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Allergic DS ate cake in Tasting afternoon

(22 Posts)
alison222 Sun 28-May-06 17:06:47

The school are well aware of DS(5.5)'s allergies as they have an epipen and antihistamine with them in the classreoom.
They are normally SO good at asking me if he can have this or that but on Friday afternoon he had a mouthfull of cake with egg in it.
They rang me immediately and I advised them to give him anit-histamine as so far he seemed fine.
When I collected him though he loooked very pale and proceeded to vomit copiously over the clasroom floor and to get very flushed and distressed - typical allergic reaction. I gave him more anithistamine and as he was complianing of breathing difficulties got out the epi-pen. It turned out that fortunatley we didn't need it but as I went to re-cap it I injected myself and had to go to A&E for me - but that is another story.
Anyway he is now fine BUT my question is what do I say to the school.
Until now they have been so careful always asking before letting him have anything etc but this accident could have been much more serious if it had been nuts or seeds not eggs.

I want to write to the school asking that he is not to have anything without my prior permission or that I have not provided so that there is something on file for subsequent teachers.

I do feel that it was a genuine accident BUT it could have been life threatening and so I am in two minds as to how to word this.
Any advice please - esp from those who work in schools

nothercules Sun 28-May-06 17:10:38

I would go in to the school and see the head. Not with all guns blazing but to reiterate how serious it is and that all staff need to be aware. there might be days when he has supply staff in who might not know and you need to be sure that staff are automatically briefed.

At his age I would also encourage him to say know to foods he cant have or to say no to foods unless he knows he can have them.

alison222 Sun 28-May-06 17:16:55

nothercules he is well aware of what he can't eat. That's why it threw everyone I think.
He told me - in the classroom with the teachers listening that it looked like the cake I make so he thought it was OK
He DOES know I make special NO EGG cake for him and occaisionally we have toher stuff in the house so he can't have it If i tell him.
He also knows if he goes to parties to ask what he can eat and NEVER to eat the birthday cake so I don't know why he decided to try the cake on this occasion.
i did briefly see the head on Friday - but as that was me talking to NHS direct to find out if i needed to be seen after the epi-pen injection to me we haven't discussed the incident yet.

nothercules Sun 28-May-06 17:17:42

Honestly I would go in to see the head again and reiterate the seriousness of it.

gigglinggoblin Sun 28-May-06 17:18:53

i think i would word it as 'what are you going to do to prevent this happening again?'. not aggressive, but gets the poing across that you mean business and expect something to be done.

gigglinggoblin Sun 28-May-06 17:19:38

lol poing. point, obviously

Chandra Sun 28-May-06 17:20:32

I would write a letter just to leave written evidence of the problem which will make them to take more responsibility for this incident, and would finish the letter by saying that you will contact them during the week to make an appointment to discuss strategies to avoid this problem being repeated. Be sure to take notes and send a letter with the outcome of the meeting too.

In more practical terms, I think that after this experience you can explain to your DS why he can't have any food that has not been "authorised" by someone who is fully familiar with his allergies. Unfortunately many people do not really know what's in the food they are serving. I.E. I have been told that certain pasta is safe and then find out that such particular brand had egg on it.

Chandra Sun 28-May-06 17:21:23

And obviously I have crossposted...

alison222 Sun 28-May-06 17:31:15

Like the advice about discussing strategies makes it sound less threatening

nothercules Sun 28-May-06 17:32:14

actually I would be deadly serious with them although not guns blazing. You cant afford for them to take it anything less than a matter of life and death.

gigglinggoblin Sun 28-May-06 17:34:28

def agree with nothercules - dont be threatening but dont back down an inch. i would also write to them as chandra suggested and ask for a reply in writing

brimfull Sun 28-May-06 17:48:19

did they make you aware of the tasting afternoon before the event?

alison222 Sun 28-May-06 20:17:27

I was aware it was happening. There had been an international evening the night before and they had aksked parents to makee extra and label all ingredients so that they could deal with anaphylactic children (2 others in other reception class too ) at no point was I directly asked about the food unlike previous occasions when I had been asked to provide food. I assumed - obviously incorrectly- that he would not be allowed to participate
In this case the food was all labelled. the teacher and nursery nurse knew immeidialty he shouldn't have eaten what he did. It sounded like lack of proper planning and control on their part.

This now makes me want to say he must not ever eat food I haven't provided. is this over -reaction?

Celia2 Sun 28-May-06 20:54:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrannyandZooey Sun 28-May-06 21:01:55

I can see how it has happened if your son is a sensible boy and normally to be trusted to know what he can and can't eat. I am not saying it is his responsibility to check, but you can see how they have probably relaxed a bit saying "oh XX is ok, he won't eat anything he isn't meant to."

I think no-one could blame you if you did insist that he only ate food you have provided. They have sadly shown that they are not really up to the job of screening food and supervising ds on your behalf.

Mercy Sun 28-May-06 21:36:12

Alison, I think you just need to paraphase the last 2 sentences of your OP.

Sadly this is something you will probably have to do for years to come.

At hte end of the day it is your responsibility imo; as you say the school seems clued up. We are all fallible.

Chandra Sun 28-May-06 23:27:54

Problem with screening food is that some ingredients are hidden sometimes with names most mortals would not identify with the allergen. Albumin been one for instance.

I always apreciate a lot people who takes the time to prepare something free-from for DS but I know that if it took me weeks to work out all the guises of DS's allergens, I can not expect a well intended mum to rule in/out a food she has prepared. Some people even asume that you will never notice anyway, I have had that twice, hence my mistrusting

SofiaAmes Mon 29-May-06 05:19:29

I think that although this was an unfortunate incident, to look on the positive side, you couldn't have asked for a better example to use to re-explain to the school and your ds why they need to be so very careful. I would suggest that you make a rule that your ds is not allowed to have anything that isn't supplied by you. I know it sounds extreme, but better safe than sorry with something as serious as anaphylactic reaction to foods. I am an adult with anaphylactic reactions to sulfites which not only occurs in food and drink, but in some medicines (including epi-pens) and it never ceases to amaze me how frivilously people (including doctors) treat my allergy. I tend to exagerate my allergy and my precautions in order to get people to take me seriously. If I have something that has touched wine, I am not going to have a reaction, but I just tell people that I will drop dead if I even have a wiff of wine. It's the only way to get them to take it seriously. I find that if they think I can have a "little" bit, then they think it's just made up and they can trick me into having some.
In the case of your ds, can you send an extra special desert with him to school and parties, etc. when you know that the other kids will be having something different. That way he won't feel like he is missing out and neither he nor the school (or the other parents) will be in a position where they have to make choices which they are probably ill equipped to make.

WideWebWitch Mon 29-May-06 07:35:19

Agree with letter followed up by meeting approach, followed by letter documenting the meeting. This is life or death and you need to know they are taking your son's health and allergy very seriously indeed.

alison222 Mon 29-May-06 09:51:09

Thank you for all your replies.
Sofiames I think that they were all very shocked.
What did shock me a bit was the nursery nurse saying "he only had one mouthful". i think that this might be the problem that they haven't quite appreciated the difference between a mild reaction and a serious allergic reaction and the need to treat them all as potentially deadly.
i was also shocked to hear that one of the children in the other reception class has had piriton serveral times this year in school too - although obviously i don't know the circumstances behind this.
i think I will be saying no food unless I have provided it.
I do usually provide an alternative but this time as I had no idea what was going to be there on the day - did not.
DS is just going to have to learn to cope with being different if I can't provide an alternative on these occasions.

FrannyandZooey Mon 29-May-06 12:39:25

Alison, I think you are right. I know some people will feel strongly about this but I think it is important for your son to learn early on that he is different - because he is. He will have to watch what he eats for the rest of his life. No amount of similar looking cakes to make him feel 'the same' as everyone else is going to change that.

I think instead of trying to make our children feel all the same, we should work on trying to remove the stigma of being different. People always say "Oh but children want to be the same" - but I don't actually see this in real life. I see a lot of adults flapping around and making a big fuss about differences, not children. My son never even notices that the children next door have different colour skin, yet by the time they are 10 he will be very aware of it - because he will have picked it up from adults that this is a big issue.

We need our children to learn that they are loved and valued for who they are, not because they are the same as everyone else. We also need to give our children the chance to learn to appreciate and not fear other people's differences - they can't do that if all differences are hidden and glossed over. Sorry to get so heavy about this but I feel quite strongly about it.

drosophila Tue 30-May-06 20:34:04

I have a child with similar allergies and epi pen etc and I find this kinda thing so frustrating. Another possible approach is to get the community nurse of school nurse to give the teachers a talk. This was done for me and I think it frightened them sufficiently to take it seriously. Still errors do occur e.g. they have forgotten to take his inhalers and epi pen with them on local excursions. I think they think there is no food so no problem. I have to explain that DS has never been stung and given he is so highly allergic to so many foods I worry that he may well react.

How are the school at monitoring your child at lunchtime? I have had a couple of accessions where DS has eaten food that was given to him by a friend. It is very hard on the teachers and I do sympathise after all even I have made errors and I am hypervigalent.

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