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Allergies and intolerances

very annoyed with brownie leaders

26 replies

loobeylou · 19/11/2008 11:33

Rant alert, need to vent and advice on how to complain!!!

DD is coeliac, she is very sensitive and is gluten AND wheat free. The rule is supposed to be if it does not say GF on it she does not have it.

brownies KNOW ie have it in writing from me in no uncertain terms what this means, what she can and cannot do or eat, & to avoid party games with flour etc etc. They are usually good at bringing her a substitute if they are having cakes or Christmas choccies etc.

Last week they were making firework biscuit things on rich tea biscuits. No problem, she took her own biccies. They had also run by me a list of the decorations they would be using and i had been through them saying which she could and could not have. Told DD so she knew too.They also mentioned sticking on with icing - I assumed plain homemade icing sugar and water.

DD was very ill day after eating the creation. Had to have 2 days off school and was unable to eat properly and still obv under par now. Thought at first it was a bug but she was just massively sick once then that it. Noone else in family been ill.

Turns out they had used shop bought butter icing which is not WF/GF

am so angry!!!!!!

How do I address this with them,WWYD??

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nell12 · 19/11/2008 11:36

It sounds to me that they are generally very good at addressing the issues of your dds condition and generally bend over backwards to accommodate her.

You are very right to be cross, but I am sure this was just an oversight on their part and once they know how unwell dd was, not only will they feel very guilty but will also ensure everything gets triple checked.

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OhYouBadBadKitten · 19/11/2008 11:37

I'd ask for a review meeting with Brown Owl and the District Commissioner to ensure that this never happens again, not only in your dds pack but also in other packs.

Its awful that it happened, they were utter idiots and its had awful consequences for your dd but at the same time they are human volunteers so the main aim I think should be a strong re-education rather than anything else.

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abraid · 19/11/2008 11:42

Yes, they are volunteers, so I wouldn't be asking for reviews with them. Often they are rushing home from work to take Brownies before rushing back home to their own families.

I'm worried that people will be further put off offering to be Brown Owls if they think that they have another possible personal liability and possibly the threat of litigation to worry about.

This is not in anyway to dismiss what happened to the OP's daughter, but there might be better ways of handling it, like a quiet word with Brown Owl after Brownies.

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Seeline · 19/11/2008 11:44

It does sound as if the leaders generally do their best for your daughter. They are probably catering for arund 24 girls, others of whom may have special requirements too. Also, I think unless you are really familiar with a condition such as this, you honestly don't relise the number of unexpected foods which are not GF/WF. I would certainly mention to the leaer that you daughter has been really ill, and reiterate that you must check everything that she eats - I don't think it fair to put the fianl responsibilty on teh leaders. They are after all volunteers who give up an awful lot of time to give girls alot of fun. I'm sure that they will be fully cooperative if they are aware of how poorly your daughter has been this time.

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abraid · 19/11/2008 11:44

Also, the OP 'assumed' plain homemade icing sugar and water. Perhaps next time clarification needs to be more definite.

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OhYouBadBadKitten · 19/11/2008 11:47

Certainly agree that people shouldn't be worrying about litigation and what not. Its hard getting volunteers! Perhaps 'review meeting' sounds more formal than I meant it to. Having attended a first aid course with pack leaders and a commissioner it was very clear how seriously they tok their responsibility.

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HuwEdwards · 19/11/2008 11:52

Sorry Loobey, but I think the buck stops with you.

You made an assumption about the icing which I think was a mistake, you should've checked.

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onthewarpath · 19/11/2008 11:52

It sound like they overlooked the possibility of the icing containing gluten, not like they did not care. I would mention it so they pay more attention next time but would not be overly hard on them. As a mother /toddler leader I make all the effort possible to provide alternatve food for special diets but cannot guaranty that I will never overlook anything.
Very sorry to hear your DD has been so poorly, and I am sure Brownies leader will be too.

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loobeylou · 19/11/2008 12:32

hi guys

yes, i know i share some blame, don't think i have not been kicking myself all week over this!! and I was NOT talking about sueing them!!

But let me also say that I run a Rainbows unit, so i am fully aware of the responsibilities that go hand in hand with volunteering. They want me to let her go on pack holiday , so i need to be sure THEY will check EVERY label! The product in question clearly states that it is not WF/GF. I do not want to seen as a trouble maker/get the brown owl in bother with her commissioner(neighbouring area to one i'm in so don't know the brown owl socially or anything tho have met on first aid courses etc)

I have a dairy allergic child at Rainbows. This needs to be treated VERY seriously. I double check EVERYTHING to do with food and drink with the mum at drop off time, even though having food problems to deal with at home I KNOW what i have chosen is OK, it gives the mum some extra confidence too!

what I really wanted to know is, is a quiet word at the next brownies OK, where in future I have no proof of what was said or done, or should i put it in writing so that there can be no confusion, or does that look too formal/complainy??

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HuwEdwards · 19/11/2008 12:49

Loobey, if this is the first time, I would speak to them, explain she's been ill - they will no doubt be mortified. Ask them if there's anything more you can do - provide info etc.

Hope she's fine in future.

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BalloonSlayer · 19/11/2008 12:59

How old's your DD, Loobey?

My DS1 (8) has serious food allergies and there is no way we would "let him go" on a pack holiday or similar. One of us has to go too.

As you have learned, other people just don't check things properly. Even people in the family who love your DCs tremendously - they just DON'T check.

My mantra is: "my child, my responsibility."

Every organisation my DS goes to thinks I am the biggest pain in the arse ever because I insist on checking everything. I sometimes feel really stupid and have to apologise a lot for checking something someone else has already checked. But hey, my child . . . etc etc.

for you and DD though. I know how hard it is.

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BalloonSlayer · 19/11/2008 13:05

Thinking about it, the way I would mention it is:

"DD was very ill after eating the icing that was used. I know you wouldn't think that icing would have wheat or gluten in it - I wouldn't either - but this just goes to show that everything she has must be shown to me to be checked before she has it. Because we all assumed it would be ok, and she really suffered, poor thing."

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frasersmummy · 19/11/2008 13:08

Hi loobey you deffo need to make brown owl aware.

If you dont and then they bake on p/hol.. the leaders will most probably use the same icing on the basis that they used it last time without incident

I think you need to call brown owl ahead of brownie night and ask for a meeting.. that way she can arrange enough time to talk all this through with you somewhere aware from the rest of the girls
I also think you should ask brown owl to fill out an accident form for this incident.

This doesnt mean you are complaining just means that there is a formalrecord at county level that something has happened at brownies that has made your daughter ill.

As the guide association has personal liability insurance for all the girls and leaders , when an accident form is filled out the insurance co are informed and you will receive a form asking if you want to make a claim against the organisation.

If you decide to let your daughter go on p/hol I would suggest a meeting with you, guider in charge, first aider and qm so everyone is very very clear

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frasersmummy · 19/11/2008 13:11

as an additional thought ... if and when p/hol happens you could suggest helping with the food shopping....

I dont know a brownie guider who would say no to an extra pair of hands to push the trollies or pack at the checkouts

and you can veto anything your daughter cant have ...

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loobeylou · 19/11/2008 13:12

Balloonslayer - she is also 8, almost 9, very mature and very careful about what she eats. But she might also be too polite to question an adult who says something is OK that might not be! Easy if we are talking about refusing a sweet or snack, harder if it's a meal at an organised venue of some sort. I got out of her pleading to go on brownie camp last year because it was too far, would have involved a 200 mile round trip to drop her off and the same to collect her. Never mind if they made a mistake with her diet and she was ill and had to come home. I expressed my amazememnt that it was so far away, this was because they had not got their first choice of guiding accommodation. They don't do coaches because it bumps the price up so much!

What do you do/will you do about school residential trips? I have posted about this on here before. i am terrified to let her go! I have been thinking about it ever since she was diagnosed in reception and they don't go till Y5 & Y6 !!

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loobeylou · 19/11/2008 13:19

thanks frasersmummy - the problem is, it is not just as easy as asking them to get some Gf sausages & fish fingers etc, and providing all her own bread, cereals, biscuits and cakes etc. Buying everything else from stock cubes to baked beans Gf will really push up the price of the food they need to buy for everyone else, don't really think they realised when they said "we are happy to cater for her, we'll show you a menu and you just say what she can't have". It really will mean checking EVERYTHING - and often, buying a more expensive brand.

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RumMum · 19/11/2008 13:31

I would find out in advance what food they need for brownies and supply it myself!
my DS is 10 and allergic to dairy, eggs and nuts. he has an epi-pen, I find it really hard to let other people be responsible for his food...
He's in year 6 and is going away with the school for 3 days in July...

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frasersmummy · 19/11/2008 13:37

Hi Loobey

As a brown owl I can tell you that we would never exclude any child from an event based on food allergies/intolerances.. it just wouldnt be right and if it means taking extra guiders, spending more money etc then thats what we do and I'm guessing thats what your brown owl is doing too

Of course the decision is yours .. and based on this incident I think I would be really wary of letting her go away with these guiders esp to somewhere 100 miles from home.... thats really far even for kids without allergies/serious illnesses.

I notice you said you are a rainbow leader so if you really wanted your dd to go then perhaps you could offer to go as a leader

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cheesesarnie · 19/11/2008 13:42

i agree with abraid .

also agree it might be easier to supply her food yourself for camp.we did this whenever we went anywhere with ds2 when he was intolerant to cows milk and its produce and hes veggie.just easier all round.
i think quiet word with brown owl so she knows your dd had a reaction and knows for next time is all thats needed.

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loobeylou · 19/11/2008 13:54

RumMum - are you supplying all the food he will need for the school trip then, with menu plans and strict instructions? Have you had a meeting with head/teacher or written to the chef where they are going. I know what you mean about "gulp"!!

Hope he is OK and has a great time!

Frasersmummy - agree, I could volunteer and go on camp, the trouble is, once you volunteer for this sort of thing once, you tend to get stuck with it forever, and it would mean DH having time off work to look after my younger 2!!

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frasersmummy · 19/11/2008 14:01

hahahah.. that is soo true.. I went along for a few weeks and I am still there 17 years later..

just do what feels right for you and for your dd- mothers intuition will not let you down.

But deffo get an accident form filled out.. keeps everybody right

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BalloonSlayer · 19/11/2008 14:17

The school have already said that DH can go on the yr6 trip with DS1.

Normally there is a "lottery" as to which parents are allowed to go.

DS's friends' parents (with non-allergic children) who are naturally also anxious about their DCs being away from home, are pleased that DH is going as they know at least their DCs will have "someone they know" there if they themselves don't get to go.

I think it's better for DS if DH goes rather than me. I am worried about him seeming to be a mummy's boy. But that means I have to miss out on lots of tedious crap fun activities with a load of hyperactive kids.

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RumMum · 19/11/2008 17:30

loobeylou... he's not going till July... believe me I will be on the phone to the center wayyyy before then.....

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squeakypop · 19/11/2008 17:34

If you can't trust them, become a Unit Helper.

It sound like they are doing a pretty good job. It is hard looking after children with allergies, and most units will have 2 of 3 girls with highly specific needs.

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tatt · 19/11/2008 17:52

BalloonSlayer put it very well, I'd go with that approach. They obviously try pretty hard but they made a mistake. You did too - we're all human.

She is old enough at 8 to start checking food herself. That doesn't remove the responsibility from the adults but it will provide a backup.

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