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Hi Guys! I've had a bad day & wanted to talk to you about a particular aspect of it.

The day began with me losing my nursery keys... I have just found them at home. Phew! What a relief!

Various other annoying bits, but the main thing resulted from a box of chocolates.

One of our Asisn children came in today with a box of Heros as it's his last day in nursery (they're off to India for a very long holiday before he starts school). The chocs were meant for the adults and children, so at the end of the session I stood in the exit with the chocs, calling 3 or 4 children at a time as I saw their parents to collect them. As they left, they chose a sweet. Before the last child had even left I had a phone call from an irrate parent complaining that their child had been just about to eat a sweet with peanuts in it before she wrestled it from his hand. She told me children under 5 shouldn't have peanuts and was cross etc. Slightly taken aback I told her I understood her concerns, but thought 3 was the age for such things (just a figure I had in my head - not one I have knowingly been told about) and that he wasnt' down as having a nut allergy (I checked the list and found the only allergy to be dairy; the dairy child was invited to take a sweet to give to a friend which he duly did). She told me she wasnt' aware of an allergy, but didn't want a trip to A&E to find out. I explained that this was why we give such things at the end of a session rather than at snack time, so the parents have responsibility, but she wasn't happy with this and I didn't feel the issue was resolved (she practically put the phone down on me).

Naturally I've been feeling bad ever since and doubting myself as a teacher - surely I should know about such things. I immediately approached our H&S officer/teacher and asked her about ages for nuts, and she told me she wasn't sure about it but would always 'err on the side of caution'. I then informed the Head in case of repercussions, who was fully supportive. It seems there isn't a specific policy in place for nuts etc. so luckily I wasn't going against anything there, but surely if there was a set age under which children shouldn't have nuts it ought to be advertised in some way, as it is for honey and babies. One teacher I spoke to said that she would probably have gone through the box and taken out the (few) chocs with nuts in, but hindsight is wonderful, and certainly next time I will, but it doesn't help me with this time.

I'm guessing you'll all say that nuts are to be avoided at all costs (despite the fact that they appear in children's recipe books in the form of 'healthy snacks' (nut & seed clusters etc.) and obviously I now know this. Is anyone/everyone aware of 'no nuts under 5' thing. Obviously I understand where she's coming from, but do also feel that if she felt that strongly about it, it should be on his records that he isn't to have nuts. am I being harsh here or what?

I'm now slightly concerned over how to approach this parent when I next see her (I won't see her tomorrow); whether to just leave it at that unless she brings it up, or whether to apologise again... What does everyone thing about my predicament?

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Hi Chocolate Girl. What a terrible situation to be in! It's so upsetting when parents complain about these things.

 

I was told by my health visitor that children under the age of 5 should not have nuts and shellfish, because even though they might not have diagnosed allergies, they can come about during this rather sensitive age group.

 

In terms of nut based snacks, they are a healthy alternative but I was told they shouldn't be given to under 5s.

 

The same thing applies (or did when I had my daughter 2 years ago) to wheat based products such as Weetabix for babies under 6 months. At the time we were being encouraged to wean babies from 4 months, but my understanding is that now the age is 6 months.

 

As you say hindsight is a wonderful thing. I tend to hand sweets etc directly to the parents then it is up to them whether or not the child has them. Covers ourselves that way!

 

I hope this helps but obviously my experience is based on events of 2 years ago. It might be worth speaking to a Health Visitor at your local child health clinic for further advice though.

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I'd never heard of the under 5 rule but I've done a quick google and found this site where it does say no nuts for under 5's due to choking hazzards. I still would have thought that the parents can easily supervise though. Nuts!

 

Also this from the food stands agency site but no other reason is given other than the risk of choking. :)

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Poor you. This is something that could happen to us as we are often given treats to hand out to children and obviously the parents who gave the chocolates hadn't thought it a problem. We do the same, hand out these treats at the end of the session asking parents if it is ok for their child to have them. It's enough to make you keep the treats and eat them all! We've even been given food with ingredients in a foreign languages that we cannot decipher - we don't give them out.

 

I have heard mention of the age 5 limit but do not know if it is policy, would be interested to hear what others say. Is it the fact that they were whole peanuts or could contain traces of peanuts?

 

My initial reaction, I think if I was in this situation would be to say that you are looking into the matter to show that you are taking it seriously, putting the matter to a committee if you have one, in the meantime telling parents you are unable to accept any such treats!!

 

Will be interested to see what others say. Meantime, have some wine and some chocolate!!

 

Deb

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We have a nut free zone policy at our playgroup - although we get the odd parent sending in peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.

We have in the past had a child with a severe nut allergy but have kept the policy up.

 

I personally never allowed my chldren nuts until they were 12 didn't realise children as young as five could have them. Maybe I am just over cautious. I have a son who is allegic to ? It has never been discovered and he has had some serious reaction and been quite ill.

 

We give treats out at the end of the session to be on the safe side as well .

 

Is a difficult situation to be in.

 

Smiles

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Not sure if you are aware of this site but you may find it helpful.

It dosen't advocate a nut free zone for schools although it says it may be useful for preschools. (We are a preschool)

 

 

www.allergyinschools.org.uk

 

Smiles

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we do the same as you, hand out any treats by the door at the end so that parents can decide if the child can have the treat. I personally feel that is adequated but when the treat is something suspect like choclates aimed at adults (heros, quality street, roses etc) then we let the parents help the child choose then the parents cannt complain.

 

we dont have a nut free preschool but we do have a "no whole nuts" policy for our lunch club, advising parents not to put foods such as whole nuts that children may easily choke on, we dont screen foods for traces of nuts unless there was a child with a nut allergy

 

what about coconut thats in several biscuits?

 

I didnt let my own children have peanuts until they were about 4 but it was the choking risk rather than worry of allergy that influenced that decision.

 

As for dealing with the parent I would take this a positive situation no child was hurt and ok the parent was upset but it has highlighted that maybe something needs to be written in polieis about treats and nuts

 

The parent should have calmed down now so maybe you can chat to them, thank them for bringing this problem to your attention and that as a direct result actions/policy will be changed. hopefully that should be the end of it the parent will feel valued and important if they know you have written a policy specially for them and it should defuse their complaint.

 

but like all complaints parents just look for something to moan about!!! and yesterday it was your turn who knows what tomorrows complaint will be???

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So sorry that you've had such an agressive reaction from one of your parents. Try not to take it to heart and beat yourself up over it. Generally these sorts of reactions are made by parents who perhaps are not aware of the facts and have half listened to media reports etc and made up an uninformed view of something.

 

I think you may find these two sites of use to you

 

Nutritional Guidance for Early Years

 

Nutritional Guidelines for the Under 5s

 

Both of these state that whole nuts should not be given to children under 5 due to choking hazard. However, chopped nuts and peanut butter can be given to children once they reach the age of 1, unless there is a family history of asthma, eczema, allergies etc., in which case they should be avoided until the child is 3.

 

Hope this helps! :)

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It does appear from Beau's useful information that this particular parent is misinformed. I agree with others comments on how to deal with her, acknowledge her concerns, offer her the information from the nutritional site and let her know that thanks to her comment you will now be reviewing your policy.

 

I would add though that that doesn't mean you have to change your current policy if it is not deemed necessary.

I changed my preschool policy to include a "nut free zone" a few years ago due to, if I'm honest a "knee jerk" reaction to the then media coverage about amaphalyctic ( spelling???) shock. making Reactionary descisions is not always the right way to go.

We have recently reviewed our food policy and now feel that nuts are not the enemy, they are a source of good nutritional value and it is for parents to say whether they would prefer if their child doesn't have nuts, which they are asked to inform us about during the registration process, along with any other foods, such as dairy etc. We discourage whole nuts ( ie in cooking activities) because of a choking risk, but being realistic if an item of food is not chewed properly then choking can happen with other foods. All staff are 1st aid trained which includes training on removing choking objects from a child. We actually had the discussion about how giving out sweets is conflicting to our "healthy eating" policy. What message does this give, we decided again to be realistic in that sweets are part of our lives, especially at times of celebration. To ensure no offence to parents though, ie: a parent may have told their child the previous day, no sweets until friday because of a behaviour management method that we were unaware of. We now give the sweets to parents but not in front of the children, then the parent isn't pressured to give their child the sweet ( because everyone else has got one).

 

Life certainly isn't easy is it?, Stick to your own "common sense" principles and don't let what was an obviously bad day, for you, and possibly mum, ( take it out on you syndrome) get to you.

No doubt, due to my late response, this is all done and dusted, just wanted to empathise with how you must have felt.

 

Peggy

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Hi Chocolate girl

 

If you don't have a no-nut policy in your setting, and this child does not have a declared allergy to nuts, then I don't think you should have anything to worry about. I think with direct regard to the parent, you should not have to apologise again; if she is upset enough about it then she should lodge a formal complaint and this would be dealt with accordingly. You have done nothing wrong, but I do think your setting needs to perhaps overhaul its policy to avoid a similar (or worse!) situation occuring. Allergies are very scary things and can occur at any stage. I developed a severe allergy to shellfish at the age of 17, and have to carry an epipen with me at all times as even the smell of shellfish can bring on a severe reaction.

 

 

However, I think the issue should also be one of sweets for children in the first place - surely we should be promoting healthy eating for young children in any event, and handing out sweets to such young children is perhaps something we as practioners should avoid and actively discourage. We have a policy at our nursery where parents are not allowed to bring any foodstuff at all into the setting, this way we avoid any potential problems with allergies and parents who don't want their children having sweet things/junk food etc.

 

Your settings method of handing out treats at the end of the day and letting parents be part of the decision is half way there, but as you stated one child has a dairy allergy, so couldn't have chocolate, how does this then sit with 'inclusion' for all? I just think that while your parents are clearly bringing these treats in out of genuine acts of kindness, sweets should not really be encouraged in settings with young children.

 

I personally got very cross with my youngest daughters school who seemed to think it appropriate to hand out horrid sweet lollies to children as a reward for good work! Jamie Oliver would have a fit!!!!

 

Please don't think I am a goody two shoes who doesn't eat sweets or allow my own children to - I do, but in a professional setting, I don't think they have a place.

 

Now I am off to devour a large bar of whole nut!!

 

Take care and good luck

 

Helen

:o

 

 

Hi Guys! I've had a bad day & wanted to talk to you about a particular aspect of it.

The day began with me losing my nursery keys... I have just found them at home. Phew! What a relief!

Various other annoying bits, but the main thing resulted from a box of chocolates.

One of our Asisn children came in today with a box of Heros as it's his last day in nursery (they're off to India for a very long holiday before he starts school). The chocs were meant for the adults and children, so at the end of the session I stood in the exit with the chocs, calling 3 or 4 children at a time as I saw their parents to collect them. As they left, they chose a sweet. Before the last child had even left I had a phone call from an irrate parent complaining that their child had been just about to eat a sweet with peanuts in it before she wrestled it from his hand. She told me children under 5 shouldn't have peanuts and was cross etc. Slightly taken aback I told her I understood her concerns, but thought 3 was the age for such things (just a figure I had in my head - not one I have knowingly been told about) and that he wasnt' down as having a nut allergy (I checked the list and found the only allergy to be dairy; the dairy child was invited to take a sweet to give to a friend which he duly did). She told me she wasnt' aware of an allergy, but didn't want a trip to A&E to find out. I explained that this was why we give such things at the end of a session rather than at snack time, so the parents have responsibility, but she wasn't happy with this and I didn't feel the issue was resolved (she practically put the phone down on me).

Naturally I've been feeling bad ever since and doubting myself as a teacher - surely I should know about such things. I immediately approached our H&S officer/teacher and asked her about ages for nuts, and she told me she wasn't sure about it but would always 'err on the side of caution'. I then informed the Head in case of repercussions, who was fully supportive. It seems there isn't a specific policy in place for nuts etc. so luckily I wasn't going against anything there, but surely if there was a set age under which children shouldn't have nuts it ought to be advertised in some way, as it is for honey and babies. One teacher I spoke to said that she would probably have gone through the box and taken out the (few) chocs with nuts in, but hindsight is wonderful, and certainly next time I will, but it doesn't help me with this time.

I'm guessing you'll all say that nuts are to be avoided at all costs (despite the fact that they appear in children's recipe books in the form of 'healthy snacks' (nut & seed clusters etc.) and obviously I now know this. Is anyone/everyone aware of 'no nuts under 5' thing. Obviously I understand where she's coming from, but do also feel that if she felt that strongly about it, it should be on his records that he isn't to have nuts. am I being harsh here or what?

I'm now slightly concerned over how to approach this parent when I next see her (I won't see her tomorrow); whether to just leave it at that unless she brings it up, or whether to apologise again... What does everyone thing about my predicament?

57260[/snapback]

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hi sorry to 'borrow' the topic but what age are children allowed grapes, I never thought that there was an age but one of our parents who's a health visitor said children under 5 shouldn't have them??!!! Also whats the honey thing with babies, we had honey on our old menu and i didn'tthink that babies couldhave it but i could find no evidence anywhere to back this up

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Hi Rapunzel. Never heard the grapes theory before! I have allowed my daughter to have grapes (seedless, obviously!) since she was old enough to successfully chew (they were cut in half!). As for the honey thing, I understand that babies under 1 year should not have honey, although I'm not totally sure what the reasons are for this, it could be because of the amount of natural sugar?

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Oh, Chocolate Girl... what a bad moment you had this week! That can happen to anyone and you did right in handeling the treat at the end of the day, though it has been inspiring to hear the suggestions the others have given here... e.g. giving it to the parents instead of the children, asking parents not to send sweets as a present, etc.

 

About the inclusion aspect... well, I try as much as I can but I think that children who have certain type of allergies should also learn that because they have an allergy that doesn't mean that everyone else has to stop eating what they cannot eat. We have a diabetic child at school and we are not going to put every child in his diet! It is not a realistic measure. But that is my personal opinion.

 

I would be cautious about anything with nuts. About 5 years ago I had a 4 year old child who was stated not to have any type of allergy... not know by her parents... and one 'horrible' day... we were doing something with hazelnuts. Nothing happened during classtime, but later on she started to react in the playground. The school had to call for an ambulance and thankfully she was taken on time. They did tests and no reason came out of what had caused the allergy. Then, just a few years ago she had another incident at home or while her family was visiting friends. THEN it was discovered that it was allergy to hazelnuts! So I would say that it can happen even over the age of 5.

 

By the way, Clare... I like your avatar. Where did you get it?

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hi sorry to 'borrow' the topic but what age are children allowed grapes, I never thought that there was an age but one of our parents who's a health visitor said children under 5 shouldn't have them??!!!  Also whats the honey thing with babies, we had honey on our old menu and i didn'tthink that babies couldhave it but i could find no evidence anywhere to back this up

57547[/snapback]

 

Regarding honey

"Don't give honey to your baby until he or she is one year old. This is because, very occasionally, honey can contain a type of bacteria that can produce toxins in a baby's intestines. This can cause serious illness (infant botulism). After a baby is a year old, the intestine has matured and the bacteria can't grow."

 

If you do a google search there are plenty of sites that come up with information on this.

 

Did you know that almost half of all choking accidents in young children involve food? This is the only reason you should be careful with grapes and if you're sensible it shouldn't be a problem. Babies and toddlers may need to have them cut in half and of course we should not be letting children run around as they eat, so that won't be a problem. We have a child at our setting who does not chew his food properly and will often choke a little at snack time. So my able assistant now makes sure that things like grapes, particularly big ones, are cut in half to minimise the risks. :)

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Hi Chocolate Girl,

 

At the nursery i work at, we have a "No Nuts" policy in operation as we have two children who are allergic to nuts. All the children attending the nursery bring in home made lunches and on a few occassions peanut butter sandwiches have been sent in, when this happens we have to substitute the sandwich with something else and remind the parent at collection time, peanut spread is not allowed due to our "No Nuts" policy.

 

A child who is allergic to nuts can have a severe reaction to even the tiniest scent of a nut. I also have come across situations where parents bring in chocolate treats for the children, as the Room Manager of my room, i have made the decision to give the sweets or chocolate to the parents/carers on collection of the children and it is then their responsibility to give it to their child if they want to.

 

 

Hope this helps a little :)

 

Rosepetal Essex

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hi

i've just been reading through all of these posts with interest and thought I'd add my bit

My daughter has just turned 3 and is due to start school next year. She's allergic to: (ready for this?) wheat, dairy, tree nuts, eggs, soya, kiwi, melon, beef, tuna, cats, dogs, house dust mites, tomato, cod - I think that's everything for now!

At the moment she goes to a private day nursery who are doing really really well at coping but she still reacts to something at every meal time because you can't possibly ban all of those things from the nursery can you? We keep her well dosed up with Piriton and an Epipen to hand at all times.

As for the chocolate incident, I don't think I'd have any problems with her being given some to take home - it means the responsibilty is handed over to the parent doesn't it? Emily is more than aware of her allergies and knows already that certain foods would make her very poorly. I've got parents in my setting who get funny when curry is on the dinner menu because distant relatives have a nut allergy!

Whilst you can't be too careful (I have to be on my guard everywhere Emily and I go), we do have to let children live too don't we!

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