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Peanut allergy and school

(121 Posts)
bevelino Sun 11-Mar-12 20:01:44

In today's Sunday Times Review Section Caroline Coles has written to Chris Woodhead to ask whether he thinks a school has the right to ask parents to avoid putting items containing nuts in lunch boxes because one child at the school has a severe nut allergy. Caroline Coles is unhappy with the school. Chris Woodhead replied that the school's decision is nonsensical and that the rights of more than 200 children to eat the lunch their parents want them to eat overrides the risk to one pupil. I think Chris Woodhead is wrong to support Caroline Coles in her complaint as the school have a duty to protect all children. How could any parent not wish to protect a child with a severe nut allergy?

bibbityisaporker Sun 11-Mar-12 20:03:31

It depends on how severe the allergy is.

exoticfruits Sun 11-Mar-12 20:07:48

I thought that he was wrong. If you know that a DC has a severe allergy I think that it isn't too much to ask everyone to avoid nuts, because they can eat them elsewhere. However, I think that it is difficult-it is easy to have nuts without knowing it. As a parent I would just comply and not complain.

bevelino Sun 11-Mar-12 20:11:51

According to the article the child with the nut allergy would require hospitalisation if he or she was exposed to nuts. It beggars belief that anyone would even question the wisdom of the school to protect such a vulnerable child.

items Sun 11-Mar-12 20:16:18

If a child has diabetics, do we ask all children to not have anything with sugar in it? I am all for supporting those that have issues but I also believe that things have gone too far and too many things are on the ban list now.

MrsMeaner Sun 11-Mar-12 20:23:04

I think it depends how severe the peanut allergy is. If there is a child in the same class that has a reaction to a whiff of peanuts, then it makes sense to keep peanuts out. If peanuts can potentially cause a slight skin reaction that is easily treated using piriton, then it should be different.

There are loads of children carrying epipens nowadays that have never had cause to use them. I, personally, think we should slacken up on the peanut/nut ban. There is a downside to banning nuts for those children who have difficulty in getting adequate nutrition for whatever reason. A peanut butter sandwich can play an important role for them.

bibbityisaporker Sun 11-Mar-12 20:28:11

But it depends what is meant by "exposure" to nuts.

ImproperlyAcquainted Sun 11-Mar-12 20:29:18

I disagree with nut bans as I believe they increase the risk to my child. Dcs school doesn't have one.

Bue Sun 11-Mar-12 20:32:38

But we have to acknowledge that these kids with severe allergies are never going to live in a peanut-free world. Doesn't it make more sense to educate the child to protect him/herself?

And what is another child in the school has a life threatening allergy to dairy (which is entirely possible) - then the school is going to ban nuts AND dairy? I can become unworkable.

Bue Sun 11-Mar-12 20:33:19

It can become unworkable...

TalkinPeace2 Sun 11-Mar-12 21:17:38

Peanuts are not nuts,
they are root swellings on legumes

so to reduce the risk schools should ban peas, french beans, runner beans and broad beans

unrelated hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, brazils and macadamias are NOT relevant

scaryteacher Sun 11-Mar-12 21:46:48

How far do you go though Bevelino? Do we say that you can't have peanut butte/crunchy nut cornflakes/nutella for breakfast as there may be a residue of it when children come to school?

My ds's school which takes kids from reception through to sixth form, does not have a nut ban, and it seems to me that over here (Belgium) you just don't hear about the allergies kids seem to have in the UK.

bevelino Sun 11-Mar-12 22:00:08

I would be concerned about knowingly exposing a child with a peanut allergy to nuts if I thought it could result in the child being hospitalised not knowing what the outcome could be for that child. In the circumstance I would want to err on the side of caution.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 11-Mar-12 22:07:04


the "peanut" allergy is actually most likely to be a reaction to cockroach poo from poor sealing at the processing factories

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Sun 11-Mar-12 22:10:58

Talkin noooooooo really? I had never heard that before.

What I do find interesting is that I have heard than SN children often have much more severe allergies to peanuts - our local SN school also bans kiwi and chickpeas on that basis.

ImproperlyAcquainted Sun 11-Mar-12 22:19:35

So if the question is 'should peanuts be banned?' rather than 'should nuts be banned?' then what is the answer?

The advice given to parents of peanut allergic children wrt tree nuts is inconsistent.

bruffin Sun 11-Mar-12 22:56:28

I had a child that is allergic to tree nuts and several seeds and was also allergic to peanuts but out grew that allergy but not the others.

I have never expected schools to be nut free and neither does the anaphylaxis campaign advocate nut bans.Also most parents on the allergy boards are not in favour of them.

There are several reasons

1. nut bans can lead to a sense of complacency, and children need to learn to take responsibility for their own allergy.
2. There are other foods that can lead to anaphylaxis, where do we stop ie ds is also allergic to seseme seeds, do we ban humous sandwiches. There are children that are anaphylactic to milk, eggs, celery, chickpeas and the list goes on.

3. it can also breed resentment amongst other parents

unrelated hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, brazils and macadamias are NOT relevant

Actually they are as DS is allergic to all these as well as peanut . It is not unusual to be allergic to both.

asiatic Sun 11-Mar-12 23:27:57

I am a teacher. two years ago I had a boy in my tutor group with such a severe allergy that accidental exposure to a tiny amount of peanut could have killed him ( in fact his Uncle died ofthe same condition that year) I didn't eat peanuts for a year myself, how could I have lived with it if I had killed a pupil with something I had carried into school on my clothes, skin or breath. Of course it was not too much to ask. The reason more children have this condition now is simply because, thanks to better awarness and faster responses, they are more likely to survive the initial attakc that leads to a diagnosis, whereas in previous generations such a diagnosis would most likely have been made post mortum.

This allergy can start at any age. Those whose response is less then sympathetic should consider hat this time next week, they or their child could be recovering from their first anaphylactic shock, and listening to a docoter explain they will need to avoiud peanuts for the rest of their lives, or they will die.

bruffin Sun 11-Mar-12 23:36:47

Those whose response is less then sympathetic should consider hat this time next week, they or their child could be recovering from their first anaphylactic shock, and listening to a docoter explain they will need to avoiud peanuts for the rest of their lives, or they will die.

Those who are less than sympathetic have often been in that position.

kickassangel Mon 12-Mar-12 00:25:54

but peanuts are one of the few that are so severe that simply breathing it in can bring about a reaction. or touching a door handle after someone else with peanuts on their hands has touched it.

there are other allergies, but I haven't come across others that can be quite so easy to affect people.

so, yes, for that one child, it pretty much is important that no-one brings peanuts to school. even that won't really make them safe - one kid having a pb sandwich for breakfast, could walk past them & breathe & trigger a reaction.

I would hope that if another child had a similarly severe allergy, then the school would follow the medical advice provided on the issue.

I teach older kids, and the other day one child suddenly got up & moved, then said 'he's having a peanut bar, I know I can't sit next to it'. IF she were younger, she might have sat there for longer, and ended up in hospital. Thank goodness she's sensible, and knows which brands trigger a reaction, just from a class mate opening up a packet.

bruffin Mon 12-Mar-12 06:52:47

I don't think that is necessarily true, there are children who have contact allergies to milk etc They are at the same risk anywhere they go.
As I said above The Anaphylaxis Campaign do not advocate nut bans.

EdithWeston Mon 12-Mar-12 07:02:13

I do find the Anaphalaxis Campaign's position persuasive, and had alway assumed they knew what they were on about.

SoupDragon Mon 12-Mar-12 07:12:19

I don't have a problem with such bans at Primary level but at Secondary the child should have learnt to be safe themselves.

Whether bans are worthwhile or not I can't answer but if asked not to send nuts/peanuts in I won't. It isn't hard to, say, live without a peanut butter sandwich in the middle of the day.

SoupDragon Mon 12-Mar-12 07:13:53

"If a child has diabetics, do we ask all children to not have anything with sugar in it? "

No, because diabetics are not allergic to sugar.

inmysparetime Mon 12-Mar-12 07:23:06

My DDs school has a nut ban, but I'm not sure they know what they're banning. They confiscated a pineapple and coconut drink from a charity sale (coconut has nothing to do with nuts) but sesame bars are fine!
I know the parents of the severely allergic child in question and have an allergic child of my own (milk allergic) and the mum said the nut ban doesn't help her DS, he still gets regular reactions, but it breeds resentment of allergy among parents and students, she'd rather they didn't bother.

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