It seems like food allergy awareness is everywhere these days, and while this is amazing news for those who suffer from them (especially kids), for some reason it makes some people angry.
This is a stance I will never understand, especially since I have three kids who have food allergies, and I have to carry around epinephrine everywhere we go. You have a chance to understand what a child may be going through, how difficult it can be to live with a food allergy, how worried a parent might be that their son or daughter gets exposed to an allergen, but instead you choose to think it’s not that big of a deal or not worth your time?
This, to me, is extremely sad. To think that someone’s world view is so narrow that they cannot fathom making a difference in the life of a child — a difference that may actually be life and death for them — is disheartening. Are we, as a society, really that cruel and self-centered that making a change so a child doesn’t suffer is too big of a hurdle to conquer?
That said, here are a few things I’ve heard and read about kids with food allergies — things that make moms like me absolutely insane:
Allergic reactions are no big deal.
You’re kind of right. But not really. Some allergic reactions really aren’t a huge deal. But the scary thing is that some are. In fact, some kids have food allergies that can trigger anaphylaxis, which can kill them. And even reactions that are mild can be uncomfortable, or they set off a chain of events (like eczema) that can make them miserable for weeks. And to make an already bad deal even more stressful, some allergic reactions may be worse than others — in the same kid. Why is this even an argument?
Why do I have to give up peanut butter because your child may get sick?
Because you have a human soul? What’s wrong with you?
Why can a school go peanut-free, but not any of the other allergens that kids may have?
Peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish are the most common causes of anaphylaxis. When you think about a school setting, which one of those is most commonly served or brought to school? It’s peanut butter. Since it has the potential to kill children, this is why it’s often a target for exclusion in some school settings. It’s far more likely a child with a peanut allergy comes into contact with peanut butter than the other allergies because peanut butter is a huge, sticky jerk. Kind of like people who complain about kids and their food allergies.
They’ll have to grow up in the real world some day. Why make schools/ballparks peanut free?
Because little kids aren’t the same as adults, and are more prone to exposure because of the way they explore the world. Weren’t you child once? WEREN’T YOU?
A little won’t hurt her. Right?
Wrong. As with the “no big deal” statement above, a little actually can hurt someone with a food allergy. It’s not amusing to sneak a child with a dairy allergy a bit of ice cream, or to feed a kid a cookie when you don’t know what’s in it. This is not a fun way to accidentally discover your cake has ground nuts in the frosting. Just don’t do it.
If there is a peanut-free section at a ballpark, I’m going to go scatter peanuts all over them.
Go ahead and kick puppies and pry the wings off butterflies while you’re at it.
Do we really need to read the labels?
Yes, you do. If you’re going to feed my child, we really need to look at the labels. Even a teensy bit of allergen can be bad news, and none of us wants bad news.
A peanut-free school takes away my child’s rights.
Your child’s right to what… eat peanut butter? What about our kids and their right to, I don’t know, live?! Don’t you realize that your kid can eat peanut butter at home? Yes, we do understand that some kids just have to have peanut butter and are super picky, but fortunately there are amazing peanut butter substitutes you can use, like sunbutter. There is no substitute for a living child.
Parents of kids with food allergies are way overprotective.
We just don’t want our kids to get sick and die. Your argument is invalid.