Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Why Do Your Kid’s Allergies Mean My Kid Can’t Have a Birthday?

Last week a friend of mine posted this question as a Facebook status: “What is gluten, nut, and egg-free AND also store-bought that I can serve at a kindergarten class party?”

I don’t know, air?

allergy birthday cake

All over the country parents  are being asked to accommodate the specialized needs of other people’s children. We can’t bring in homemade cookies or snacks; we’re asked to buy commercially prepared goods. Even if you agree to bring in commercially prepared snacks, you’re asked to make sure they’re “gluten, nut, and egg-free” or some other combination of scary food exorcism.

Vanessa, a mom of four, relates this story, “My daughter is in 2nd grade, and there is a gluten and nut allergy in her class. My kindergartner is in a classroom with egg, glucose, nut, gluten, and everything in the world allergies. Each class has a long list of requests and items parents are expected to fill.  In my 2nd grader’s class we were helping the teacher with a polar express party. On the list were 23 donuts and 1 free gluten free dessert, 23 things for hot cocoa and 1 hot cocoa with no gluten product.” She goes on to say, “All parents don’t necessarily have the time or money to go buy gluten-free, allergy-free treats for every school event.”

To a certain extent, I get it. When I was in high school, a girl in my town died from eating a few bites of a Twix bar that happened to contain traces of peanuts. Many allergies can be deadly, even in tiny increments. If a child in the same homeroom as my son could go into anaphylactic shock and die due to allergies, I think we have a communal responsibility to keep them safe. I would never endanger the life of a child over a peanut butter cookie, that would be ridiculous.

However, I am rapidly reaching the end of my rope as I try to accommodate what feels like every child in the universe. Schools ask parents to bring items, ask us to provide snacks, ask us to help with class parties and to celebrate birthdays. My children’s school has asked that we only provide store-bought treats because some children have allergies or dietary restrictions. Cyndi, a mom of three, said, “Last year, there were so many allergies of every variety that all we could bring were gummy bears, oranges, and juice boxes. That was it.”

Let me get this straight: I’m supposed to feed my kids processed, preservative-laden food because your kid has a wheat allergy? No. I don’t want to. I want my kid to have the made-from-scratch cupcakes, the ones made with fresh butter, sugar, and yes, real flour with real gluten in it, and not a commercially prepared cupcake that has an ingredient list a mile long. How could that possibly be better? Not to mention that commercially prepared items are expensive.

I understand the problem with allergies because I have allergies; I’m allergic to egg whites. The difference is I don’t demand nothing but egg-free items when I go to a family party, a work party, or any other social function. I don’t always get to eat what people are serving, but I certainly don’t demand that my friend make me a separate cake for me on her birthday.

It makes sense to ban certain items when children are too young to ask and avoid foods that they might have sensitivities toward. But once we cross a threshold, personal responsibility and parental education need to come into play. I agree that a teacher should let all parents know about any life-threatening allergies in a classroom. However, my kid shouldn’t have to forgo his birthday cake because yours can’t eat it.

There are parents of kids with allergies who leave approved treats with teachers, so other parents don’t have to worry about remembering and accommodating a different need. I’ve even made special dispensations for kids–like special allergy-free treats for a kid on my son’s soccer team. I would surely consider bringing an extra allergy-free item to the class for a child, but depriving all the other children for the sake of the one hardly seems fair (excluding life-threatening circumstances.) Even if we agree to only bring commercially prepared treats, there’s no guarantee that it won’t harm a child. The story of the girl who ate the Twix is proof of that.

Some schools have even gone the route of banning all classroom birthdays and celebrations, which is ridiculous. The fear of one shouldn’t outweigh the rest. We don’t always get to eat things we want to eat. I don’t get to eat meringue. Sometimes I have to say no to your tasty, egg-laden brownies. Sometimes you have to pass on the corn because it gives you a migraine. Sometimes my kid doesn’t eat something because it has nuts, and he simply doesn’t like them. Sometimes your kid with allergies can’t eat my kid’s birthday cake.

Let’s stop the allergy insanity, and let the rest of them eat cake–the lovely, homemade, buttery, gluten-stuffed cake.

Author’s Update: Some commenters have suggested that I am not adequately making a distinction between allergies, intolerances, and reactions. Life-threatening allergies are real, they are not a joke, and they should absolutely be respected. I have family members who are in that category. Kids don’t eat nuts anyway; they all hate nuts, that’s just science. People who lie about allergies to get out of food they don’t like threaten the safety of all by lowering public perception of threat. I would never endanger a child’s life over a cupcake. I abide by all allergy requirements sent out by our schools.

Lots of good ideas in the comments–check them out!

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Comments (49)

  1. Chris 01/12/2017 at 1:08 pm

    I have a child with several allergies. Please consider the following thoughts.. Your child not brining into school a home baked cupcake for his or her birthday is such a small sacrifice compared to the 25+ classroom birthday parties that my son attends in a given school year where he has to watch delicious cupcakes being offered to every child but him while he eats something from a” snack box” I have sent into school ahead of time. Of course your child can have her home made cupcake, just have it at home. My son is an amazing boy who handles his allergies with such grace but he only 9. It is hard for him. He deals with this at every family event, birthday party, restaurant, play date or event we go to- wouldn’t it be nice if the place he goes to every day to learn were a place where he felt safe and included? A little compassion goes a long way.

  2. Jackie 09/23/2016 at 4:27 pm

    Wow, how horribly selfish. You don’t ask for special treats at work events because you’re an ADULT, and we can deal with that stuff. You’re talking about innocent children here, who cannot control what food allergies were unfortunately thrown at them. Everyday, I wonder what I did to give my kiddo 4 severe allergies. And I wish more than anything he could eat a real cupcake. It makes me cry just thinking about it. Then to have you post something like this? Have a little compassion for those children less fortunate than yours.

  3. Jenny 01/26/2016 at 10:51 am

    Does sex hurt. I’ve never had it

  4. Mila 01/26/2016 at 10:37 am

    I just had sex and now I’m pregnant. Does anyone know how to take care of a baby please reply if you do I really need advice on taking care of a child, I would really appreciate if you help me out.

    • Cayla 01/26/2016 at 10:44 am

      The first 2 weeks may be hard but you can do it. By the way how old are you? You might not want to trust people on the internet on taking advice on a baby. Try to do the best you can and you might want so help with the baby. Be gentle with the baby, pretend it’s like a baby doll and rock the baby, and cares for it, and give the baby as much attention as you can. It may be hard but you can do it.

  5. Cayla 01/12/2016 at 10:59 am

    Ya I agree with you, I mean if a kid wants to bring in a homemade birthday treat, it’s not their fault that they can’t bring in a homemade treat. They can bring in what they want, why should they have to suffer because of another kids allergies

  6. Chantelle 11/06/2014 at 4:51 pm

    As I planned my son’s 7th Birthday party for 2nd year with his classmates (have done many for my other kids, who have nut allergies, & I too have gluten allergies, it’s no fun being left out), I made the executive decision to give my son what HE wants, as it’s HIS Birthday, he will get his favorite Chocolate & peanut butter cake, made by his favorite professional baker 🙂 on the side, she will be making gluten/dairy/nut-free cup-cakes. I will be doing my best to accommodate everyone involved & I truly hope the parents/guests (who have allergies) understand that this day, is about my son’s special day. At the same time, I take all allergies (life-threatening) seriously & do respect those that don’t feel comfortable coming for the obvious reasons, no one should expose their child(ren) to the obvious threats.

  7. Jillian 03/16/2014 at 1:46 pm

    My son goes to a preschool where they acknowledge the child’s birthday by singing “Happy Birthday” but outside treats aren’t permitted & this rule applies to holidays too. The kids celebrate holidays/birthdays as they should with families & friends on their time away from school. These outside traditions have no place inside schools & children do not lack/actually thrive w/out added diet stressors/non-traditions their own families don’t abide by.

  8. Jenny 02/26/2014 at 7:50 pm

    So entitled. This attitude is much of what’s wrong in our country today. It’s always “my child is better than/more important than your child.” What a horribly selfish post.

  9. Kathryn 02/25/2014 at 3:44 pm

    RE AUTHOR UPDATE: Whether or not a child eats nuts or not is NOT a science. For the record, lots of kids eat nuts! Plenty of kids eat peanut M&M’s too- FYI peanuts are considered nuts when discussed in Nut allergies. Nuts are in plenty of ‘kid friendly’ foods that you wouldn’t normally expect them to be. Ie. certain brands pretzels, white chocolate, some cereals, even certain brands of those conversation hearts for Valentine’s day. So if you want to talk Science, the science says, yes children technically eat nuts! You clearly are do not have the education on the topic of foods that contain nuts. If you could walk a day in the life of someone with a fatal nut allergy you would see things VERY differently!

  10. Brittany 02/23/2014 at 6:00 am

    Your child doesn’t have a right to a birthday party at school and you don’t have the right to send in anything you want. A child with an allergy DOES have the right to an education where he or she can participate fully in every activity available. There’s absolutely no reason that has to include potential fear of exposure to an airborne or tactile allergen. This era of entitlement and selfishness our society is perpetuating starts at home and this post is a glaring example of it. We’re concerned about raising healthy and well-balanced children- what better place to start than by raising your child to respect others and by letting him know school is to learn and his celebrations can be done at home? Additionally, in this era of obesity, cupcakes and sugar don’t have a place in the classroom, period. For children to equate sugary treats as a reward, much less a celebratory expectation, is a problem outside of the allergy debate. Plenty of parents don’t want you to bring your cupcakes into school for a plethora of reasons, and you’re just trying to show off and elevate your child’s status as the birthday boy- you have absolutely no incentive outside of selfish ones to bring treats to school and to further insist that they’re your homemade goodies.

    I’m just astounded any parent would write a post like this. Did you ever stop to consider if your perfectly healthy child had a life threatening allergy? How s/he would feel every day having to sit away from other children at lunch? The other children constantly asking “what’s wrong with you?” Other children feeling slighted and resentful because their mom wanted to send cupcakes to school, but it’s YOUR child’s “fault” that they can’t? What if you had to send your child to school every day knowing full well that other parents don’t care about your child and see their disability as an inconvenience and send something prohibited anyway, because “it can’t be that bad” and “no one will know” and “it’s not like s/he’ll be the one eating it, anyway”? What if your child went into anaphylactic shock and his or her throat swelled up and s/he couldn’t breathe and s/he thought s/he was dying at 7 or 8 years old? Then are your stupid cupcakes really a priority anymore, or is it just because it’s not your kid and someone else’s has inconvenienced you?

    Do you not realize that your mindset is that of a bully? To blame a child’s disability for what your kid can’t have? To let your kid think it’s another child’s “fault” he can’t eat a cupcake at school that’s a waste of valuable educational time, anyway? You have an opportunity to teach respect and tolerance and I can’t help but to think you’re just squandering it and perpetuating a cycle of ignorance.

    I don’t have an allergy and I don’t have kids but I felt compelled as a functioning member of society to comment on the ignorance and selfishness of a post like this in the hopes that your mindset will not be passed on to someone else.

    • Priya 02/24/2014 at 10:16 pm

      Wow, I wanted to write my own response but I don’t need to, yours is perfect. And I love how much you “get it” even though it’s not something you deal with personally. As a mother of a 2 year old with a dairy allergy, I am learning that so many do not “get it”. Thank you!

  11. Rachael 02/22/2014 at 8:34 pm

    I love this. Thank you.

  12. sarah 02/22/2014 at 1:13 pm

    OK, where to start? First – your child can have their lovingly made cupcakes – AT HOME. Being around your precious cupcake in the classroom, which is a place my student has a right to be and be safe in – might cost my child their life.

    Next, you can purchase treats that are definitely free of the top 8 allergens and are not made of crap. A little research and legwork may be necessary, but if your heart is set on candy or cupcakes, it’s humanly possible. There are plenty of resources to help, and classrooms should provide lists and guidance if they are going to solicit treats, but it is not impossible. (Twix, by the way, is definitely not a safe choice – nor are random candies purchased simply because they do not contain the allergens directly. But millions of food allergy parents do the research every day for every single food in their child’s life – you can choose whether you want to do it, but either do it, or don’t do it and don’t bring a treat/settle for fruit/have a party that isn’t at school.) If it is prohibitively difficult or expensive, perhaps fresh fruit or a small private party is the way to go.

    You are maligning children with a disability that threatens their lives, and you are doing it over a cupcake. Seriously. Get some perspective.

  13. Libby 02/22/2014 at 10:02 am

    Oh my gosh, I am SO SORRY that my child’s life threatening medical condition is preventing your child from eating a cupcake in the classroom. Although I’ve done my best for years to supply allergy friendly treats for all the kids in his class for every possible occasion, I realize that my child’s right to an education is truly an inconvenience. Perhaps, just perhaps, you would consider celebrating outside of school? Just let me know when, and I will send your child a book which teaches about compassion for others, since that is something that is certainly not being taught at home.

    • Libby 02/26/2014 at 2:28 pm

      Now that I’ve had a chance to calm down. I wanted to come back and apologize for my snarky comment. I am so tired of calmly, rationally and diplomatically responding to disingenuous arguments like yours, because I don’t want my behavior to cause negative attitudes toward my son. Your claim that you understand the importance of keeping food allergic children safe made me especially angry, because you are willing to exclude and endanger exactly this group. My sarcasm certainly won’t convince you that your opinion is selfish and hurtful, but hopefully some of the other moms who responded more thoughtfully will.

  14. Pingback: Your Birthday Cupcakes Are NOT More Important Than My Daughter’s Life

  15. Bill 02/21/2014 at 12:09 pm

    Everyone on here should be asking why so many more children have food allergies now compared to 50-60 years ago. Imagine the problems children will be dealing with 50-60 years from now if we don’t solve that.

  16. Stephanie 02/20/2014 at 9:28 pm

    wow – imagine…my celiac daughter went to a party today and could not stop worrying that ALL the other kids would be able to eat the treat she had prepared. Thank God she is being raised with a caring heart for others.

  17. John 02/20/2014 at 5:13 pm

    Why do you feel that just because your child’s birthday happens to fall during the school year that your child’s school is obligated to have a birthday party for him in the first place?

  18. RobinSteele 02/20/2014 at 10:54 am

    Kids in elementary (and preschool) don’t sit neatly and eat their snacks and then go wash their hands. Instead, they get it all over themselves, the tables, and other people. They rub their nut, wheat, and egg laden hands on the other kids. It’s dangerous whether it is convenient for you or not. You write like it is an option for the kids. Like they should just suck it up and not have an allergy. Take the pain and suffering you are experiencing during this ONE DAY and multiply it times 365 to understand what the food allergy families experience every year.

  19. Alice Seuffert 02/11/2014 at 8:49 am

    As a parent of children without allergies, I believe we can in very simple ways support families with allergies especially during classroom celebrations. Here’s my perspective on the issue:

  20. Pingback: Allergy-Friendly Snacks | Dining with Alice

  21. Kristin 02/01/2014 at 8:40 pm

    I don’t even know where to begin to respond to this cavelier post. Plus, I’m confused, I read that you’re understanding of a life threatening allergy, but yet you do not wish to ‘accommodate’ because you believe it to be insanity? Let’s get a few things clear…

    There’s a different between an allergy and an intolerance. An allergy involves the immune system, requires a life saving epinephrine to be administered and can result in death. An intolerance/sensitivity involves the digestive system which means that you may have an extreme reaction, i.e., diarrhea, stomach pains, etc. but you’re not going to die from it.

    The reason you can’t bring in homemade tasty treats is not only because of needing to know the ingredients, but because schools do not want to deal with food borne illness because someone doesn’t keep a clean kitchen, or used expired eggs or milk, etc.. It’s not just about ‘the food allergy kids.’

    All of our children are at school to learn. If you want to have a birthday party, then host one in your home, but school time is not for celebrating 25 – 30 birthday per year. I grew up in a time when only school calendar birthdays were celebrated, I had a summer birthday, so my mine was never celebrated…and I turned out just fine.

    The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, protects children with food allergies because anaphylaxis affects breathing. The Guidance stipulates that schools are to ban the offending products from the classroom rather than isolating the child or exposing the child to the offending product. That’s why Safe Snack Lists are provided to classroom parents.

    It is important that activities and projects are memory making for all! We need to evaluate our curriculum, activities, seasonal projects and birthday celebrations to determine how to keep the integrity of the learning or socializing experience, but remove the food. We need to consider the message that we send children about food? Is food the ONLY way we Socialize, Celebrate, Incentivize, Reward & Craft? We need to examine the message that we send children about isolating or segregating others.

    Food allergic children are reminded on a DAILY basis of their ‘difference,’ especially if they sit at a peanut-free table. These children do not have the choice to have a food allergy — it’s genetic, it’s biological. They sit away from their ‘friends of choice’ on a daily basis and it has a negative impact on their psycho-social health. In addition, it shines what I call the ‘Spotlight of Difference’ on them and is the catalyst for food allergy teasing and bullying.

    There are a TON of alternative for food-based birthday celebrations: homework pass, coveted job, extra recess, donate a book to the library, be the 1st to check it out & have a parent read it to the class, Happy Birthday band bracelet, have a
    parent read a favorite story to the class, play games – 7-Up, board games, etc.and if you MUST have beloved cupcakes then celebrate birthdays once a month – reducing multiple exposures and contaminating the classroom. Did you know that many children are allergic by touch to their allergens? Contaminating a room and not cleaning up from it properly puts a child at risk for exposure.

    Let me explain why a different, safe treat is NOT an inclusive alternative. A food allergic child is exposed to allergens, a food allergic child cannot share what others are eating; not part of the group. Every event based on food sharing is a reminder of the child’s separateness. Lastly it reminds a child that the adults in charge did not think he/she was important enough to be included.

    Lastly, we need to accept responsibility that when we exclude, it is our choice to do so.

    Now…I may be wayyyyy out parent…but I teach my sons (one who has food allergies and one who doesn’t) that they need to be the change in the world. Our attitudes are the reasons why our society is so self-centered. We teach our children what to care about…I think our fellow man or woman-kind is what life is all about. Drop the curtain on the ‘all about me show’ and realize that ‘it’s the all about we show.’

    • Thomas 02/03/2014 at 5:15 pm

      Kristin said it very well. If you personally don’t have a child that has life threatening allergies, you may just not get it. I’m sure you would never choose to kill my child, but you obviously lack the full understanding of how dangerous so many foods can be to her. You don’t get it, and if you still don’t get it after reading Kristin’s comment, then I’m not going to get through to you either.

      I will add that trying to be safe in a classroom that allows the allergen, but cleans up is just practicing russian roulette with my child. You wouldn’t want it with yours. It’s not a question of “if” but “when.” Section 504 is there for a very good reason, so I’m glad we don’t have to convince everyone.

  22. Ferterhok 01/29/2014 at 5:01 am

    I suppose they have to tell people not to bring home made things because there are stupid people all over the planet. I recently was offered a beautiful fruit dessert and assured over and over that it, “No nuts! No nuts! We know you can’t have them.” Guess what, after a few bites my mouth felt weird. Then I bit into a texture that was unmistakeable. I pulled a walnut out of my mouth. I’m not an idiot, I had even tried searching through the dessert before I ate it, just in case, and I hadn’t found a nut. But THEY are idiots. They had made the dessert with nuts and then tried to take them out. Well, they missed some and the whole concoction had been sitting in nuts for hours before they fished them out. I live in fear that this will happen again and I will go into anaphylactic shock and those exact same idiots won’t know how to save my life.

    Also, whenever I will be attending a function, dinner, outing, etc I make sure to inform whoever needs to know that I am allergic. I also don’t expect everyone to make special things for me. It’s not always possible and that’s fine. Cuz I can live with that, literally. Which means that I often don’t eat things other people make because I’m never actually sure if it will hurt me. I’m sure if your kid has allergies that’s a normal story for you.

    I think it’s fine for people to make and share whatever they want, in schools as well. There are just some well meaning idiots out there, that I would like to throat punch, that ruin that chance for everyone else. I guess you have to choose between not letting your allergic kid eat anything home made brought by others to school, store bought chemical laden crap or throat punching the stupid parents of your kids friend that would do what my fruit dessert “friends” did. Because you know someone will pull the same thing, only on kids.

    Is throat punch too violent for you? Well they are throat punching me when they accidently feed me nuts. Quid pro quo.

  23. Amy Allen Johnson 01/28/2014 at 10:56 pm

    Hmm, is my child attending a nut-aware school? way to get the old noggin’ going, Miss Carina!

  24. Carisa 01/28/2014 at 8:51 pm

    I previously felt frustrated as well about having to adjust what my kids take to school… And then my son was diagnosed with a nut allergy. Thankfully, he had a reaction to a nut that wasn’t life threatening, but he is allergic to others and his allergist says there are no guarantees that one of them won’t send him in to anaphylaxis. I don’t expect others to accommodate his allergy – I will gladly send a similar treat that he can have, but I will also say that I am so incredibly grateful when someone takes my sons allergy into consideration. I’d be lying if I said I never wished that others would always stop to think about these things when bringing in treats. I wish I could be so blissfully ignorant again. But that’s not reality, so We just deal. As for the argument re: kids with allergies needing to just suck it up and deal with the fact that they can’t always have what they want, I get that. But, to turn the tables, one could also ask why it should always have to be the child with the allergy who has to do without? Couldn’t other kids do this on occasion as we’ll?

  25. Leslie 01/28/2014 at 6:25 pm

    I am more outraged at not being able to bring something homemade. I am supposed to trust a factory made food and just believe a corporation didn’t put nuts in it over something I tangibly can see and make myself? I can make something without peanuts or without eggs. But I HATE buying junk at the grocery store for the sake of a treat. I actually really like my 1st graders teacher. She has kids bring a healthy snack on their birthday which eliminates the need to buy processed crap. I sent in apple slices.

    • sarah 02/22/2014 at 1:19 pm

      Actually, corporations are required by law to disclose whether their product directly contains allergens (the top 8 allergens, anyway, which make up the vast majority of food allergies). Many disclose on the package whether the product may have been exposed to any of those allergens…and if they don’t, calling the company will result in an answer. Those of us raising food allergic children do this detective work for every single food that we eat. It’s possible to do, and it’s possible to buy organic, healthy, unprocessed food while doing it. Certainly it’s remotely possible for there to be contamination issues, but I’ve talked with and had experience with a LOT of companies and this is an issue they take extremely seriously. For liability reasons, if nothing else, their information MUST be accurate.

      The problem with making things from scratch is that if you do not have a food allergic child of your own, you may not be aware that simply not putting peanuts in something is not enough. Do you know your flours were processed in a nut-free facility, on nut-free equiptment? Do you know the same about your oils, shortenings, dairy products, etc. etc? I know, because it’s necessary to my child’s survival that I know. But I can’t just take your word for it that that cake you made does not contain *any trace* peanut. And that’s the issue.

  26. Adrienne Penrod 01/28/2014 at 2:49 pm

    My favorite school birthday celebration was at my kids’ old school in WA. In Olympia, to massively generalize, the community was a teensy bit hyper about junk food. In lieu of birthday treats, parents were encouraged to donate a copy of their kid’s favorite book to the class. You’d come in, read the book to the class, they would sing to the kid, he’d wear a crown, etc. I loved it! Believe me, I am not hyper about junk food. But where I live now, I feel like it’s overboard. Every. single. activity involves treats. After soccer treats, birthday treats, candy rewards for reading, candy rewards for participation, candy rewards for piano lessons (none of these are in my control). My issue is that now those things are no longer treats. They are expected. And if I actually want to give my kids a treat, (which I do! It’s fun and tasty!) then it’s now in addition to the cup of sugar she has already ingested while not under my roof. So aside from allergies and health issues to consider, I would prefer a non-eating focused celebration anyway. And even grinchier of me, I also don’t want all 4 of my kids bringing home 35 trinkets/pencils every school year–we have enough clutter already. Some of my kids’ classes have every kid draw a picture for the birthday kid, which is way more valuable to us. Anyway, seems like there could be some other solutions that avoid alienating kids and also avoid making everyone have to adjust for a minority…

  27. Erica Fehrman 01/28/2014 at 12:41 pm

    My son’s school doesn’t allow birthday parties or treats. I can send in something like a pencil to pass out. The teacher also suggested birthday-themed napkins as a treat. I have no idea what the purpose of a napkin is if there’s nothing to put ON the napkin. Birthdays were such a fun component of school that no longer exists.

  28. Deean 01/28/2014 at 12:18 pm

    Ya. And people without kids shouldn’t have to slow down in school zones either, because it’s not their child they will kill! Give your head a shake, treat others as you wish to be treated. How about parenting with some empathy and teaching your child how lucky and blessed they are to not have been born this way.

  29. Annalisa 01/28/2014 at 12:17 pm

    The case of the girl with the Twix is not proof that we should be less sensitive but more. Had she grown up in this allergen-labeled age she probably would have survived. The number of allergies has skyrocketed since we were children, not (just) the overprotectiveness of parents. It’s not a matter of catering to helicopter parents but of life and death. I think you’re trying to draw the line between severe (especially airborne) allergies and mild ones and/or lifestyle choices, but that does not come across so your tone is very insensitive to a child who could die so your child can enjoy his/her treat. People don’t take allergies seriously enough, not the other way around. If it is a matter of a child with a mild allergy/lifestyle choice bringing a different treat (which most of them do), then by all means have your treat. But in the case of the child with the severe allergy, the yes, the life of that one child should always outweigh the rest.

  30. Michelle 01/28/2014 at 11:34 am

    When my daughter was in SK I made cupcakes but I made them dairy, nut and gluten free. I believe eggs were okay. I found a special box of gluten free mix, I bought dairy free “butter”. I sent in the ingredients list as well so the mom/teacher knew what was coming in. I don’t know if the girl was able to eat it, but since I had some leftover I gave them to my friends daughter who is gluten free. There are options for homemade as well.
    FYI my daughter only has a milk allergy..but only if she drinks too much of it..almost like lactose .. so it isn’t an issue.

  31. Annie @ PhD in Parenting 01/28/2014 at 11:32 am

    How about we celebrate children’s birthdays with a fun activity or a song? I don’t want my kids eating processed store bought crap and I don’t want other people’s kids dying because someone sent home made snacks with allergens that could kill them. I also don’t think they need dollar store pencils or stickers or any other consumer junk. So let’s solve the problem by removing the need to have food or stuff and just letting the kids have fun.

    • Ann Z 01/28/2014 at 3:53 pm

      Yes! At my daughter’s school, the parent can come in and read their child’s favorite book. I’ve enjoyed doing that the last 2 years, and I far prefer that to them taking time out of class for treats that the kids don’t really need and can make a child terribly ill or worse.

  32. Isabel @alphamom 01/28/2014 at 11:11 am

    So disappointed that this post was published.

    You are assuming all allergies are created equal and they are not. Some, like nuts, are life-threatening to many many kids. This is not a case of a dietary restrictions because of intolerance.

    I think it’s a privilege not to have to worry that contact with certain ingredients will not kill your child.

    Your cavalier attitude and general ignorance about the dangers of nuts is yet another reason why I send my child to a nut-aware school.

  33. Lisa 01/28/2014 at 10:56 am

    We’re raising our kids vegetarian, so they cannot eat most brands of gummies, yogurt, anything with sprinkles or jimmies, no marshmallows, no jello – the list goes on. They tend to miss out on celebration food because I never know in advance about the food and therefore rarely have something extra there for my kids (they’re elementary-aged). But they have never minded. They know if they missed out at school, I’ll try to do something special for them at home. The non-life threatening allergies I tend to view one kids as I do my own – yeah, sometimes you’ll miss out and hopefully get that made up to you in another way. It’s called life and these are good lessons to learn. But I am very aware of nut issues and life-threatening allergies. I’m zealous about protecting another child’s safety with the items I send into class, both for celebrations and in the daily lunch boxes. Two of my kids are in nut-free classrooms and my pb&j-only eating child has had to expand her food repertoire. Kids that young can too easily inadvertently cross-contaminate with dire consequences.

  34. Lida 01/28/2014 at 10:52 am

    “Allergy insanity” ? To a parent of a child with a potentially life threatening allergy protecting your child is not “allergy insanity.” I am really disappointed in this post. But I think until you have a child with a life threatening allergy you just don’t get how scary it is. I have a two year old who is considered anaphylactic to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame seeds. I am scared to death to let her out of my sight, let alone send her to school. She is a very smart two year old and she doesn’t throw a fit when she is told that she can’t eat certain things. We often eat things she can’t but have her “approved” food for her. But in a classroom where all her peers are eating something that could really hurt her, and I am not there to tell her she can’t, don’t you think she may just want to try it? And then what? School needs to be a safe place. We don’t send our kids with things hat could hurt your child.

  35. GGMcMurray 01/28/2014 at 10:50 am

    They do not celebrate birthdays at our elementary schools here, they get pencil from the principal.
    They also allowed two parties a year they did Christmas and Valentines day. You can bring whatever, I made homemade cookies for the kids to decorate. They are also not peanut free, it is basically up to your child to know not to eat something.

  36. Rosa 01/28/2014 at 10:41 am

    My child does not have allergies like my husband and I do (sooo thankful for that!), but she has a classmate that is allergic to gluten. I volunteered to bake cookies for the class for a party and was made known about the child with allergies. I went ahead and made a gluten-free version of the cookies and made sure it was separated from the gluten cookies (when I was making them and packaging them). I didn’t want the child to feel left out; at the same time, I didn’t want my child to sacrifice her chance to eat a sweet treat. So, I took it upon myself to make sure everyone felt included. Finding the recipe wasn’t difficult. Yes, it took extra time to make an extra batch of cookies, but I appreciated the fact that the mom of the child with allergies told us that she doesn’t expect us to adhere to some strict policy for her child’s sake only. That made me want to do this MORE!

  37. Ashley 01/28/2014 at 10:13 am

    Unfortunately, allergies to nuts (as just one example) can be so strong that if your child eats a peanut butter cookie at snack and then touches something a child with an allergy to it can go into anaphylaxis. Just being around a pb and j can kill a child. I’m not being dramatic. It’s true. Serve your nutty homemade products at home and protect the poor child in class. No parent should have to worry about their child’s safety.

    • Rachael Herrscher 01/28/2014 at 10:22 am

      How do you handle lunch time in the cafeteria? I have a child that is allergic to nuts, but my other kids still take PBJ to school. PBJ sandwiches are also a standard offering every day in the cafeteria at our school.

      • ~j. 01/28/2014 at 1:31 pm

        Nut-free table in the cafeteria.

      • TC 01/29/2014 at 1:39 pm

        You need to contact the school and/or district administration. You can’t really do anything about kids bringing it with them, but the cafeteria should NOT be offering it.

  38. Sarah Parisi 01/28/2014 at 10:05 am

    It is frustrating trying to find something to accommodate everyone, but I’d rather do that than feel guilty if a child did have a reaction to something I brought. Even when they’re old enough to know better that yummy cupcake might be too tempting to resist for a child; I know I can’t resist tons of stuff that I know is bad for me.
    My son’s school limits what we can bring, but it’s not just because of allergies, but also for health reasons. Having a cupcake on your own birthday is awesome but when there are 30 kids in the class, plus treats for holidays or celebrations it adds up quick. I might let my kids have treats at home but I can understand the school not wanting them offered to the kids all the time.
    We send non-food treats on my son’s birthday. We made some recycled crayons for each of the kids and it basically cost me nothing.

  39. Lori 01/28/2014 at 10:03 am

    I don’t understand the big deal with not being able to have send any treat you want for your kid’s birthday. Send a little toy, pencil or any other thing and have a birthday party at your house for you kid and make anything treats you want. I have seen how parents try to outdo each other in what treats they send or bring to school.

    Do we really have to celebrate a child’s birthday at school and at home? How many of their peers really really like your child? Why not save the money and use it on a party at home where your child can pick who he/she really wants to be there?

  40. Rachael Herrscher 01/28/2014 at 7:39 am

    I have a child who was allergic to almost everything on the planet (she still has a couple of serious allergies like nuts) – and I AGREE!

    It’s my responsibility to provide appropriate treats for her for celebrations at school. As well, since she could talk she has also been a part of screening the foods that she can eat.

    However I do think that at a basic level it’s wise to always send a treat that is nut free. It’s the most common allergy (in my experience in the classroom with my kids).

    As a parent, it’s also helpful to provide your teacher with a “safe list” for your child if their allergies are extensive. If something is not on the safe list, the teacher can go get the gummy bears or starbursts with their name on them from the snack closet. It doesn’t mean that every child has to eat gummy bears and juice boxes all year long.