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Birthday Treats

Posted

Has 28 years experience.

Just wondering how many of you have schools that allow treats like cupcakes, etc. to be brought in for birthdays at school.

It is an issue for me because we have SO many children with food allergies, and often these children are left out of getting the specific treat brought in. The food allergy parent or I generally provide an alternative "safe" treat. I have tried to inform parents of the need to send in only safe food, but most don't pay attention.

My principal won't budge on this issue. He just wants to allow it.

My question is, how do you handle this at your school? Do you allow birthday celebrations with food?

The other issue I have is we have disadvantaged students who can't afford to bring in treats may feel left out.

Thoughts?

OldDude

Specializes in Pediatrics.

We do allow stuff like this but it has to be store bought and the ingredients must be labeled on the container. Nothing home made.

GatezRN

Specializes in ICU, Adventures in school nursing. Has 10+ years experience.

We don't allow food for birthday celebrations at school. The office announces the name of the student during morning announcements, the child gets a birthday crown, birthday pencil, and birthday sticker from the office. We also gather round in the office and sing Happy Birthday to the student :) My school is just PK and Kindergarten.

We have a district wellness policy that suggests healthy snacks for classroom celebrations. I was put in charge of the "classroom party" policy when I started here. I have been known to allow a cupcake to enter the classroom every now and then..... must be store bought with ingredients list. A parent recently wanted to send in these cute decorated chocolate covered oreo treats. I allowed, but the kids had to take them home for parent approval to eat.

SnowyJ, RN

Has 28 years experience.

I have 38 Epi pens for students with multiple food allergies. I worry about quality control, and if a teacher might miss something. Manufacturing is also an issue, even if a food has no nuts (eggs, etc) listed in the ingredients. There are no Federal laws regarding labeling.

I am feeling a push from parents of food allergy students, and I don't blame them. They don't like that their child has to eat an alternative treat. I see both sides. I just wondered what everyone does.

Thanks for the input.

OldDude

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I have 38 Epi pens for students with multiple food allergies. I worry about quality control, and if a teacher might miss something. Manufacturing is also an issue, even if a food has no nuts (eggs, etc) listed in the ingredients. There are no Federal laws regarding labeling.

I am feeling a push from parents of food allergy students, and I don't blame them. They don't like that their child has to eat an alternative treat. I see both sides. I just wondered what everyone does.

So true...I know it's overdiagnosed, pediatricians covering themselves from liability issues, rightfully so, and scary to the parents, but it's become a real mess to try and sort through...when I first got into school nursing a mere 14 years ago there was no one with food allergies.

SnowyJ, RN

Has 28 years experience.

I agree..it is a mess! I remember there being one student with a peanut allergy in this school about 15 years ago. That was it. You are right, MDs want to cover their behinds and be cautious. But the amount of work and concern it generates is a lot to navigate.

nyy2

Has 6 years experience.

I'm looking for other options to the generic birthday cupcakes. Our school began the policy of only store bought treats this year, but unfortunately it isn't always enforced. People do bring in popsicles and sometimes ice cream cups. I'm thinking of sending a generic letter out when the secretary mails the placement letters over the summer - reminding them of the store bought rule, along with some suggestions that would be more "allergy friendly"- such as popsicles and non-food items also.

There are quite a bit of lower income families in the school, so we understand that buying 25 cupcakes is a lot more expensive than spending $3 on a box mix and frosting. I know popsicles are pretty inexpensive, but looking for some other cost effective options to include as well. :up:

Luckily my school does not condone celebrations in the classroom. They are grades 6-12. However, a teacher may want to somehow include food into their lessons. This year I created a Food Form which must be filled out by the teacher and they must attach a roster of the students participating. Once they get the approval through admin I go through the roster and pick out anyone who may not be able to participate due to allergies or other special diets. If I come across something, I'll speak with the teacher and we are usually able to come up with an equal alternative for the student with special dietary needs. It's a hassel and a lot of work but it seemed to work out pretty well this year.

We still allow homemade here but I am a tiny school. In a larger school I don't know how that could possibly work while still keeping children with allergies safe. It's a lot of work on me with only my small numbers.

Eleven011

Specializes in Home Health,Dialysis, MDS, School Nurse. Has 20+ years experience.

I'm not sure what the nurses role is yet in this as I haven't taken over the position yet, but I know our school still allows treats for birthdays. They only allow healthy, prepackaged things for snacks, but for birthdays, anything goes. There isn't an allergy in every class, so I think those classes that do have a child with an allergy, parents are notified at the beginning of the year and they plan accordingly. Also for holiday parties - valentines/halloween, etc - there is usually plenty of homemade goodies around.

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

My school is peanut and nut-free, store bought treats much be labeled as such. That being said, ice pops (the long tube ones you buy in packs of 100) are the go-to treat for teachers if they want to treat the kids in the classroom and it has been catching on. The ice pops have been great because they haven't excluded anyone yet, including the diabetics because the labeled packaging provides the needed nutrition info.

As for baked/packaged goods, I have referred folks here for an alternative that is free of the eight most common food allergens: Enjoy Life Foods | Allergy-Free Foods & Recipes.

Windchaser22

Specializes in School nurse. Has 5 years experience.

Ugh, I loathe food parties. Not only are the numerous allergies an issue but the carb counts for the students with diabetes are a nightmare. FYI Walmart vegetable oil states it's manufactured in a facility that also processes nuts.

But I digress....OP, we check every single fricken label, no nut products or processed in nut facilities allowed, exclude in writing those with other allergies (milk, eggs, peaches, pork, etc). And yes we have a state law that limits snacks to those that are healthy. Uh huh.

SnowyJ, RN

Has 28 years experience.

I love that we have some "certified" nut free baking products. But honestly? I don't trust the quality control for home bakers. What is there was peanut butter or nuts used in previous baking? What if the oil used (as mentioned above) may have nut contamination? There's just no way to know for sure. :(

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

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Of course, allergies are no joking matter, but sometimes it would be easier and safer...

My school allows treats, but they can only be store bought. There is a seafood ban at my school, but it was so poorly enforced that most people didn't even know about it. But you asked about birthday treats. ..

I work at a school, but not as a nurse. I come here because I sometimes work with special needs students. Frankly, I don't know how a school can accommodate everyone's dietary needs without starving everyone.