Lunch time at school is supposed to be a fun time for kids to take a break, socialize and eat together. However, just the thought of it can be stressful for parents who have a child allergic to peanut butter. Food allergies are on the rise, especially in children. According to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.
One of the top allergens is peanuts. While peanut allergies are common, there is still no denying that peanut butter is a common food in kids lunch boxes. From PB&J sandwiches, peanut butter cups and peanut butter crackers… foods containing peanuts can be found all over school cafeterias. So, what can you do if your child is allergic to peanut butter?
First off, make sure you learn how to look for peanut ingredients in food. Peanut butter and peanut ingredients may be hidden in more items than you think. Read the labels and double check to see if the item you are buying is produced in a facility with peanuts (most companies add that warning to the label, although it is not a federal requirement to do so). Peanuts can be found in baked goods, like chocolate chip cookies and even in harder to spot items such as enchilada sauces and egg rolls! If you aren’t sure about the ingredients, you can always call the manufacturer.
Talk to Your Waiter
When you go out to eat, be sure to inform the wait staff that your child is allergic to peanut butter. Many restaurants are prepared to deal with customers with a variety of food allergies, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Never assume an item is peanut-free, since many cooks use peanuts or peanut butter to thicken sauces.
Talk to Teachers
When children start daycare or school, be sure to take the time to discuss your child’s allergy with everyone on the staff. Today most schools have strict policies for how they handle children with food allergies, with some private schools and daycares deciding to go completely peanut-free to help ensure the safety of allergic students. Make sure you know the rules and how they keep children with food allergies safe. It is a good idea to remind teachers and staff about your child’s allergy when school parties come along (especially if they allow parents to bring in outside treats for kids birthdays).
If your child is too young to properly communicate that they have a peanut allergy, or if there’s a chance they may try other foods, there are labels and bracelets that can alert other people that your child has an allergy. These can be very helpful and it may even be a good idea to have your child wear one for a little bit if they are starting a new school or moving into a new class at daycare.
BYOF – Bring Your Own Food
Pack all lunches and snacks for your child so you know exactly what they will be eating when they are not at home. Bring your own snacks on play dates with enough to share so that all the kids can enjoy them together. This will help avoid having your little one grabbing for another child’s snack or being jealous that they are having something different. You may even want to bring lunches and desserts to birthday parties and family picnics, so you won’t have to worry about guessing what is in the foods set out to eat.
Have An EpiPen
Always have an epinephrine auto-injector, also known as an EpiPen, on hand. This is your first line of defense should an allergic reaction occur. Make sure you deliver one to the school nurse or send one with your child to school so it is always on hand in case of an emergency (keep it with your child if possible, since seconds count when having an allergic reaction). Also, make it a habit to check the expiration date on your epinephrine. If you notice any discoloration you should call your doctor for a replacement since it may not be as effective.
Having a child with a peanut allergy can be a scary thing, but as long as you are informed and prepared your child will be safe and healthy!
Peanut Allergies at School: Is Banning the Answer? Came across this article today about banning peanut butter at schools to prevent children from having a allergic reactions. I see both sides of the problem but don’t really feel strongly with agreeing with one side. What do you think?
I want to give my LO peanut butter, she’s 13 months. But completely scared that she could be allergic. How bad can their first reaction be if she is allergic? Should I wait longer. We are getting a hurricane Sunday night into Monday so I wanted to have more food choices for her in case we loose power! TIA
So I’m seeing a lot of posts everywhere about introducing LO to peanuts/peanut butter earlier then later and I agree. My LO is 9 months and I’m so nervous to introduce it. If he does get allergic reaction how soon would he after having peanut butter?
How did you go about introducing peanut butter? My LO is almost 10 months old and has already had eggs so we got over that hump now I would like to check the peanut allergy. My husband and I don’t have any allergies at all. TIA
So i tried giving my 9 mo peanut butter off my finger and about five minutes later he threw up a lot all over everything. Does this mean he could have a peanut allergy? He hasn’t had any problems since and that was like an hour ago
Thoughts on when to give a baby peanut butter with no family history of allergies? I’ve heard wait till basically 2 years and I’ve heard the reason so many babies are allergic is because you wait too long.. Idk what to do!
My son just turned one and he has had peanut butter before, lots of times… Well today he had a PB and J sandwich and his face and skin reacted, he was breathing fine, talking, playing, laughing didn’t even notice it really. I am sure it is a allergy but why all of a sudden now? He had a spoon of peanut butter with me not even 3 days ago, could it have been the brand?
When is a good time to give my daughter peanut butter? She will be a year in a few weeks and I’m afraid she will be allergic to it. When do you moms introduce peanut butter to your kids? And what did you do if they were allergic to it?