Oh, snap! Your grandchild has a peanut allergy. Here are a few tips from a mom.

June 25, 2012

So, you get the call. Your grandchild had her first peanut, or in our case, piece of a peanut, and she is in the ER. She’ll be ok – several doses of epinephrine and some steroids finally brought her head size back from Great Pumpkin to 21/2 year-old little girl size. And maybe you’re thinking, well, I’ll make sure to have some cream cheese on hand when I am making my own toast with peanut butter. 

Not so fast. As parents who witnessed the 6-hour experience first hand and have no intention of EVER going through it again, we were motivated to make sure our kitchen was absolutely and totally peanut-free. The doctor and allergist were clear. Next time, we may not be so lucky. (We didn’t think we were so lucky, by the way, but yes, it could have been mush worse). But for the grandparents, who weren’t there to see her cough and swell, some of the transition was more difficult. 

We had three main points to get across to our grandparents. First, when we were around, there couldn’t be any peanuts near our young daughter. While I know our grandparents would never mean to use the same knife for their peanut butter and her cream cheese, habit often takes over. And, cooking with two toddlers running around can often muddle things up. Second, we had to always have an inhaler (she also has asthma), epi-pens and Benadryl with her. It was hard to remember at first, but has now become a habit. Finally, we had some new limitations on where we could eat. Asian food, especially Thai, was out. Also, she couldn’t eat ice cream from an ice cream store. This is because of the potential for cross-contamination between flavors. And yes, there is some irony here given that I work for a company called DoubleScoop.

Six years later, we have never had an incident. And I think our grandparents believe that our strict rules make sense, rather than result from neurotic, new-age helicopter parents. We are certainly those parents, too, but not when it relates to allergies. If you do have a grandchild with a severe allergy, please take care to follow the parent’s lead. The end goal is obvious. You want the parents to feel comfortable with your grandchildren spending time with you. Both sets of our grandparents made us feel confident that our child would be safe with them, so we make sure our kids spend a lot of time with them. 

PS. I’ll write follow-up blogs about one crazy treatment the grandparents suggested we pursue for the peanut allergy, and what we are doing now!


2 Responses to “Oh, snap! Your grandchild has a peanut allergy. Here are a few tips from a mom.”

  1. mom of an allergic kid. Milk, Eggs, Peanut, Treenut Says:

    good post. I like that it is positive and educates.

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