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September 7, 2006

Who Do You Trust With Your Child's Food Allergy?

My 10 year old daughter is scheduled for an overnight field trip later this month. She's looking forward to staying on a large sailing ship and experiencing it the way the original settlers did.

Part of that experience is eating what they used to eat as well... mush and the likes. All sounds fun except when you have serious food allergies.

Now, here's the deal - normally, I would simply volunteer to chaparone on the trip and also contact the "galley" crew ahead of time to make sure food is safe for her. In this case, there are twice as many parent volunteers as needed. Why should I get preferential treatment? Easy, my child has a condition that requires extra safe measures. Not that easy....

The school nurse is a parent of a child in that class as well. She is the one "on call" all day long at the elementary school, so it would stand to reason that she should be able to keep my child safe away from school too, right? Hmm. I'm not so sure.

A field trip situation is very different from on the school grounds. At school, we packed her lunch, we spoke with her teachers, we spoke with the Principal and the lunch supervisors. Each of these people has a one page flyer that continuously reminds him/her about my daughters allergies. On a field trip, there is a kitchen preparing her foods and no adult trained on talking to waiters, the manager or the chef. The ship's crew knows nothing of my daughter's allergy (yet) and who knows how often they deal with this. Is "cross contamination" part of the galley speak?

So, I volunteered to join the class, sent an email to the teacher and will have a follow up conversation with him. At this point, I am inclined to say, either Dad goes or daughter misses the trip. Which would be a shame, however, I will error on the side of keeping her safe. Who knows, maybe they will allow her to bring a packed meal? Sure, everyone else gets mush while my daughter gets a ham sandwich, some chips and a nice piece of fruit.

I say, "Let them eat mush!" :-)

Posted by David at September 7, 2006 9:30 AM