My kids don’t have food allergies. I do have a child who has an intolerance and another child who has celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder), so when it comes to food safety and our kids, I can understand.
Raru goes to school with a totally gluten-filled school. Lunches all around her, craft projects with gluten, field trips and parents bringing in gluten-filled snacks. I have to advocate hard for her to ensure she is safe while at school and it’s stressful for both of us.
My kids school is, however a “nut-free” school and while many of you may assume that it’s an inconvenience to make a lunch for my kids that is now gluten free and nut-free when she LOVES her peanut butter, I am thankful it’s nut-free.
I can put myself in the shoes of those parents who have kids with severe immediate-reaction allergies. My daughter’s celiac disease is serious; she will be sick for weeks from a small cross-contamination and every reaction increases her chances for more trouble down the road. However, when I send her to school I don’t have to fear that I will be called to go to the emergency room due to a reaction that could kill her. I am glad our school takes those allergies seriously and helps protect the children, giving them a safe school to attend and some peace of mind for the parents.
There are many who don’t agree with nut-free schools — those parents I can bet don’t have to worry about their children when it comes to food. They may not understand the differences between a true allergy and a sensitivity and perhaps downplay the seriousness of it all. They likely can’t step outside themselves for a moment and put themselves in the shoes of that parent who does have to worry.
Click through to read the phrases you should never say to the parent of kids with food-related issues:
“You’re Exaggerating” / “It’s Not That Bad” 1 of 7How do you know? When I say that my daughter can't come into contact with one bread crumb, I mean it. If another parent says if their child even smells peanuts they will have a reaction, it's true. I encourage you to read up on the differences between allergy/intolerant/sensitivity because too many treat allergies as sensitivities. There are huge differences.
Photo credit: Bruce Tuten on Flickr
“It’s Inconvenient For Me” 2 of 7If your kid's school is nut free and your kid wants their peanut butter sandwich at school, trust me, it's not that bad of an inconvenience for you. Imagine how that family feels having to send their young child to school knowing they could die if someone in their class brings in that sandwich. Try to step out of your own shoes for once.
Photo credit: GÃºnna on Flickr
“They Just Need More Exposure” 3 of 7Ah, the myths -- we don't want them thrown in our face. Our kids will not 'get over it' by exposing them more to their allergen. It can actually do quite the opposite, the more exposure the more serious the reaction.
Photo credit: PeterJBellis on Flickr
“I Bet He Will Grow Out of It” 4 of 7They may or they may not - depending on what their allergy is. True allergies you don't exactly grow out of, nor do you grow out of celiac disease. Intolerances and sensitivities, maybe, but never assume it's not serious.
Photo credit: Niklas Hellerstedt on Flickr
“Why Should I Care?” 5 of 7You don't want to show your true colors -- being someone who can't step outside yourself. Why should you? Because it's someone's child.
Photo credit: slightly everything on Flickr
“I’ll Sneak Him a Cookie” 6 of 7A parents worst nightmare -- someone who doesn't take their food-issue seriously. Do not joke about this.
Photo credit: left-hand on Flickr
“You’re Not Letting Your Kid Be a Kid” 7 of 7I had a paediatrician tell me this once and was shocked. You don't say this to a parent because we are letting them be a kid -- a safe one. Substituting what cookie or food they eat is not making life any harder or less child-like for our kids.
Photo credit: subewl on Flickr
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photo credit: Bruce Tuten on Flickr