The Great Peanut Debate

As a kids allergy nurse Heidi Young points out that peanut is a hot topic & something we deal with daily but there is another problem.

We understand that it is in the best interests of schools & daycares to not have this in their kid’s lunchboxes, as it minimises risk and keeps all the children safe considering the child to adult ratio is not what it would be at home, however, I worry that it causes another issue…

Everywhere we go, whether it be the gym creche, vacation care, kids activities, the peanut is the enemy and I worry that it causes more anxiety to the parents of peanut-allergic kids, who may have witnessed their child having anaphylaxis, and spreads fear throughout the parents who haven’t even started weaning their kids yet!

Think about it, if you are chatting to a friend who is just starting to give their 4-6-month-old child solids, doesn’t the subject of peanut always come up, like it’s a separate food group all of its own?

So our advice, empower your peanut allergic kids, from an early age, to be self-aware and keep themselves safe from the foods that cause them to have a reaction, but not pass our anxiety on to them, because we have absolutely no control over what others do.

We have no control over that boy who had peanut butter for breakfast & comes in with it smeared all over his t-shirt (you generally have to actually ingest peanut to have anaphylaxis by the way…)

We have no control over the lady eating peanuts next to your child on the bus, and we have no control over the fact that a majority of the population, worldwide, consumes peanuts, publicly around your child, every single day.

So I would encourage parents of peanut allergic children to treat peanuts with a healthy respect but predominantly concentrate on educating your children about staying safe…and try not to live in fear.

Heidi Young is the founder of The Nest, Kids CPR & Allergy. She is a paediatric nurse of 17 years and a clinical nurse specialist in allergy at Sydney Children’s Hospital.

General advice and resources

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy provide a really great resource for advice on why we should feed our babies these foods as soon as possible –ASCIA is the go-to for the most up to date information on anything allergy related. Here are their guidelines on infant feeding and allergy prevention