As the beginning of the school years quickly approaches, I just wanted to share a few thoughts with other parents out there. Many of you will come into contact with a child who has life threatening food allergies. The numbers have increased like crazy! And although it may be difficult to understand ones severity to foods (milk, eggs, peanuts) please consider this:
With approximately 180 school days, school lunches only represent 16.4% of your child’s meals per year. Is it worth sending your child in to school with peanut products, knowing there is an allergic child who can die when they come in contact with it (even trace amounts) when they can have it for breakfast or when they get home?
Are we wanting to teach our children how to be understanding and empathetic to children with special needs, allergies included? Are we modeling that or throwing a fit if a parent is asking for a Peanut Free Classroom?
If your child had a medical condition that was life threatening, would you not be their Advocate and fight to keep them safe? Or even if the school they attended had something hazardous to their health, would you not require that it be removed so your child could not be harmed (Lead paint, broken playground equipment, asbestos).
What would be more disturbing for your child, that you tell them they cannot eat a PB&J or watching their classmate react as their throat swells shut, stops breathing and dies right in front of them?
What do you worry about on your child’s first day of school? That they are safe on the bus, make friends, like their teacher, be successful this school year, be popular? The only thing I really worry about, is if I get a phone call that my child is not coming home.
I’m not being selfish, or unfair to others. I am simply asking that you consider removing 1 food item from your child’s lunch boxes this year, even if your school does not mandate it in an order to protect someone you may not even know. I know first hand how difficult it may sound as my older children had to deal with no longer eating PB&J. We also had to get rid of all things MILK and EGGS in our home. We throw out Halloween candy after collecting it, cannot dye Easter eggs, cannot take an airplane when we travel, clorox wipe every table and chair including movie theatre chairs and rails before he sits down, we avoid many favorite places to eat and always have something packed just in case we eat out so we know he’s safe, we cannot order any specialty cakes for birthdays in our home, go to bday parties or sleepovers, and even have to make sure that our dog food with without milk, eggs or peanut butter in their snacks because he’ll react if they lick him.
Has your child ever gotten hurt? Broken an arm, had a bad fall, been taken to the hospital? How does that make you feel? I’ve called 911 six times after he’s gone into shock and had to personally jab the EPI-pen into his tiny little thigh just to help him breathe. I pray every day over him that he’ll be safe! And although I trust God, I also feel the weight of responsibility as God has put him in my care. Part of that is to share with you what we go through, what we experience, what it feels like and ask that you take a moment, as put yourself in my shoes and your child’s in Xander’s shoes. What would you do?