My child has a peanut allergy. While this is something that we deal with every day, I am focused on not letting this allergy interfere with her daily life. I am against taking the “bubble kid” approach; she goes to school, takes dancing, plays soccer, goes to the playground and anything else a normal kid does.
Peanuts 101 for Moms Not Familiar With Peanut Allergies
Living with a peanut allergy
I can do everything in my power to control what is in our kitchen and on her plate. I keep a watchful eye and am armed with an epi-pen at any given moment. The hardest part of a food allergy is, of course, relying on others. Have you ever tried to explain to a two year old why they can’t have the Halloween candy everyone else can have?
I understand that it is hard for parents of children without peanut allergies to be totally on board with a peanut-free environment. I get it. I am packing the exact same peanut-free snacks and lunches as they are. But I am also reading every label in the grocery store and giving everyone who cares for her the third degree before I leave.
Yes, it is one of the most common allergies. Peanut allergies are on the rise, and there is no explanation for it. Yes, I wish my daughter did not have a peanut allergy, but the reality is that she does. The challenge with peanut allergies as opposed to other allergies is that people with peanut allergies have a higher chance of going into anaphylactic shock. This means their airway closes up and they can die.
Peanut protein is known for being very stable, which means that it stays intact through cooking and baking. This is also a challenge for transfer. For example, if your child ate a peanut butter sandwich and then played on the monkey bars, a child with a peanut allergy who played on those same monkey bars can pick up the peanut protein and have a reaction. Scary, I know.
How to be supportive of a “peanut family”
Most parents are supportive in a “that sucks for you that your child has an allergy, I will try not send peanuts” kinda way. The people around my daughter do their
best to not have peanut butter or peanut products around her. (Shout out to the other moms in her class at school who are so accommodating!)
But if you are not in the trenches with a peanut allergy, you may not know some of the everyday things that we all encounter that contain peanuts. I would say that the number one item we come across is Chick-Fil-A. Most people don’t know that their food is fried in peanut oil. You would be surprised at how many parties and events we have been to that are serving Chick-Fil-A catering platters.
If you are sending snack or having a party where a peanut kid will be, please read the labels. It only takes one minute, but for the mom of a peanut child to attend a peanut-free event is a true luxury. It means that you can worry just a little less.
Some good snack ideas for peanut allergy kids:fresh fruit, applesauce, Cheez Its, popcorn, cheese cubes, pudding or jello, raisins and Goldfish. Some of our favorite brands also have peanut free processing facilities including GoGoSqueez, Plum Organics, Annie’s and Ella’s Kitchen. All of these are available at Wal-Mart and Target so there is no need for a trip to a specialty store.
Some unexpected places that peanuts are found are:
- Asian and Mexican foods
- Vegetarian foods
- Glazes and marinades
- Pet food
- Potato chips
- Packaged cheese
- Sauces such as chili sauce, hot sauce, pesto, gravy and salad dressings
So how would I know if my child was allergic to peanuts?
If you have not tried peanuts with your child, there are pre-indicators of a peanut allergy. If your baby has a family history of hay fever, asthma, food allergies or eczema, she is at a higher risk to have peanut allergies. Peanuts are actually in the same family as peas. So, when my daughter had a reaction to peas as a baby, we knew she was more likely to have a peanut allergy.
Consult a physician if you believe your child may have a peanut allergy. They can be tested in a safe environment. Unfortunately we found out that Annelise had a peanut allergy on accident. She touched peanut butter on my biscuit and rubbed her eye around 1 ½ years old. Within minutes her eye had swollen shut and her face was scaly and puffy.
A peanut allergy is not something that I wish on any family, but I do hope that I can rely on other moms to be supportive of our situation. I have heard horror stories of other moms sending granola bars for snack and children dying in schools from reactions. It is stories like that that make me want to keep her in a bubble. But I know it is better for our family to not let this allergy hold her back.
Linzy, thank you so much for this post & letting us know how to be supportive of a those with a peanut allergy. I will certainly take this into consideration when planning birthday parties, entertaining, etc! Good info to have!
As a mom of a son with a peanut (and every other nut under the sun) allergy I truly appreciate your post. I am a local mom, who also refuses to live in the bubble….but the hardest part is educating people I encounter everyday. I always approach “education” on peanut allergies to other moms, teachers, classmates, family in the most respectful and non-intimidating way. I really appreciate your article and how “approachable” you made the allergy to those who have little experience with it. It is an everyday challenge….getting harder each day as my little guy gets older…but I do believe that with education out there like this article that we can make a difference. I wish you all the best with your allergy…
Would love to keep in touch…it is always great to be able to have resources out there when we have questions.
I am so glad that you enjoyed the article! I really appreciate the feedback. I agree that it does get harder as the kids get older, more mobile and want to do more things.
I would love to connect and I realized in your website address that I am a customer of yours. Reach out anytime so we can share resources, [email protected].
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for such a great article! I have two boys with numerous food allergies, peanut being one of them. We used to eat at Chick-Fil-A with no problems. Then my niece, who also had a peanut allergy, had a reaction while eating their chicken we decided it just wasn’t worth the risk anymore. One thing in the comments concerned me though and I had to mention it. Plain M&M’s are a ‘may contains’ or ‘made in a facility with’ item for peanuts. One of my son’s was given plain M&Ms before and did not have a reaction. From what I have read over the 10 years I’ve studied food allergies, I believe that there is only like a 7-20% chance that the item with a warning label for peanuts will actually have traces of it in it. So, although you could probably eat plain M&Ms and have a 93% chance of never reacting, it’s not worth the 7% that you could die to me. I’d rather just give them something that I KNOW will not contain the traces of peanuts. We are limited but there are still tons of things that they can have. Another thing that concerned me was that popcorn and raisins are safe. I’ve seen some popcorns with traces and also raisins (usually the yogurt ones) with traces. Hope this helps!
theres this wonderful allergy friendly site that we are really into right now called premiumchocolatiers.com I feel like shouting it out to all of you out there because its so awful for all those kids out there to be missing out on the holidays when they can be having such great candy (milk free, nut free, gluten free, egg free) . they are currently working on a m and m type product and are raising money for the machinery. we should all try and support them in this venture so our kids can FINALLY have something like m&m’s. I am posting a link to their kickstarter campaign, If you back them they will send you chocolate so its a win, win!!
Hi there I know I’m not a mom I’m sry lol but I’m a 22 year old male and I have had Seaver peanut allergy all my life.but to the point I was wondering ab the Cheetos. Because I have ate them all my life and I guess they never bothered me.if anyone would be kind and answer me I would be very thank ful
Hi Linzy! I am a fellow PA (and TN and Sesame) momma. I’m going to be passing through New Orleans soon and I’m wondering if you have any allergy-friendly restaurant recommendations? I’ve been googling for the past hour (which is how I stumbled upon your blog post), but I’m having a tough time finding a restaurant that may be able to accommodate my kiddos allergies for breakfast. I realize this is somewhat off-topic, but any recommendations would be appreciated! 🙂
My daughter has a peanut allergy and we carry an dpi-pen but she can actually eat Chick Fil A with no problem. Whole Foods is actually a great place to find peanut-free products, it is a far bigger selection than Walmart or Target.
I have no idea, personally, what it’s like to be mother to an allergic child. My oldest had a sensitivity to polyester as a baby but that is about the extent of my experience. When my son started preschool one of his classmates had a peanut/treenut allergy. All the parents were asked to not sent any but items with their kids’ lunches. At the time my son was on a peanut butter and honey sandwich kick. He didn’t want to eat anything else. The day I got the news about the allergic classmate I immediately went out and spent over an hour shopping for peanut/treenut free lunch alternatives. When Halloween rolled around I went through ingredient labels for every single candy in the store. What blew MY mind and filled me with rage for the poor kid and his mom was that I, apparently, was the only person beside his teacher who did that. I asked the teacher about it the next day only to find out that I was the only one that had showed consideration for this child’s allergies from the beginning. I sent fruit for class snacks where other parents sent cookies made either with peanuts or in peanut friendly factories. I did a complete overhaul on my son’s lunch even though my son was the most attached to his peanut butter sandwich. I sent allergy safe candy so that the allergic boy could enjoy the same Halloween party as all his classmates. I just couldn’t understand why the other parents had such a hard time doing these things. I could, though, very well understand why the child was not reenrolled the following year to that school. Which is a shame because it is a great school. I felt, and still two years later feel so bad for that little boy whose life wasn’t worth a little inconvenience and his mom who probably felt powerless to make his world fair.
Very informative and helpful! We have a child with peanut allergies in our homeschool co-op class this year and it is good to know what snacks are safe for me to pack my kids. Thanks for the wonderful article!
I would have never known about the Peanut Protein transfer until I have read your blog. It if very informative and it sure is scary especially after reading about anaphylactic shocks which caused serious deaths to some.
While not meant for human consumption, we found out that some baited ant traps were baited with peanut butter. Thank goodness my son’s peanut allergy is not so severe, but those with severe allergies that have reaction to the scent of peanuts should be aware of this.