Allergy procedures in schools HAVE to change!!!
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Two weeks ago, my daughter was given a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at school. This was with the school (by direct conversations with me - the principal, cafeteria manager, teachers and Nurse) being fully aware of her allergies to peanuts and treenuts. I took every step I could to ensure an incident like this didn’t happen to her, and it still happened. The teacher caught her after only one bite and realized the mistake made, but I was contacted rather than paramedics and her epipen wasn’t administered immediately. This was because her school administration and Nurse did not know that you should immediately give epipen, and when I arrived 40 minutes after she had the bite, I watched as the school nurse fumbled with the epipen obviously unaware of how to administer it properly. This lack of education and awareness could have cost my 4 year old her life. Thankfully it didn't turn out worse than it did. I called and emailed the school board about the procedures and events that took place before and after she had the bite of the sandwich. I have not heard anything back from anyone and I think it is time for change. The system is failing parents of children with allergies.
I just read an article where a 3-year old with known and reported dairy allergies was given a grilled cheese sandwich at school last week, and died. All this because the proper procedures were not taken, and a trusted, informed adult, fed him something he couldn't have.
I have been assured by my daughter's school and administration that this will never happen again and they are being extremely proactive about the situation, even though it never should have taken my child being traumatized for these proactive steps to be taken. Proactivity is a must in every situation, BEFORE a child dies or is traumatized.
I know that teachers and administrators are required to watch compliance videos and be educated about allergies and such, but how many of them actually know how to administer Epinephrine when needed? Do they know how to tell when it is needed or what some of the symptoms are? Did you know that someone falling asleep is one of many signs of anaphylactic shock? So is fever, vomiting, sneezing, itching, coughing.. hives, choking, and throat swelling seem to be the only symptoms that most people know to look for. Why would the school, or school nurse especially, call the parents before administering epinephrine and calling 911 when a child is given a known allergen? These should be the first steps! Why didn’t the school nurse know that she was supposed to have epipen immediately? If you do not have a child that has allergies like this, or have never seen what a child looks like when they go into anaphylactic shock, then you cannot imagine the wave of panic and fear that sweeps through a parent when they get a call stating that their child, in an environment that is supposed to be safe for them, was given something that is poison to their body. You can't think straight to remember to verify that the school is doing their job correctly, and quite frankly there are many parents who could be unaware of just how severe their child will react. They may not know that 911 should be called JUST IN CASE, if nothing else. They are trained to deal with a situation and can get the child to the hospital a lot faster than a parent can which is sometimes vital to the survival of the child. My daughter got worse on the ambulance ride to the hospital, I live in Dallas and cannot imagine what I could have done had I got stuck in traffic on the way there.
My daughter is protected where she is right now, but what if we have to move and she changes schools? Is she going to end up in the same traumatizing situation at another school because the administration is, again, uneducated on the proper procedures to follow? Am I going to have to keep reading articles about children dying because of a severely flawed school/child care system? I am only doing what I feel is best for my daughter and the large and growing community of children with allergies attending school in the United States. I never want to read an article that a child died again because the school didn't know any better, or didn't do the right thing by a child after they were introduced to something they are allergic to, especially when I know there is something I can do to prevent it.
Please sign this petition so we can take the steps and get to the people who can make a difference in the lives of children with allergies.
I am petitioning to make it a standard in all schools and child care facilities that educators and administrators as well as school nurses are educated in the proper procedures to take when presented with a child with severe allergies that has ingested their allergen. They all need to be educated on proactive steps to avoid the child receiving their allergen, and that in the event that they are given said allergen, the proper steps are taken. Epinephrine first, THEN 911, THEN parents should be contacted. This should be the standard. Let’s make it so. Thank you!
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