If you have a child with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts, you are probably very grateful for schools and summer camps that have instituted a “no peanuts” policy. After all, this type of policy is meant to keep your child safe, right?
X-Man lives with a very severe peanut allergy. While all foods brought into the home for X-Man are checked and rechecked to make sure they don’t contain peanuts, we all still live with a daily fear for what peanut-laced foods X-Man may come into contact with in the “outside” world.
This week, X-Man is attending a day camp at a local recreational facility. It’s an excellent camp, and this will be the 2nd full week of the summer that he has been able to enjoy at this camp.
Like most camps these days, there is a great deal of paperwork to fill out before leaving your child at camp for the first time. One of the pieces of information they need to know is if your child has a peanut allergy.
While the camp X-Man is at is in fact “peanut free”, they still needed to know this information. For any child with a peanut allergy, their parents are also required to leave TWO EpiPens with staff at the camp while your child is there. You can never be too safe.
All reasonable, and for parents with children who have severe peanut allergies, a welcome relief to know they take this issue so seriously.
X-Man’s first week of camp went well. He was sent off to camp with his two EpiPens and a “peanut free” packed lunch. There seemed to be no issues, and no calls from the camp.
After his first day back at camp this week, the camp called to advise that only one EpiPen had been sent to camp that day, and that two were required to be sent. We screwed up and forgot to send the second EpiPen, so we promised to make sure a second one was in his bag the next day.
What happened the next day defies any sort of logic – at least in my head.
X-Man’s mother went to pick him up at camp yesterday (two days into this week of camp), and was met by a camp staff member telling her that X-Man’s packed lunch was NOT labelled “peanut free”.
That’s right. X-Man’s mom had sent him off to camp with a lunch box full of food in reusable containers – none of it labelled “peanut free”.
The camp lost me with that comment, but then it gets worse.
Due to the fact that none of X-Man’s lunches for the previous 2 days had been labelled “peanut free”, X-Man told his mother that they were required to place him in the lunch room with all other kids who had come to the camp on those days without their lunches labelled “peanut free”.
So, let me get this straight. The camp has a child in their care with a known severe peanut allergy, for which the camp requires his parents to provide 2 EpiPens to them while he attends the camp, but because his lunch contents are not labelled “peanut free” they make him sit with the other kids who could potentially have peanut-laced foods in their lunch boxes.
That makes total sense. NOT.
Apparently, labeling EVERYTHING in X-Man’s lunchbox was one of the rules of this camp that we had missed seeing in the paperwork provided to us from the camp.
This immediately made me wonder what happened during his first week of camp when all his lunch items were sent to camp WITHOUT being labelled “peanut free”, yet we never received a phone call at that time. Does this mean X-Man spent his whole week eating with kids who “may” have had peanut-laced items in their lunches? *Shudder*
While we all understand the thought process behind this rule they have, WHERE is the common sense in this case? Do they actually think that X-Man’s mother is going to send him off with ANYTHING in his lunch box that may contain even the slightest trace of peanuts? Of course she wouldn’t!
My jaw hit the floor when I heard this story last night, and I still haven’t picked it back up.
Rules are in place to protect kids with severe allergies like X-Man, and for that we are all very grateful. Rules like this mean we have to worry just a little bit less when X-Man is away from home.
But we need to bring back some COMMON SENSE people!
We all see evidence of the loss of common sense in our daily lives now. Things like privacy laws, fear of lawsuits, and many other reasons prevent us from looking at a situation for what it is. Instead we just point to the rules and say we have to follow them – with no thought of making an exception when it makes sense to do so.
This lack of common sense is, ironically, common in today’s news headlines, and is rampant on social media.
In most cases, lack of common sense is more of an annoyance than anything. Something to roll our eyeballs at.
In this case, though, the rules put in place to protect children like X-Man, and the lack of common sense, failed to protect X-Man from the very thing the rules were designed to protect him from.
I’m not saying that rules are meant to be broken but, it’s time for all of us to start listening to the old advice that mom used to give us.
“Use your head!”