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Old 17.04.2018, 21:53
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Re: Kindergarten teacher does not take nut allergy serious

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As swisscanmom posted, this is a cultural issue and allergies are taken much more lightly here.

There is practically no culture of:
  • 'always having an EPI pen around' and
  • 'that exposure to a peanut will kill your child'
here as there is in other countries (like the states). This means that you can not assume that you can bring and epi pen and announce that your child has a peanut allergy and expect that the problem will be taken care of (as it mostly would be in the states) because everyone knows about peanut allergies.

Depending on your pediatrician, it may even be that your pediatrician doesn't take the situation as seriously as you wish him/her to (refer to what swisscanmom explained about having it be even difficult to get an epipen prescription). [Please let us know in the forum as I would be interested in what your pediatrician says].

My feeling is that you guys have sunken into a situation in which you each are highly suspcious of each other. You are suspicious that the teacher won't take care of your daughter in a life threatening situation. The teacher and school probably think you are a making a big deal about nothing. If it continues like this, you won't get anywhere as neither of you understand the other's perspective at all.

I would recommend thinking carefully about what exactly is it that you want the kindergarten and school to do and try to acheive these things (without trying to convince them of anything else).

So... what do you want the school to do?
  1. Do you want the teacher to keep an epipen in the kindergarten and be ready and trained to use it? If so, explain this specifically. Tell her it is an easy treatment and you will leave the epipen in the school.
  2. Do you want more epipens in the school? Do you want everyone trained? If so, are you willing to bring more epipens and explain to the staff at a staff meeting? If so, offer this. Tell the Schulleiter, that you'll come to the school and teach them and it'll just take 5 minutes.
  3. What do you want your daughter to eat? Nothing that is brought in? No birthday cakes? Only birthday cakes that the teacher has checked (it sounds like the teacher is asking, but you aren't sure she'll really make sure there are no nuts). Here, I think you need to make decide what you consider to be safe and then try to make a rule together. This should be easy enough for the teacher to enforce. For example, I don't think it is realistic that you be 100% sure that no cake your daughter eats in school has nuts in it). There are too many recipies in Switzerland with nut flour and too big a chance of miscommunication between the baker and birthday party. Again, decide what you want and ask for it specifically.
  4. Do you want anything else? If so, figure out what it is and ask for it.

Because there is no culture of life threatening allergies here, I also think this problem won't be solved by escalating the situation. I don't think you'll, by going to the top, get to someone who will suddenly share your perspective. It isn't likely you'll find a school board member or a schulleiter who will suddenly say "my god, we have to fix our complete culture.' Rather, I think you'll find more and more people who don't share your perspective and you'll continue to find the situation frustrating. Solve the problem with the teacher by focusing on what to do, not by convincing her to see things from your view.

good luck, it sounds like a tough situation
This is really helpful! Also the questions that you ask, these are some really good questions to get some information out. I'm so caught up in this that I sometimes not even know what I want, except for my daughter to be in safe hands, if something happens. The thing is, the teacher is drinking coffee in the break so she won't be around when they are having their break and if they are sharing their znüni. There are however some supervisors in the area, but as mentioned before, she cannot say what's wrong until its too late. I can say with a 99% certainty that she is not sharing her food, but it's better to be safe than sorry in this case. So I want to have the teacher trained with the epi pen and if we can do this in a staff meeting, this would be brilliant of course.

I do believe that she is asking the parents as I don't think she would jeopardise a child's life, but if you are not dealing with allergies, you will not scan products on their ingredients and a mistake is quickly made there. For example, smarties, she is allowed to have but the smarties special products like easter eggs or adventskalender, they have again hazelnut paste in it. So someone can think oh, smarties, these are safe, I'll give her these in stead and completely overlook the ingredients, as Smarties were a safe food. Someone also said once to me, oh but if she's allergic to nuts, she can have almonds as this is a nut that's good for you, all the other ones are making your body sour.

With regards to the paediatrician, he's great! We couldn't ask for a better one. He even took time to make sure our other daughter was fine, when introducing peanut butter and nutella. He has also written letters to the airlines, explaining the severity of her allergy and why its vital she is having her epi pens with her at all times. So I have no doubt he will write this letter to school. The allergist from the hospital is not so good though. The general rule there is, the won't do an oral test, before the age of 8 as it makes no sense to them.

You are right that it is not a specific kindergarten problem though. It is at the moment just relevant for us and I hope when she's older, she can recognise the signs herself, so she's able and trained to administer the epi pen herself, which she is not able to do herself. For example, if she breaks out in hives, she thinks a mosquito has bitten her.. Some training is still required for her to recognise the signs
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