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Why I Support Nut-Free Classrooms (even though my kids don’t have allergies)

I never did like co-sleeping, and baby slings never worked for me.  I may have nursed on demand, but when that baby was done, I was quite happy to let him have his tummy time on his own while I did the dishes.  I encourage my kids to climb those cliffs and come home dirty and to wander around outside on their own.

So I definitely wouldn’t call myself an attachment parent. 

Nutfree

But the common consensus seems to be that anyone who agrees with rules prohibiting nuts in schools must be a hovering, bubble-wrap packing, breastfeeding-til-middle-school type parent. 

I am not.

20150927_074402However, I do totally support my children’s school banning nut products from our classrooms and from our school building … even though no one in my family is allergic.

A few days ago, an 18 year old woman had an allergice reaction and died.  While she wasn’t carrying her epipen, doctors say they wouldn’t have helped her anyway.

So when I started caring for kids (even before my own were born), I was happy to keep things as nut-free as possible when needed.  Here’s why:

It’s life or death.

When a child’s life is on the line, you want to bet I’m going to do everything in my power to protect that child.  If that means buying peanut-free foods, then that’s what I’ll do.  They aren’t any more expensive, and more and more manufacturers are getting on board with providing those options.  It’s not hard.20150927_080055

Kids need to learn to eat things other than peanut butter sandwiches anyway.

My kids are the pickiest eaters on the planet, just ask anyone who knows them.  But if they choose not to eat the food I’ve packed, I’d rather they go hungry for a few hours rather than put someone’s life at risk.  Seriously, it’s only a few hours til they get home and can eat whatever they want.

I’d want others to do the same for my kids.

If my kids had a severe allergy to anything, you can bet I’d be making sure others knew it.  Yes, I would teach them to be careful too, but I would expect those around them to be considerate as well.  I also expect that things like drugs and guns would not be allowed around my children for the same reason.

Kids learn compassion and selflessness by putting the needs of others first.

When my daughter eats peanut butter for breakfast, she knows that she’ll need to scrub her hands and face and brush her teeth extra well before going to school or church.  When she was younger, she’d often have to change her shirt too.  As a result, she often chooses something else to eat.  Is that a bad thing?  No.  She’s choosing to not put others in life-threatening situations.   I’d say that’s a good thing.

20150927_074642

What other parents choose to do isn’t under my control.

So whether the parents of a child allergic to nuts raises them to check each food carefully or ask every single time isn’t up to me.  What is up to me is what I do, and what I teach my kids to do.

I’m choosing to teach my kids empathy and respect.  I’m choosing to not teach my kids to treat others with a “my rights are more important than your life”-type attitude, but to honour and respect the lives of others.  In the grand scheme of things, if that means only having peanut butter on Saturdays, that’s a tiny price to pay.

What about you?  Is your child’s school nut-free? 

What has the general reaction been to the “No Nuts” rule?

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!

20 Comments

  1. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    Interesting!! Like you, even though my kids aren’t allergic to nuts, I wouldn’t mind a nut-free policy! It’s important to keep ALL kids safe in a school environment!
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  2. Alli

    My kids are all grown and they’ve never had allergic reactions to nuts. One of my favorite foods is peanut butter. I can certainly understand the logic and reasoning behind having nut-free everything in order to keep children safe, but I would love to know why nut allergies have increased over the years. I didn’t know anyone with a nut allergy when I was in school, nor did any of my kids when they were in school. Nut allergies have more than tripled in the last ten years and I would love to know why.
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  3. Ursula

    Megan, I agree with you 100%. While there are no peanut allergic people in my family, there are plenty of other intolerances/allergies, like gluten, dairy, oats and soy.

    None of those of course cause instant death (even though a slow, lingering death is certain with gluten), but they can cause severe reactions with getting quite ill.

    I hope most places would honor my grandchildren’s allergies. And at the same time, need to be especially aware of deadly, anaphylactic allergies.

    It is a tragedy when a young person dies because of something as easily avoidable as putting peanuts into food, or not washing their hands after eating peanuts.

  4. Valerie

    I see no problem with schools going not free. Whatever keeps kids safe is good work for me.
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  5. Eileen

    Allergies can be such a dangerous thing, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. I totally agree with your stance on nut free classrooms.
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  6. Heather

    See I don’t know about this. If you ban nuts, you might as well ban dairy, milk and egg products too. It’s almost like kids just shouldn’t eat at school, but how can you have them go that long without eating? Not only that, but so many things that don’t have nuts in them are made in a nut factory. While I hate the idea of a child being in danger or possibly killed from an allergic reaction, I feel like it would be hard to draw the line down the road since there are so many allergies. I mean gluten has some horrible side effects for those with celiac’s and to ask an entire population of people to be gluten free, that’s hard. If it was just nuts, sure, but I don’t see it stopping at that. But kids can die from egg allergies, while I haven’t heard of death from dairy, I have heard of it with eggs. I’m gonna need a while to ponder this. We choose to eat nuts due to the health benefits, so kniixing it from our diets would be difficult.
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    • Megan Elford

      Hi Heather! I totally see where you’re coming from. Our neighbour’s daughter had a severe allergy to eggs, and her parents were very hesitant about bringing her to my daycare (even though it would have been very convenient) because she didn’t speak English. They were worried that she may experience symptoms of an allergic reaction and not be able to verbalize it. That’s a very valid concern. So they chose a daycare that spoke their first language, which I believe was a wise choice.
      However, severe reactions (ie. life and death) to allergens other than nuts are still rare. In our schools, there are many, children and adults that are allergic to nuts. When other allergens become as common as nuts, I’m okay with packing lunches that don’t contain those allergens. My kids will still be able to eat those things at home, which is still where they spend the majority of their time anyway.

  7. Clarissa

    I agree with nut free classrooms, Although my kids are obsessed with nuts, I know they would be able to survive without it.

  8. Carmen Perez (listen2mama)

    I don’t have a problem with the school being nut free, however, I agree with some of the comments above that then maybe you have to ban many other products as well. If your child has allergies, then you should pack their lunch and teach them to only eat what you have packed them. When I was growing up, we didn’t have any of these restrictions and I never saw anyone have a reaction at school.

  9. Jaime Nicole

    There is just no reason to oppose a ban on things that could be deadly. It’s silly to cast parents who support a safe environment at school as hovering and although we don’t have a nut allergy in the family, I definitely support keeping those products out of the classroom, too.
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  10. Mia

    I love nuts and it’s one of my favorite snacks. However, I’m regularly surprised that there’s no real regulations in where you can eat it considering that there’s so many people with a severe nut allergy. Having a nut-free class environment makes perfect sense (unless nobody is allergic to nuts)

  11. Michelle

    I have always wondered why nuts are used as snacks so much as too many people have life threatening allergic reactions to them. I support nut-free classrooms too as many students may not know they are allergic yet.
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  12. Maureen

    I so agree with your post! I think as parents we can all come together to prevent the worse case scenario of food allergies. How hard can it be? I just don’t understand parents who got so fired up about not wanting to let their PB&J go. There are other options. Your post is golden!
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  13. Rosey

    I support nut free. If a child has an allergy it’s so easy to forget. Keeping it out strictly from the get go is a good way to be safe rather than sorry.

  14. Wildish Jess

    I totally understand where you are coming from but for me, I don’t agree with it. Yes, nuts should stay out of the classrooms but out of the whole school? I think that’s a bit excessive in my opinion.
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  15. Penny Struebig

    I’m so very thankful that my son didn’t have any allergies! It can be such a touchy subject.

  16. Stephanie

    My dad is allergic to nuts, eggs, and seafood. If he comes into contact with peanuts, he will die. So when people say they’re mad that their kid can’t have peanuts at school it makes me very angry. You’d rather see a child die than to give your kid ham and cheese? It makes no sense to me. What people don’t understand is that their kid with the PBJ doesn’t wash his hands after eating. Because no kid does. Then they go outside and play on the playground with those peanut butter hands. They smear it on the swing set, and then a kid with an allergy uses the same swing after him, scratches his eye or picks his nose, and dies. I’m not killing someone else’s kid because mine is a spoiled brat that can’t go without peanut butter at school. I think it’s disgusting that parents actually complain about this. I lived the first 18 years of my life without peanut butter and guess what? I’m almost 40 and perfectly healthy. If your kid can’t go 30 hours a week with no peanuts, you’re raising a self entitled spoiled brat and that’s what’s wrong with the world. Sorry for the rant but it’s the equivalent of pushing someone else’s kid in front of a train so yours can have peanut butter at school.
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  17. Miranda (Myrabev)

    I do not yet have kids so no idea which type of parent I will be but I am all for the nut free because like you said it really is life or death for some kids and if its something that can be prevented why not.
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  18. Shannon Gurnee

    Nut allergies can be so scary! This was a great post! Definitely made me see a different side of the No-Nuts rule in classrooms.
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