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Can your food-allergic child be trusted?

Posted By Alison On Apr 7, 2011 @ In Babies & Kids,Egg Allergy,Emotions | 23 Comments

I thought she understood. I thought she would say no. But she ate it, at school, when no grown-ups were around. It was a cupcake, given to her by a friend at recess, and she ate not only the frosting, but half of the bottom.

I thought she would have at least told me that she had done it after the fact. Nope. Not a word. So how did I find out? From another mom, whose daughter also was given a cupcake at recess by the same friend. She told her mom that my daughter ate it too. The mom told me, out of concern. I confronted my daughter — at first, she said it was only the frosting, but days later, she admitted that she had eaten part of the cake.

I have to admit, I was shocked. It’s not like she committed a crime, and I didn’t make her feel that she was in trouble for doing it, but I had to initiate the “You could die” talk, to which she responded, “I could die? But I’m only six years old — I have barely even lived a life!” Heavy stuff for a 6 year old. My heart was breaking, but what else am I to do? The fact is that the cupcake could have had nuts in it. Unlikely, but WHAT IF?

I don’t blame anyone — the generous kid didn’t know, the school didn’t see it. It’s the responsibility, albeit a big one, of my daughter to say no. Aside from reminding her about the big shot she would have to get in her leg (to prevent her from dying), I also repeated what I have told her before: that any time she is offered a treat and says no, she gets to have a treat that’s as good as or better when she gets home. I promise. “But it just looked sooo good.” Sigh.

If there is any silver lining to my daughter sneaking a bite of potentially fatal food, it is that she didn’t have a reaction. It didn’t have nuts, but surely the cupcake had egg in it. She had an anaphylactic reaction to an egg last summer, but it was not baked. One study showed that the majority of children with egg allergies (74% in this study) could tolerate heated eggs, baked in a muffin or in a waffle, because the heat reduces the allergenicity of the egg. According to an interview with one of the researching doctors about the study, “past history of anaphylaxis was not an exclusion criterion and we found no difference in rate of anaphylaxis between those who reacted or tolerated baked egg.” So, I’ll be making a call to the doctor to set up another egg challenge. Let’s hope it goes better than the last one.

Allergy Moms and Dads, I would love to hear your thoughts! Has your child eaten food they shouldn’t have? What are your strategies for keeping them safe and having them take responsibility for themselves? At what age is telling your child he/she could die too much information, and at what age is it necessary? And how about that egg allergy – anyone do a baked egg challenge?


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