school in YR3 the ban was lifted. I did hear something the other day in the playground (gossip grin) that there is a child with a severe nut allergy starting in September so they'll be banned again so they've had 3yrs without a ban.

Although up in the staffroom there is a list of the children with allergies and what they are allergic to and there is currently a child in the school with a nut allergy - I guess it's not such a severe allergy

thisisyesterday Fri 02-Jul-10 21:48:18

i agree wholeheartedly OP!

oiteach, i can see your concerns... but then what about that child who had peanut butter for breakfast and forgot to wash his hands?
you can NEVER make an environment 100% safe. and having a nut ban in the school simply creates a false sense of security

as the OP says, I bet a lot of parents simply don't even think about it when they chuck a cookie, or a cereal bar or something into a lunchbox. but if the school think that it's "nut free" then they won't be taking any other precautions to prevent that from touching the nut allergic child

there are better ways of doing this than imposing a blanket ban on the entire school

maryz Fri 02-Jul-10 21:51:07

I think the reason the nut allergy is the one which gets the most attention is that it tends to be the allergy with the worse reaction, iykwim.

I know a child who had his worst reaction the morning he was picked up (as a baby) by an adult who had eaten carrot cake the day before - so the child hadn't even touched the nuts.

I have no problem with a nut ban, and I think any parent who insists that their child absolutely has to have Nutella on their sandwiches (as I heard one mother say) is very selfish.

As an aside we have many children in cubs with varied allergies, so we are careful with what food they eat (and at 8 they are mostly old enough to know what they can't have). But because nuts would be fatal to one child we only buy food we know is ok for him - we only buy certain types of biscuits/chocolate for example.

oiteach Fri 02-Jul-10 21:55:52

It isn't about making it 100% safe, more about as safe as possible.
A nut ban with an explanation tends to heighten awareness.
Hence, helping to alleviate the danger from others lunchboxes etc.

Even my dp forgets sometimes..... so he says hmm

toccatanfudge Fri 02-Jul-10 21:57:20

thisisyesterday - when DS's school introduced the nut ban when he started we were all sent home an information sheet giving us a list of "common" lunch box items that often contain nuts as a guideline for us to work with.

Mind I'm slightly biased about this as I nearly killed a boy at school by offering round a box of chocolates just before we did a huge concert in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. We were in the changing rooms and everyone was excited, and he was quite a lot younger than me, and still not good at remembering to check for himself stuff (I think he had SEN as well). In the mad rush for everyone to get a chocolate before we went onto the stage he took one and ate it. And none of us thought to check (was a small boarding school and we all knew full well he was allergic to nuts and we had to be careful).

Seconds into the start of the performance he suddenly rushed out........and then it hit me - thankfully epipen was at hand and his allergy wasn't so severe to cause a massive intimidate reaction, but had he not realised what was happening, or the teacher with the epipen been further away in the huge hall then it could have been so different.

It really freaked me out and it still gives me the jitters 16yrs on blush

Just13moreyearstogo Fri 02-Jul-10 21:59:47

It's quite sobering, as a parent of non-allergic children in a school that bans quite a lot of foods, to read about how sensitive some children are to food products around them, not just those they consume. The OP is absolutely right that many parents of non-allergic children simply are not clued up enough about the risks to ensure their children's lunchboxes do not contain the dangerous items and that a false sense of security might result.

brimfull Fri 02-Jul-10 22:05:10

I agree with OP
My ds has severe tree nut allergy.
I think children should be taught to wash their hands staright after lunch.
My ds reacts to secondary touch .

PixieOnaLeaf Fri 02-Jul-10 22:05:42

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DinahRod Fri 02-Jul-10 22:07:47

There isn't a ban at ds's primary, I wouldn't have a problem if they did but they'd have to provide me and other parents with a list of banned foods since I don't know all the foods that contain them or have the time/inclination to keep looking.

Also have just noticed but bans are rarely enforced at secondary even though there are pupils with nut allergies and carry epipens - maybe they just can't, given the size of them? But by that age are those with nut allergies more aware or less allergic than when younger?

PixieOnaLeaf Fri 02-Jul-10 22:08:23

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PixieOnaLeaf Fri 02-Jul-10 22:11:14

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oiteach Fri 02-Jul-10 22:12:16

Actually, our school did ban celery at one point. The child was only there for a year though.
They really do take a case by case approach.

I don't see an issue with raising awareness and if that means an "in-school" ban so be it. For any allergen where there is a need, ie secondary or airborne sensitivity.

The buddy approach is good as well and we do that already.
The ban in our case is because of the airborne issue.

PixieOnaLeaf Fri 02-Jul-10 22:13:39

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ilovemydogandMrObama Fri 02-Jul-10 22:18:47

ds is dairy and soya allergic, so yeah, would like it banned when the time comes. Unfortunately, don't think it will be that easy to control.

Oh, and thanks babybarrister for the Montezuma Blue suggestion smile. Tried chocolate booja booja yet?

maryz Fri 02-Jul-10 22:20:32

I suspect fewer children take celery sandwiches to school than take Nutella.

I'm not trying to demean a celery addiction, but I personally know of 5 children with potentially fatal nut allergies in my children's (fairly small) school. I don't know anyone allergic to celery, so would not have the same awareness.

DinahRod Fri 02-Jul-10 22:27:47

At my secondary only designated ppl have epipen training which are 1st-aiders and if you happen have a highly allergic child in your regular classes - useless if you cover a lesson and that child has a reaction or if you come across them at a lunchtime, a far more likely time to have a reaction, I'd have thought. It should be compulsory.

LouAnnVanHouten Fri 02-Jul-10 22:30:06

I am opposed for the same reasons as the OP. I don't trust other people parents an inch when in comes to not putting nut products in lunches. People either don't comprehend the cross contamination risk or simply forget and accidently send peanut butter. I think its a lot to ask of the other parents. Shopping is a pita when you have an allergic child and I wouldn't expect the parent of a non allergic child to have the same vigilance that I have.

However my childs reactions have never affected his breathing and I may feel differently if he was contact sensitive.

PixieOnaLeaf Fri 02-Jul-10 22:32:14

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thisisyesterday Fri 02-Jul-10 22:34:36

i find it interesting that all the people who agree with the OP are ht ones with children who have allergies

the ones who don't agree, don't!

PixieOnaLeaf Fri 02-Jul-10 22:37:02

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