Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Peanut Butter Police

My kids are going to camp next week and it's a "peanut free" zone. They are not allowed to bring ANY food products with peanuts in them for lunch. If they find peanuts or peanut products in their lunch (and I quote) "the lunch will be thrown away and you will be called to bring your child a new lunch". I'm sorry, but when did peanut butter become the enemy? I understand that people have severe allergies, but this is just ridiculous. I don't mind complying with the rules, but it does create an issue for MY family - because peanut butter is a staple and likely the first choice of at least one or two kids for their lunch while at camp. Peanut butter is cheap and accessible and I have four huge Costco jars of it right now. I have one child who doesn't like any sandwich OTHER than peanut butter, so I will have to come up with something else she likes (not an easy task) for her lunch each day. I just think if a child has such a severe peanut allergy, other precautions should be taken. Such as not attending a summer camp with hundreds of other kids who's parents can't afford to send them Subway sandwiches or Lunchables each day. Or perhaps they should start offering "peanut free" camp weeks for kids with these severe allergies. I understand these allergies can be life-threatening. As a parent, if my child was severely allergic, I certainly would not rely on a staff of high schoolers to keep her peanut-free all week. After surveying my grocery purchases for the kids' lunches next week, I realized I had also purchased peanut granola bars, and Chips Ahoy cookies with peanut butter cups in them. Oops. Peanut butter is just too easy and such a great, nutritions, healthy protein to send a kid for lunch during a camp day, I can't believe 99 kids have to make accomodations for the one kid that's allergic. What's next? Peanut-free schools? Playgrounds? Malls? Will there be peanut police (Peanut Blart and Jelly, what, what, what is up?)? Will our kids face misdemeanor charges if they are caught with a Nutter Butter? This is nuts! Pun intended.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

This is such a tough subject. I worked at a preschool and we had a kid there with severe peanut allergies so bad that one time a friend of a teacher came in who'd had a Bojangles chicken biscuit (fried in peanut oil, which he didn't know) and the crumbs apparently had falled down his shirt. He held the kid, and the kid started turning red, rashy, and unable to breathe. It was "mild" enough thankfully that some Benadryl took care of it and no epi pen was needed that day, but scary indeed. But our policy was not "no peanut butter" - I think we just alerted parents from the beginning that we had an allergy, and to please let us know if their child brings a snack containing it so we could keep them separated and get them washed up before contact resumed (haha I made them scrub the heck out of their hands and arms!). We also checked all their snacks when getting them out of their lunchboxes, but that was easy because it was preschool - not so easy if you have older kids who do it themselves. I have read before though about schools that considered banning it - I think some preschools actually have. I don't think I'd go that far as an educator - I'd just alert everybody and ask them to please be conscious of it so we can prevent trouble. But as a parent of a kid with an allergy - I'm like you, I don't think I'd ever trust the people there enough to keep an eye out for all the food those kids bring. It's scary, because they can even just have residue from food at home on their clothes, and that can set it off. But I think it just depends on how serious it is - this kid I knew had parents that were well-educated about the issues and passed that knowledge on to us, and we had the spare epi pen in the first aid kit ready to go if needed. If it's so serious that that won't work, then I do agree that it's time for separate activities altogether.

Interesting topic for today - thought provoking!