Whether you're at an event, on a playground, or even shopping in a store, I beg you. Please don't feed children without checking with their parents first. If you do feed a child that's not yours, you just might kill a child with food allergies.
Even though Mitch has multiple food allergies we don't want to exclude him from events, even events focused around food. He's going to encounter these foods all throughout life and we want to teach him how to manage his food allergies in a variety of situations, not seclude him and give him a false sense of security.
Last weekend our family attended our school's annual Crab Feed and yes, we took our son with multiple food allergies with us. Mitch has tested positive for 7 of the top 8 allergens and more, but his allergy tests for fish and shellfish have always been negative. We haven't challenged shellfish with him yet for many reasons; he's only two and shellfish, like peanuts, can have a severe reaction, or the timing hasn't been right, or he has been sick or reacting to a different allergen when we have had the opportunities to trial him.
Please Don't Feed the Children, You Might Kill a Child with Food Allergies
The night of the crab feed, everything was going great. We had arranged for Mitch to have a special seat at the end of a table so his father and I could each sit on one side of him (to keep his quick little fingers off unsafe food) and we brought his favorite safe foods, including homemade allergen safe cookies he can now eat.
Then it happened.
A woman at our table starts waving a cupcake in Mitch's face and said ‘Look, Mitch, I have a cupcake for you!'
(My first thought is, ‘Really?' Here? Everyone at school knows not to feed Mitch, even the children at school know. I'm not quiet about him having multiple food allergies because knowledge is power. And hello!!!! Mommy is sitting right here. Why don't you ask ME if I even want my child to eat a cupcake tonight? What if he hasn't even eaten dinner yet?)
We calmly tell her no thank you. He's ok.
She said ‘It's just a cupcake!' with a look on her face like we were torturing our son by not letting him enjoy the finer things of life.
I said ‘Yeah, and, that will kill him. He has food allergies and is allergic to the ingredients in that cupcake.'
(At this point, I figured she would be done. Sadly, she wasn't.)
She bypasses me, looks straight at Mitch and says, ‘Do you want it?'
(WTF! Does she want to kill a child with food allergies tonight?)
Mitch's just glared at her. I'm pretty sure by this time he could tell the level of mommy's anger was through the roof. Honestly, I think he was pretty surprised I hadn't reached over the table yet to smack the lady upside the head.
Then her husband said ‘Here you go, have a cupcake kid.' and they lean in closer to him, cupcake in hand.
(Seriously! Are you freaking kidding me??? I just told you that thing will kill my son and you're still trying to feed it to him?)
Mitch stuck his arm out (as to say stop) and screams ‘Nooooooooooo!' as loud as he could at the couple. (This is one of those times I love my son's no holds barred attitude and determination to do and say what's on his mind. And why we've worked so hard at educating him about his food allergies so he's not another statistic. Not another child who sadly dies from food allergies.)
Finally, her son, daughter, friends, and everyone else at the table jumped in (in not so nice terms) and told them to back off. I couldn't believe how hard this couple was pushing to get our son to eat this cupcake even though we told them it could kill a child will food allergies.
So I ask everyone if you want to give a child food please ask the parents first. If the parents aren't there, then restrain yourself and please don't feed the children. Even though your offer may be innocent, you still might kill a child with food allergies.