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Allergies and intolerances

Teaching ds how to keep himself safe

13 replies

wb · 13/07/2008 11:12

Ds1 is 2.5 and now very verbal. Following his last round of allergy testing it seems that his dairy allergy has gone, leaving only (!) his peanut allergy. He is not allergic to tree nuts (hurrah) tho will not be eating them til at least age 5.

Up til now I have told him that 'he doesn't eat nuts' and that eating nuts would make him very sick and have sometimes had to tell him he can't have chocolates/cake etc because it has nuts in it. But pretty much I'm always around to keep an eye out.

Anyway, I think the time has come to start teaching him about his allergy with the eventual view of him being able to protect himself (obviously some years off). What would it be reasonable for him to say/understand? Should I get him to differentiate between a peanut and the other types? Ideally I don't want him to accept food from anyone without checking w. me/his dad first.

Can anyone share with me how they approached this whole subject with their own child? Its all a bit complicated by the fact that he barely knows what a nut looks like or tastes like as he's never had one and we don't have them round the house. He has never had a reaction to peanuts (never having had one) so its not as though he has any bad associations of them either.

Also has anyone ever found a story book about allergies suitable for young children?

OP posts:
savoycabbage · 13/07/2008 19:47

Yes! I have being doing this exact thing today.


From American Amazon Allie the Allergic Elephant

At the risk of sounding like a total loon we have decided to write a book ourselves - only for our dd I mean, not in a professional capacity! Our dd is 4 and going to school in September and so we need her to be able to understand a bit more about it.

williamsmummy · 18/07/2008 15:44

as child grows older play

spot the nut in the supermarket
and pic and mix section of woolies!

once they can read their name, teach them how to read nut

tell them every time they eat that mummy or daddy has checked it and not to eat anything unless mummy has done this.

explain about the label reading/checking

teach them to cook, and prepare food, and get positive experiences with food to counter balance the negative.

hang up meds and ask child to remind you to get them when you leave the home. Then overdose on praise.

when older get child to carry own meds asap.
get them to be responsible for them outside school.

just a few thoughts from top of my head!

wb · 19/07/2008 16:02

Thank you both. Will order books, grit my teeth (have secretly been hoping prob would disappear I think) and get on with it.

OP posts:
desperatehousewifetoo · 19/07/2008 16:54

My ds, now 6yrs, (allergic to peanuts, hazlenuts and eggs, foodwise) began very quickley to take responsibility for this once he started school. All his class know that he can't eat certain foods and they are amazing at remembering to tell their parents or reminding his teacher (who I think this year has not always remembered).

When he was your ds' age, I would always remind him to check with an adult if he can eat something and praise him loads when he did. So before going to a friends for tea, even if I was there, I would remind him.

When he goes to brithday parties now I always talk to the parents first to offer to take food (even those I have known for years as I don't expect them to remember!) and usually we just discuss what they are going to have and generally there is plenty he could eat.

I used to take something instead of cake but he has never really had cake so doesn't really miss it and don't bother now.

I always tell the parents that as long as he knows what he can't have on the table he will be fine.

I find that giving the parents the box with his epipen and prirton usually focuses them onto how serious it is!

It really is no big deal now and just part of his life

tatt · 20/07/2008 05:34

if he's never had a reaction to peanuts he may yet outgrow the allergy. You may want to think about a food challenge in a few years time if his tests scores are low and drop.

For a very young child keep it very simple. Saying they can't have any nuts is easiest. Tell him food must be checked with a grown up first, mummy od daddy if they are there.

As children often make up stories about being allergic if they dislike a food make sure you always warn adults this one is real!

savoycabbage · 21/07/2008 11:41

I read this a couple of weeks ago about probiotics. I as giving my dd yakult anyway as they recommended probiotics at the hospital.

shouldbeelswhere · 04/06/2011 12:00

Thank you re the book and the good ideas from williamsmummy and desperatehousewifetoo, have been looking into this this morning too. As others have said, I talk to my daughter about checking with an adult and always make a big thing of checking in front of her and saying "no nuts, good you can have it". She's 2.5yrs but I want to start talking about what to do if she accidently has something that causes a reaction; getting ready for looking after her epipen. Any other books anyone can recommend - maybe something to grow into?

freefrommum · 04/06/2011 20:38

The Anaphylaxis Campaign sell a number of books suitable for children that are really good. The main thing is talking to your child about checking with mummy before accepting food from anyone and teaching them not to be afraid to question adults about the suitability of food before accepting it (even teachers need reminding sometimes!). My son wears an allergy alert wristband too that he loves and is good way of allerting others to his allergies.

shouldbeelswhere · 06/06/2011 11:52

Thank you, I've just ordered one. I'll leave feedback on it for others once we've had a chance to read it. RE the wrist band, I can sometimes get my daughter to wear it on her ankle, no chance on wrist but mostly she just takes it off and chews it! Tried to get her to just wear it on nursery days but she's not having any of it...oh well, lucky the nursery are nut's a whole new ball game though.

Acekicker · 07/06/2011 19:24

All good advice here - we reinforced 'only stuff that Mummy/Daddy have checked' with even if someone else has said it's ok to eat and explained that some people can get confused about ingredients and it wasn't rude to come and check with us.

We almost made a game of it when going to parties etc way before DS was old enough to really 'understand' we'd say in the car 'what's the rule about parties?' and he'd chant back 'only eat something if Mummy has checked it's ok' and I'd then say 'what about if someone else has told you it's fine' and he'd reply with 'I must still check with you etc'.

Also any 'swapping' of food is also very much forbidden.

You also need to have zero tolerance for if they don't check etc. DS when he was 4 got carried away at a party when all the other kids dived on the birthday cake and he grabbed a jelly baby from it. I was right behind him in the kitchen but in the mass of excited 4 year olds too slow to stop it. I felt an absolute bitch but I told him that he'd broken the rules and so we'd have to leave the party (even though he was fine and no reaction etc). He sobbed all the way home but he's never done it again.... some lessons really have to be done the hard way.

shouldbeelswhere · 08/06/2011 17:36

Goodness that sounds really tough! But I can see that that sort of thing would certainly stick in a child's mind. - I'll definately use that one! Still waiting for the book..

lukewarmmama · 09/06/2011 21:31

We've always talked about it with/in front of DD1 (now 3.10, anaphylactic to dairy and eggs), so there's never been a need to 'introduce' teh idea to her that she needs to check.

I think it helps that we've always used the phrase '[DD1 name] friendly' to describe dairy/egg free food - ie going round a supermarket and saying 'I'm just looking at the label to see if its [DD1 name] friendly'. So for quite a while now she's always asked 'is it [my name] friendly'. Even if she asks this to a different adult, its hopefully enough to stop them in their tracks and think about what they are giving her. To be honest though, at this age, the environment is so under your control that the risks can be managed quite well. It's going to school I worry about...

shouldbeelswhere · 10/06/2011 08:28

me too. I'm writing a letter to the school to ask them what policies are in place to keep children with nut allergy safe, I've been frightened by some of the stuff I've read on web also thought if I do it now if the staff aren't epipen trained they'll have time to be! The book arrived yesterday: "Freddy meets Nutmeg, the squirrel who was allergic to nuts". It puts responsibility onto friends which I'm not happy with however that gives another opportunity to discuss whos responsibility it is to keep safe but otherwise a good book and gives lots of opportunity for - "Oh you have one of those too, in mummy's bag (epipen)". DD loves the story so that helps but like those above we've always talked about, it just reinforcing safety issues.

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