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School allowing allergic DS to have dairy

(27 Posts)
DrDiva Mon 03-Apr-17 14:27:20

DS (4.5) has a delayed non-IGE dairy allergy. It's reasonably severe - about a week after he has any milk product, he has a bout of throwing up, uncontrollable diarrhoea, and nights of screaming agony that can go on for hours on end.

School know this. They have a dietitian's letter on record, plus we have always said that if they are doing any cooking or anything, we are happy to provide an alternative so that DS can join in safely.

School allows kids to bring in chocolates etc for their birthdays, and now a whole load of stuff for Easter. They also use sweets and chocolates as rewards. As a result, three times in the past year, DS has had milk chocolate. The last time, this resulted in school having to clear up the diarrhoea, which started mid-afternoon - you'd think this might have meant they would be a bit more alert. But no. It's just happened again. DS has come out of school proudly chomping on a milk chocolate bunny. Which the teacher gave him, so he assumed it would be ok. Plus, he's four. It's really hard for him to make the connection between eating milk and a delayed reaction, so sometimes he gets it wrong, despite being better than many adults at managing his allergy. Besides, chocolate is pretty tempting to a four-year-old!

I am pretty upset. If he had an immediate, anaphylactic reaction, they wouldn't have a choice but to be more vigilant. I feel as though they aren't taking it seriously, because it is a delayed reaction. Am I overreacting? And if not, what is reasonable for me to request from the school so this doesn't happen again?

DrDiva Mon 03-Apr-17 19:08:40

Anyone have thoughts?

MrsBobtonTrent Mon 03-Apr-17 19:19:03

It sounds very poor on their part. IME schools are pretty hot on allergies these days. But we did have a nursery feed milk-allergy DS a cheese sandwich. It was a deal breaker for us and we went elsewhere.

You can probably wave disability discrimination at them? I expect someone more knowledgeable will turn up on thread.

Crumbs1 Mon 03-Apr-17 19:22:50

Send in an alternative for the teacher to give him when others have dairy treats? You could complain, they'll apologise but it won't provide a solution.

MrsBobtonTrent Mon 03-Apr-17 19:24:08

Also, could you send a box of dairy-free treats in for teacher to dole out? We did this, and also supplied soya milk cartons for morning milk. The cartons school offered were pretty vile.

dementedpixie Mon 03-Apr-17 19:24:54

That's very poor of them. There use not in ds's class who can't have dairy, egg, tree nuts and the school have been good so for e.g. when ds came out with a wee box of mini eggs he was given jelly beans instead. I think his mum used to give the teacher alternatives to the usual sweets so if chocolate was given out he got something else

dementedpixie Mon 03-Apr-17 19:25:31

There is a boy that should say

WallisFrizz Mon 03-Apr-17 19:25:59

You need to meet with the teacher to put an absolute stop to it. Maybe you could supply them with a small stock of alternative treats that are suitable for hotels DS in such situations.

WallisFrizz Mon 03-Apr-17 19:26:16

Your...not hotels.

3boys3dogshelp Mon 03-Apr-17 19:43:28

That's really poor. I have a dairy intolerant 8yo and a dairy allergic 3yo. Neither of them have ever had dairy while being looked after. That 2 different nurseries, school for 5 years and beaver camps run by volunteers! 4 times since September is really very poor on the teacher's part.
Most of the parents in ds1's class send in a dairy free treat for him if they are giving out treats (eg sweets instead of choc) and I give the teacher a stash of spares in case they need to swap something so he isn't left out.
However my youngest is 3yo and he can't have dairy or soya. He is very good already at checking with adults whether he is allowed food before he eats it. It would be a really good idea for you to teach him to double check before eating things. I'm not saying it's his fault but in the circumstances teaching him to check would avoid a lot of your problems. My kids aren't allowed to eat treats given out at the end of school until they've asked me first (more from a not eating sweets every day point of view!) so that might help too.

smilingsarahb Mon 03-Apr-17 19:43:29

This isn't good enough. A mistake can happen but it really sounds like there are no processes in place to stop this happening.

Can you request a meeting to review the processes with them. I did at m child's school for an allergy and they took it on board really well. There is now a picture of my child with the location of his epi pen his allergy and suitable alternatives to eat, by the teachers workstation so anyone working there (supply etc) can see straight away. Our problem was lots of staff changes meant things weren't being handed over.

as chocolate seems to be the main slip expect something like
Little Jones. ..DAIRY ALLERGY...D and V ...Not to given dairy including in CHOCOLATE etc

I'd supply the class teacher with a box of something your child can eat to be given out when ever dairy treats are used.

Sprungout Mon 03-Apr-17 19:45:03

That's rubbish. Dd's pal can't have dairy so I always have a stock of dairy free chocolate stuff and, even before they were close, I knew about the dairy issue with her - on birthdays , I always sent in either Haribo crap or separate non dairy choc for her. It's not rocket science.

3boys3dogshelp Mon 03-Apr-17 19:47:08

Oh and the teacher used to use chocolate occasionally as a reward in class. When ds started she switched to sweets. Now she has a little girl with coeliacs she gives out pencils and rubbers or stickers instead and no food at all.

Bubblysqueak Mon 03-Apr-17 19:51:18

This is awful. There should be pictures of him up in the staff room/school kitchen etc with all allergy advice written on it and all staff should be aware.
As a teacher you do not mess around when it comes to allergies. I have a child in my class with an allergy to egg. It is one of the first things I tell any supply staff and everyone in the room is always paranoid about any food in the class.
You really should complain.

cansu Mon 03-Apr-17 19:52:54

Is this is the regular teacher then this is v poor. I am a teacher and am v careful when dealing with children with allergies. I think you need to go in and have a meeting about how they can make sure this doesn't happen again. I think some of the suggestions of having a stock of treats etc for teacher to use for your ds are good, but the real answer is for the teacher to be responsible by knowing your ds can't have dairy and ensuring that he isn't offered it by adults in school. If another child gave the chocolate then that is somewhat different, but that doesn't appear to be the case here.

Natsku Mon 03-Apr-17 19:54:54

Now she has a little girl with coeliacs she gives out pencils and rubbers or stickers instead and no food at all

Brilliant teacher! My DD has coeliac disease and she gets so upset (internally, outwardly she's very calm about it and politely refuses but when she gets home she tells me and asks why can't she be normal) when she doesn't get to have treats that everyone else can - giving out non-edible treats solves the issue for all allergies, plus doesn't encourage children to expect sweets/choc as rewards.

OP that must be so frustrating, I agree with the others about sending in a supply of non-dairy treats and talk to the teachers and make sure they remember (and maybe suggest non-food treats altogether)

Teabagtits Mon 03-Apr-17 19:56:38

Dd's school have ignored multiple notifications and twice yearly update forms that state dd can't have dairy. Dietician wrote a letter and we've been in and spoke to the head. In the end we had to drum into dd what she can and cant have. This year's class teacher has been quite good with treats and cakes so noone gets to eat them in class and dd has to bring hers home so we can work out if it's safe. Unfortunately this hasn't extended to the canteen for school lunches. One day a week there are no dairy free options (pizza or macaroni cheese) so she takes a packed lunch. I'm so disappointed in how little they've done to help despite the promises that they would be supportive.

I honestly don't know what else can be done. Dd knew from about 4 what she couldn't have and to ask if there was dairy in things people tried to give her.

MyBreadIsEggy Mon 03-Apr-17 19:58:44

That is appalling!
My son has severe dairy and soya allergies - immediate reaction and a few episodes on anaphylaxis while I was still breastfeeding and had a particularly "cheesy day" and he's only 5mo sad
I would be furious with the school.
You've made it very clear that your son has an allergy.
I would request a meeting with the head teacher.

DrDiva Mon 03-Apr-17 19:59:17

Thank you very much for all the replies. I forgot to say that we had indeed provided a stick of alternative treats, and they hadn't been using them prior to the last slip up. They started when I pointed out that this was the point of me bringing in the stuff, but somehow last Friday it didn't happen.

On the whole DS is pretty good at checking, but occasionally temptation is just too much for him.

There is some great advice here for what to say to the teacher/head teacher, and also what their protocols should be. I shall arm myself with this. It's also good to know that I am not being a hysterical mother, expecting my DS to be looked after properly, surely this is a type of safeguarding issue?

AThousandTears Mon 03-Apr-17 19:59:55

Another teacher here who seconds the advice above to complain. That many slip ups is not acceptable. There's no way I'd forget something like that about a kid in my class. Was this his usual teacher?

Does he have school meals? How do they manage that?
I'm also guessing his attendance takes a hit every time they make this mistake? Talk to the head about this too.

DrDiva Mon 03-Apr-17 20:02:09

We would love them to move to non-good treats! Most schools in this borough have - including suggesting that kids buy a book for the library in their birthday, that gets their name on a special plaque on the title page.

teabag - it's bloody wearing, isn't it? flowers for everyone dealing with this.

DrDiva Mon 03-Apr-17 20:04:12

Yes, his usual teacher.
School meals are brilliant. I rang the company when he started school and they talked me through their procedures. As far as I can tell (from DS's nonreaction!) they have never slipped up.
And yes re attendance. Until the first episode it was 100%. Now it's not.

Falafelings Mon 03-Apr-17 20:04:35

Formal complaint to the head. By email so that you have a paper trail. Mention that it has happened x many times this year and is completely unacceptable.

Falafelings Mon 03-Apr-17 20:06:05

Copy in the chair of governors

DrDiva Mon 03-Apr-17 20:17:23

A paper trail is also a good idea, thank you.

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