With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

08 February 2010

Be My Valentine but Hold the Candy

I'm still here. Just have a backlog of Food Allergy Buzz stuff to catch up and I'm not sure when I will be caught up! I have a few Valentine's goodies to share with you, hopefully later today.

In the meantime, I thought I would share another little food allergy kid challenge which I know so many of you have already been through--the Valentine's Card exchange at school. I almost forgot that some Valentines come with candy. My 6 year old son reacts to skin contact minute traces. This was confirmed during trick-or-treating at Halloween.

I am trying to decide the best approach:

a) Tell him not to touch any of the Valentines in his "Valentine Mailbox" until he gets home from Kindergarten and ask the teacher to help ensure this. (He is a superb listener and I'm leaning toward this option).

b) Ask the teacher to let me come during the Valentine's festivities so I can "assist" while making sure he does not touch the Valentines. (I'm not crazy over this noticeable special treatment. )

c) Ask the teacher to ask parents not to send in candy. (I am not in favor of imposing on others because of our situation.)

What do you think?


Theresa Marie said...

I'm not crazy about events always revolving around junk food so I choose option C. Keep in mind, we have not experienced kindergarten yet....if parents or kids want to include something with the valentine, how about super hero/princess pencils or something similar. Or if leaving out candy is not an option, provide a safe candy for the entire class....looking forward to others thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely think you should ask the teacher to relay to the parents to please not send in candy or any food for that matter. This is so that ALL the children can be included in the fun and you do not have to be worried about a potential reaction. In my daughter's school, though not perfect, they are not allowed to bring in any food items for b-day parties or celebrations. I'm sure that some parents are not thrilled about this, but hopefully they understand that it is to keep everyone involved in the celebratons AND most importantly SAFE. By the way, there are four children in my daughter's class with food allergies. Hope this helps!

Ruth LovettSmith said...


I'm a firm believer in food free classrooms period.

That being said, it is part of our plan that any food that enters the classroom that is to "share" is free of my son's allergens. The food also can not be home made and has to be packaged, labeled, allergen free AND can not contain warning labels.

Individual snacks do not have to follow the above rules but DO have to be free of my son's allergens.

No on situation is the right one for all food allergy families however implementing an individual health care plan, 504 plan, or IEP helps to minimize these types of issues/problems.

Our plan was developed with the school nurse, school principal with input from us and our allergist.

It's nice to have a consistent plan for food for the entire school year.

For your son--I think it depends upon his and your comfort level. My son is now 7 and I could tell him not to touch the items and he'd listen.

In fact, I don't think they'll be opening them in class but bringing their bags and boxes home to open.

I'm also the room parent and will be there for the festivities. Being the room parent goes a long way for those that can swing it.

Good luck! I'm sure he'll e okay and have fun too.

MMA said...

I think it is too late for option C. Something like that has to be telegraphed way in advance so it is a "policy" and not a case of "that kid that cancelled our valentines day fun." I think option A for a good listener that you are comfortable with like your son will help your son develop skills to deal with his allergy on his own and give both of you confidence in his abilities to deal with this allergy - which is important for both of you.

Anonymous said...

I have to comment again...I feel that option C should be the staple for all schools. Food does not have to be a part of celebrations in school. Also, in response to MMA, I feel that developing skills to deal with allergies is essential, however, it's best learned while the child is with the parent, not at school. There are many opportunities to teach your child these skills such as on play dates, at birthday parties, etc. that you will be present at in which you can help him develop these skills. Eventually, as your child gets older, they will then take what they have learned from you (the parents) about keeping them safe, and be able to help keep themselves safe. I do not think that any child should have to deal with this while AT school - too much risk involved.

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone for your comments!

I am one of the room parents for my son's (peanut-free) class so I am able to get into the class more often, which is wonderful. The valentine's festivities involve non-food crafts and a low-key exchange of cards that does not require parent volunteers.

I am confident no treats containing nuts or peanuts will find their way in, but I won't be surprised if a "nut-free" candy or two come attached to a valentine's card. My son has been practicing saying no to appealing, mouth-watering treats for 3 years and I have been really impressed by his peanut allergy safety skills. If it were not for all those experiences, you bet I'd insist on being present during the card exchange!

My son never hesitates to say no to those goodies because he still remembers his most severe reaction. He has managed class parties involving food in preschool and numerous birthday parties with grace and enjoys them thoroughly.

I think we've worked out a good arrangement: no candies or food accompanying the valentines will be opened by my son or his classmates in school. Valentines treats are to be opened at home. The teacher, my son, and I are all on board with this plan, so I think the card exchange should go off without a hitch.

Note to self for September: peanut-free class is not enough, must also request no candies in class.

Re: food free class--I'd love one! For now, however, I am grateful for my son's peanut-free/nut-free classroom and his classmates' parents who've been cooperative and respectful about keeping nuts and peanuts out of the classroom.