Peanut allergies how does your school handle them?


OK so you get notice that a new student is starting tomorrow and they have a severe nut allergy (ingestion or contact). How does your school handle keeping this child safe in the classroom, lunchroom, playground, etc. I want to see what other schools do and consider new options.


12,646 Posts

Has 25 years experience.

7-12. We kind of let the kids handle it themselves because of the age. They carry what they need to and I have another script for them here.

We do have a designated desk and nut allergy table with wipes this year for a very allergic kid. I've had to alert the teachers. The custodian says this protocol usually lasts until Christmas, when the kid realizes he can do it for himself.

In grade school the kids had nut free tables, and a letter was sent home.


1 Article; 4,787 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics Retired.

We are not a peanut free school...just some high points..staff need training about allergy and anaphylaxis, as Farawyn said, send a letter home to the parents of kids in the same class "asking" that no peanut products be sent for snacks in the classroom, any food eaten in the classroom must be store bought with the ingredient label attached, instruct the teacher to have the class wash their hands after lunch, we have long cafeteria tables so one end of that class table is designated peanut free, if the cafeteria isn't serving peanut butter, kids with lunch trays can sit at the peanut free end of the table, kids who bring their lunch sit at the opposite end of the table regardless (we don't inspect lunches), we don't allow snacks on the playground but you never know what is present on the equipment so that's where staff training comes into play.....the list goes on but these are some bullets to work off of, field trips, etc.


12,646 Posts

Has 25 years experience.

I remember my son in 2nd grade was asked not to bring his granola bar in so he could sit with a peanut allergy girl (they rotated who sat there, and she wanted to sit with him)

He told me he didn't like the girl and would rather have the granola bar. :bag:

Specializes in School nursing.
I remember my son in 2nd grade was asked not to bring his granola bar in so he could sit with a peanut allergy girl (they rotated who sat there, and she wanted to sit with him)

He told me he didn't like the girl and would rather have the granola bar. :bag:

At least he was honest!

My school is peanut and tree-nut free. We have to be that way as we have no cafeteria and students eat in classrooms. There is no "safe" space. It was hard for some kids to adjust to, but frankly some of the staff actually took it harder!

We do allow "made on same equipment as" foods into the school. I have an allergy "list" (I say list, but there is no printed list to protect privacy) that I share with grade levels to be aware of severe allergies and talk with severe allergy kids about plan/precautions.

I work with grades 7-12, so those kids with severe allergies had been managing for a while and often know not to eat something in which the ingredients are not known.

Flare, ASN, BSN

5 Articles; 4,431 Posts

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

we're not peanut free either. I make that perfectly clear to parents right up front. If the individual teacher chooses to make their own classroom peanut free - that is their choice - but the cafeteria has a peanut free table - beyond that the PB&J may be eaten without guilt. I do recommend to the parents of the peanut allergic children that they send in a few safe snacks - cupcakes for birthdays are still permitted for the elementary here. That's an admin decision. I don't make enough to fight that battle nor do i have the time.


1,294 Posts

We are not peanut/treenut free either. I do request the teacher have a nut free room if they have a student that is required to sit at the nut free table during lunch other than that I let the teachers decide.

Our district made the change a few years ago regarding birthday and/or party treats - all treats must be store bought with an ingredient label attached, made things alot easier for those kids with allergies. Our own campus rule is that the treats must be easy treats like a cookie or donut - no more cakes, cupcakes etc and they are handed out as the kids are walking out the door - helps with the mess/chaos that these things will sometimes create.

Thank you all! We are doing the same as most of you but I was made to feel like we were lacking in our protocols by a new mom yesterday so I wanted to ask. We ask parents to not send in peanut/tree nut items for snack as they are eaten in the classroom, we ask for a box of safe snacks for celebrations, we encourage other parents to bring in safe items for celebrations, we have a nut free table in the cafeteria, all teachers and lunch room staff have epi training. Do you guys have each child wash their hands after eating and before going on the playground?


1,294 Posts

Sounds like you are doing everything in your power to keep allergy kids safe - I'm curious at what else this parent expects.

Handwashing - no the teachers do not make them wash hands before eating or going out to playground - it is suggested but the kids are not made to do it. We do have hand sanitizer dispensers through out the building - kids are encouraged to use them. Our recess is scheduled before lunches, one of the dispensers is located right inside the door the kids enter - most of the kids will use it as they come in from recess.


156 Posts

Specializes in Early Intervention, Nsg. Education. Has 27 years experience.

When my kids were young, I filled in for the elementary school nurse for several weeks while she recovered room ankle surgery. I was not at the same school that my two older kids attended (1st and 2nd grade), and I'm extremely grateful for that! I think I would have gotten into a fistfight with a few of the teachers eventually...

"I told Susie's Mom that we were making bird feeders out of pine ones, peanut butter, and birdseed, and Mom said Susie old be fine since she wasn't going to be eating it..." Susie was six years old, and, no, she was NOT fine! First time I administered an epi pen for someone other than my own kid. Teacher still insisted she should have been okay because she wore a smock for the art project...sigh.

"Joey's parents said he was allergic to latex, but he's been playing with kosher balls, rubber balls, etc and had his diapers changed while staff wear latex gloves, and he's been fine all year." Actually, the note says NO LATEX because Joey's Mom has a severe latex allergy and has had several severe reactions simply by handling his soiled clothes that have been contaminated with latex-tainted dust. See the pretty purple Nitrile gloves that Joey's Mom has provided for use when he is changed? (And notice how the latex gloves keep "disappearing" from the bathroom and classroom?). That's because Joey's Mom buys them out of her own pocket for use in the classroom, since it's cheaper than repeated ambulance rides to treat anaphylactic latex exposure. Yes, I know that the latex gloves "feel better", but you're changing diapers, not doing brain surgery. I'm sure everything will work out."

I don't think I'd be able to sub in the building with my own kids. Major props to those of you who do!

SnowyJ, RN

1 Article; 844 Posts

Has 28 years experience.

K-5 school. We are not nut free but probably should be due to the number of nut allergic students I have.

Things we do"

* Anaphylaxis/epi pen training for all ataff

*Letters home to parents of classmate with nut allergy signifying nut free classroom. (We have snack time.)

* "Nut Free Room" sign outside of classroom

*Nut free table at lunch for students with nut allergy

* Epi pens kept in Health Office, though 2 students carry as well.

* Nut allergic children may not consume treats brought in unless they are on the safe snack list ( | Your source for food allergy news.) Students with nut allergy usually keep their own safe treats in the classroom or Health Freezer.

*All food allergic students have a designated IHP, are listed on a Food Allergy List, and Confidential Health List given to grade level teachers. Food service and admin also has the list. IMO, food allergies should be a health issue that is well known to staff, so they can be aware of who is at risk. (GR 3-5 changes classes.)

*Epi pens and orders are sent on field trips. Carried by teacher or grade level aide.


12,646 Posts

Has 25 years experience.

We are latex free. Supposedly. :rolleyes: