A New Controlled Substance?

Howdy, Readers. This just in:

Hi all! Thought you might get a laugh out of the latest rule that’s been enacted at the daycare where my children go.
Whenever a child has medicine they need to take during the day, a parent has to fill out an authorization form that lists the medicine, amount needed, and the time the child is supposed to take it. That makes sense, making it easier for the daycare staff to keep straight who gets what when.

But yesterday, one of the teachers in the infant room told me that from now on I’ll have to fill out the medication form for diaper cream! She knows it’s ridiculous, but it’s policy. This daycare is part of a chain, so I’m guessing the rule came down from the head office.

That’s a head office stuck where the diaper cream might help. — Lenore 

56 Responses

  1. Well of course then need a medication form! Do you have any idea how much havoc one diaper cream addicted baby can cause?

  2. My grandson spent a few months in one of the chain centers while waiting for a spot in our first choice daycare. And yes, we too had to fill out a permission thingy for diaper cream. Eegads, people. But, it was better than the other options. The director of the center we were waiting for termed it McChildcare. Polos and khaki uniforms too… ack.
    The center where he’s at now… no forms for anything non-prescription. They keep their own stash of sunscreen too, and everybody gets it before they go for walks. Much, much saner. I sooooo love our preschool!!

  3. Actually, this is the law in some states. In Montana, it’s called Dane’s Law after a child who died after receiving cold medicine by a day care worker to help him sleep. It requires a daycare to have written authorization from a parent before administering any drug, prescription or not. While it might seem silly to have to give permission for the use of sunscreen and diaper creme, they are in fact drugs that are regulated by the FDA. The law is meant to force childcare providers to be aware of the need to follow the instructions written on the medication itself. There might be better ways of achieving the same outcome, but I still feel more comfortable knowing that licensed child care centers in my state aren’t drugging children at nap time anymore. It might not kill them most of the time, but its still stupid.

  4. I understand making the parents supply their own sunscreen… in my many years as a day camp director, I’ve seen some pretty ugly reactions in kids that have borrowed someone else’s sunscreen and turned out to be allergic to it. One kid had her face swell up so badly that she couldn’t see out of her eyes, and another got a rash that left a scar.

    Having said that, having to fill out a form just to *allow* your kid to get sunscreen? Asinine.

  5. In our old school district (Seattle), you needed a doctor’s written authorization, also signed by the school nurse, before the school would administer any medicine, even over-the-counter children’s advil.

    We have a different kind of insanity in our current school district (Round Rock, TX)–they forbid kids to have alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Why? Because it has alcohol in it, and who knows, those shifty little students may sneak a shot or two at recess to get drunk. And it’s flammable, if you happen to be setting fires. Most importantly, it has that ubiquitous bold text saying “Keep Out of Reach of Children.” Yes, right there on the kid-friendly, designed-to-attach-to-a-backpack 1.8 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer.

    Here’s an article about hand sanitizer in school:

    http://lubbockonline.com/stories/092109/hea_495545923.shtml

    Funny quote from the article about flammability:

    “In the Canadian city of Winnipeg, a school nursing director expressed concerned that a student who had used hand sanitizer and was inserting an electrical plug or working in a science lab could set off a spark and get burned. The school district decided against providing alcohol-based hand sanitizers.”

  6. Having read Eric’s comment, I think this does make some sense. Day care regations are so inconsistant that, while there are many fantastic providers, there are also some real morons. I should know: I was one of them. I worked at a daycare when I was fifteen. I was routinely left in charge of 15+ kids on my own, once was barely stopped from letting a 2 year old help me clean a wall, using a bleach solution. The only certification I was required to have was a food handlers licence (because I might have been handing out snacks) which did not exactly qualify my to have a clue about being a daycare provider.

    Anyway my point is that people do stupid things and that, as Eric said, it can be hard to regulate only the specifically dangerous. Also I suppose, that you’d be amazed at how creatively stupid people can be, so who knows, the annoying paperwork might keep someone from trying to treat diaper rash by feeding diaper cream to the baby. Then again, I’m not sure how effective a signed form would be in preventing misuse, or not following directions.

  7. As a parent whose child has sensitive skin (to the point where the wrong cream or wipes can make it come off) I’m quite glad our daycare centre has a policy like this. It just means that they are aware of which cream is for which child, and they don’t put anything generic on her or use a product that we haven’t tested on her at home. I think it also makes it easier for the carers, not harder, as they don’t have to make decisions about which products to use or even if they are going to use it at all – the parent takes responsibility for providing the right cream. And it works for us because we tend to avoid these creams unless they are really required.

  8. Ours has a policy like this too for diaper cream and sunscreen, and I think it’s a good idea. There’s certain diaper creams that don’t work well with him at all (they make the problem worse), so by not only filling out this form, but bringing in my own tube labeled with his name, insures that if there ever is a problem, they can take the correct discipline with the daycare workers because they can point out I didn’t authorize the one they may have given him.

    Sorry Lenore, I think this isn’t really a valid free range issue.🙂

  9. We require kids have a signed note from their parent before we can apply any type of topical medication including sunscreen.

    I can understand why – as a 19 yo I landed in the ER after using sunscreen for the first time. I was a rash all over and my breathing was compromised.

    At least they are allowing the kids into the daycare. My Mom had to quit working because they could not find someone willing to take care of me because of my topical allergies. (We didn’t know about the peanut allergy for another 18 months)

  10. Sure it is. If my child has a special circumstance, I would provide any caregiver with written instructions, special brand of cream with his name on it, etc., but I would not legislate that thousands of other parents in my state do that too. If a caregiver does something stupid with cold medicine, bleach, or any other substance or object (washcloth not hypoallergenic?) then address that with the worker (fire them, retrain them, have them arrested if an actual law has been broken) but I would not impose a list of preventative precautions on thousands of parents. The precautions are not going to prevent incidents anyway. Some worker will still grab the wrong tube one day in a hectic moment. People make mistakes.

    Sadly, the real reason for the extra paperwork is because everyone in America is afraid of being sued. It’s ridiculous. People in other countries see this and simply can’t understand why it’s allowed to be like that. If a kid falls down on a playground you dust him off and he learns a lesson in most places around the world. Not here in the USA. Here the safety of the school is questioned, someone wants to sue someone, blame has to be assigned (“Who was supposed to be watching him??), the depth of the rubbery chips beneath the slide have to be measured to ensure a regulation 6 inches, and it goes on and on.

  11. Lafe: Nothing to add. I totally agree.

  12. I feel sorry for all the parents that think that because of their ONE child EVERYONE has to jump through hoops. Whatever happened to parental responsibility? If my kid needed something out of the ordinary I would make sure all who needed to know about it did. I didn’t inflict my kids needs on all of the others. I don’t do that now as they are growing up too. When did the exceptions become the rule?

  13. We need a doctor’s note for them to be allowed to use sunscreen.

    Puh-lease.

  14. Eric wrote: “after a child who died after receiving cold medicine by a day care worker to help him sleep.”

    There’s a wide range between diaper cream and drugging a child to make him sleep. The latter is abusive, if done without the knowledge and consent of the parent. The former is ridiculous. And, who gives a child medicine to help him sleep during the day if the youngster is not sick otherwise? Sounds like a day care center worker who wanted to slack off.

    Public schools are the same way. My daughter is highly susceptible to mosquito bites so I gave her some cortaid years ago to use at recess (what little recess time they received). Who knew? Boy, did I get an earful from the school over that one!

    My daughter takes medication every morning. Once she forgot to swallow it in the car and I saw her walk into her high school with the med in hand. Uh, oh, I thought. They catch that and it’s a two week suspension.

    All these rules and regs over the years have driven me batty.

  15. that would be like having to have permission to give food on file because some kids have allergies, doncha know.
    Instead of having paperwork for each kid, how about just for the kids who need it??? Peanut allergy, PABA sensitive, rashy dontuseanythingbutthisdiapercream babies?
    All this “it only takes a few minutes” crap really adds up. The idea that one kid with a special need should never be singled out and all the other kids should be treated differently instead IS NOT FAIR. Please, god, single out the kid with the peanut allergy. It’s probably safer than having peanut free schools (&c &c) because then the teachers (and the kids) ACTUALLY KNOW which kid has the peanut allergy… instead of just deciding that no one should have peanuts so that we don’t have to think about it.

  16. My daycare will not allow any medication (including diaper cream) to go with the child without a prescription from the doctor. They have their own diaper cream, which they use when needed, but anything else needs a prescription and a completed form. One form per med.

    They also sign off on the form each time they administer the medicine (time, date and signature of worker) so we all know whether instructions are being followed.

  17. A daycare I used once (thankfully only for a short period) would not apply sunscreen at all “because of allergy concerns”. They said parents had to apply it at home, like it’s still going to be there 7 hours later, after lunch and nap….I think having a tube of sunscreen/diaper cream given by the parents, with the child’s name on it, should be good enough to satisfy all concerns….

  18. Our former daycare (the one the kid went to back when she wore diapers) had parents bring in their own sunscreen and any necessary diaper cream and tell them in what circumstances to use the latter (always, never, only when rashy). Those instructions were posted on the wall at the changing station. I think there may have been a form for sunscreen, possibly. The sunscreens, with each kid’s name on, were kept in a basket, and the diaper creams, ditto, in a differently located basket.

    Actual medications required a form filled out by the parent and the medication with its prescription label (to be checked against the form for type, dosage, and name), and were kept in a locked box up out of the kids’ reach.

    I don’t think asking parents for guidance on diaper cream is unreasonable (my kid never had a rash and never needed cream, so why waste everyone’s time slathering her tushie with it unnecessarily?), but treating Desitin and R Boudreaux’s Butt Paste as equivalent to prescription medication is a little much IMO.

  19. My daughter’s elementary school implemented the forms this year for medication. I can understand for prescription medication, but for OTC things like cough medicine, Tylenol, COUGH DROPS? The school said it was legislated by the state because they want to remove responsibility from the school and ideally want the parent to come to school to administer any medicine. I said wait until the school system is sued because someone’s child gets seriously ill due to a fever that went untreated because a parent didn’t send in the form! My daughter spiked 105 fever in the middle of the day once last year and I would have been FURIOUS if this policy had been in place then and they refused to give her Tylenol!

  20. Excuse me, but as a school nurse I must chime in. I cannot administer cough drops or apply Neosporin or ANY over-the-counter preparation without an order from a prescribing health care provider. Kids have had allergic reactions to Neosporin and this is an example of an attempt to protect your child as well as COA (CYA). That prescription and medication order states that the parent has to have administered at least one dose to establish non-allergenicity. It’s an all or nothing situation because drawing the line would take centuries of debate.

  21. Anne, that would amount to prescribing medication if there was not AT LEAST a parent permission and preferably a Dr’s order. It’s illegal and punishable by law in most states

  22. Miriam, peanut allergies are quite severe. Some kids’ allergies dictate that they can’t ingest them…. other kids are so sensitive that peanut ‘dust’ will elicit an allergic response. Allergies are sneaky in that more exposure to the allergen elevates the allergic response. How will you know when the threshold is reached and the next exposure will result in anaphylactic shock? These measures are to protect maybe one child out of many… but protecting them from death is worthwhile in my opinion.

  23. Barbara Jean, how would it amount to “prescribing medication” if it’s non-prescription medication? I understand your position as a school nurse having to follow the rules, but it’s the rules (some of them) that are the problem.

  24. Ray, a better word would be “dispensing”. For RN’s it’s more stringent than the general public as we have to function within our states’ Nurse Practice Act, and for us it does amount to prescribing. Even in acute care settings (hospitals) we can’t give OTC’s without an order. The situation is more lenient for non-health care providers in educational settings and varies from state to state, or district to district, I’m sure. And as someone upthread mentioned.. it’s all a matter of liability.

  25. My youngest son spent a couple weeks in the NICU after he was born. Their official policy was the diaper rash cream had to be locked up with all the other medicine. As if the tiny, premature babies might crawl out of their incubators and eat it.

  26. Ray, I should clarify that non health care providers in a daycare setting is a different ball of wax. In educational settings in my state, RNs can train non licensed personnel to administer medications (need, side effects, etc. etc. They don’t just open a med vial and pour out a pill) There is a special clause for school nurses in our Nurse Practice Act that covers that delegation of responsibility. Essentially that non licensed person is functioning under me and my license.. if he/she screws up it comes back on me.

  27. Research has found that nut allergies can be overcome by a doctor gradually introducing the allergen to someone that has an allergy.

    Just because they are following the law doesn’t mean that the legislation is a good law or shouldn’t be changed.
    Years ago it was up to an individual to be responsible for what limitations they had.
    I remember a children’s story written before 1972 about a boy that lost his sight from a firecracker.
    He was told “You can expect the world to round the corners off of everything to make it easy for you.”
    In other words if there is something that may be a danger to us but not others, then it is up to us to take personal steps about it.
    That attitude helps me deal with my own disabilities.

  28. At the daycare I worked at we also had to get signed forms to allow us to put sunscreen on the kids – we had to initial the form each and every time we put it on each and every child. Talk about a waste of time!

  29. If there was a child whose peanut allergies were that severe, then perhaps FOR THAT CHILD (not for some hypothetical child), it might make sense to have a peanut-free classroom.
    Blanket restrictions on the base of incredibly rare and hypothetical situations do not make sense, and are not fair to the other children. It’s sort of free range in reverse, where my child is restricted to protect another child with a rare condition (or even a hypothetical child with a rare condition).

  30. My daycare would only apply diaper cream that was brought in by the parents and labeled with the child’s name. I understand the need for forms for OTC meds, but not for diaper cream……

  31. I found your book & website while searching for “free range” info — about chickens! I am reading the book now, and I love that the theme carried through with illos of chicks. Because really, we are putting our children in social cages every bit as confining as a factory farm. As one free-range friend of mine says, “Children were not intended to be raised in herds. When do they ever get alone time?”

    My sister-in-law did not want our 6-year-old grandson to go outside alone while staying with us on our 15-acre hobby farm on a dirt road miles from town where maybe a total of ten cars go by on a busy day. He had NEVER been outside alone to play until he stayed with us this summer. Now he goes out to explore, walk the dog, feed the chickens, just sit and listen to quiet sounds. He brings back leaves and bugs for me to identify and was delighted to actually find a “rolly-poly (pillbug) like he saw on “Sid the Science Kid.” And — horror of horrors! — he even CLIMBS TREES!

    Keep up the good work.

  32. I realize my above comment was a bit off-topic for this thread — just wanted to give you a warm fuzzie!

  33. My daughter’s Kindercare (I’m not afraid of naming names here) requires these forms for sunscreen and diaper cream.

  34. Dot Khan, There is no cure for peanut allergy and no therapies that eliminate or reduce the severity of peanut allergy.
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/peanut-allergy/DS00710/METHOD=print&DSECTION=all

    Miriam & Dot Khan, Inclusion of children with varying degrees of disability in mainstream classrooms, while not a federal mandate, has become the law of the land ever since ADA. I, for one, don’t always support it but must deal with it and merely wished to present the other side.

  35. Our daycare (which I love and is part of the Kindercare chain) requires the diaper & sunscreen permissions but not every day (diaper cream is once and sunscreen is once a year). We also provide our own sunscreen which I prefer – some people have allergic reactions to componenets and others just have certain requirements of products they use on their children.

    As far as the medication, I have no problem signing a daily form to give medication when needed. With keeping up with multiple children and teachers going on breaks, shifts ending/starting, etc why not err on the side of caution when giving children medications? Just like **everyone** else, daycare workers get tired too and are subject to errors in their job. If a piece of paper helps keep everything straight, what’s the big deal? I know I’d lose my mind after 8 hours with a classroom of 2 or 3 year olds…which is one of the reasons I’m not a childcare worker!

  36. I have worked in 3 schools as a teacher, and in 2 of them, there is no medication allowed without a parent’s note. That also meant that the day I realized I had an ingrown fingernail with a little pussy sore on it, my options were limited to using a thumbtack I had in my desk drawer and washing my hands with soap really well. There wasn’t any peroxide or antibiotic cream available to me as an adult, because the kids can’t have it. Similarly, I burned myself on soup and couldn’t get burn cream.

    At the third school I worked at, cough drops, Tylenol, Chloraseptic, and Tums could be dispensed by the school nurse, and she had basic first aid items as well, such as burn cream and peroxide. It cut down on issues that I had seen at my other schools, and she was always there if I needed her. (This was just last year, by the way.)

  37. I am so thankful that none of the daycares or preschools I used required these forms for basic things! I still do not understand why a doctor’s prescription would ever be required for OTC meds… why wouldn’t the parent’s instruction be enough? I never called the doctor to ask if my daughter needed Tylenol; I gave the Tylenol FIRST, then called the doctor if a problem persisted. Do we now not trust parents to make that decision? If I can administer it at home, why wouldn’t I be able to tell a child care provider to do so? And if a kid spikes a fever during the day, how about picking up the phone and asking me if I want you to give her Tylenol (or Motrin, or whatever is on hand)? They certainally managed to call me at work about enough other things (kid bumped head, they wanted me to know before I got there and saw the big bruise. kid had an accident, they gave her a new pair of underwear and pants.)

    As for kids with allergies, sensitive skin, or other special needs – why not just make the child care provider aware of those issues. If *I* were watching someone else’s kid and saw a diaper rash, I’d either use the cream… if they had told me that he/she was allergic to it, I wouldn’t. Not so hard. If there are too many special situations to keep track of, write it down… but a note in the kid’s file, or next to the changing table, is not the same as requiring permission slips.

  38. Most UK school I know of are not allowed to give out medicines, apply antiscepitc cream or elastoplast

  39. Lisa, the issue for daycare doesn’t involve a licensed health care provider’s license, nor that provider functioning within the law. Your preschool may fall under that umbrella as well. Regardless, the liability issue is inherent.
    Preschools will vary. In my district preschools are in the elementary schools, therefore under the same framework as the elementary school, the Health Services umbrella and the RN who is licensed and MUST follow laws regarding dispensing medications or lose their license. It’s that simple

  40. Barbara Jean – Allergy dangers are real serious but not as big a concern as we may think for MOST people.
    The date on the nut allergy article is a year and a half old. New hypothesis are emerging from more recent studies. This newer article is pro-FRK.
    http://www.livescience.com/health/081209-food-allergies.
    Research is ongoing as why there is an increase in allergies among some groups of people but not others.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/health/09allergies.html?_r=1
    I have a nut allergy, which is not my most serious health concern, but have learned to be aware of things that may expose me to the offending substance.

  41. @ Miriam and others who prefer to isolate kids with peanut allergies rather than have a no-peanut policy (heaven forbid we have to send our kids to school without peanut butter) — with many food allergies, such as milk, the child with the allergy can simply avoid the food and no harm done. But please understand that *nut* allergies can be so severe that the tiniest exposure can be literally lethal. If no child in the school has a nut allergy at a given time, then a no-peanut policy is not necessary. But if even just one child does, it is better safe than sorry. If you had a child with an allergy like this, you would likely feel the same way — and would not want your child isolated, say, having to eat by herself in a separate area.

    Even if everyone is very careful, including the child, that the child does not ingest peanut butter from another child’s lunch, something like the following could happen: the child shares a drink (even inadvertently, perhaps getting the drinks mixed up on the table) with someone who has just eaten a peanut butter sandwich. It might sound crazy to you but even that little amount of exposure could kill the child with the allergy. Please be kind and consider both the children and the parents dealing with these severe, real allergies.

  42. Lafe – I completely agree. My first thought reading this was my kids summer camp. They allow kids to bring sunscreen and bug spray. I have never given it a second thought because I wouldn’t send it with them if they couldn’t use it. My oldest, Gabby, had severe food allergies for 3 years of her life so I have experience with this. During that time, I took responsiblity and made sure that the people she spent time with were aware of what she could or couldn’t have. I wrote detailed explanations and usually just packed all meals and snacks and asked them not to feed her anything except what I brought. Never once did it occur to me to ask them to force everyone else to adhere to our restrictions or to prove that no one else would have anything that would present a danger to my one child. Gabby needed restrictions – not everyone else.

    I do not see any problem with forms for prescribed medication as I usually need to refer to the instructions so I would not expect a caregiver to automatically know how to administer them.

  43. When mine were in Daycare, we needed a form for diaper cream, sunscreen, orajel, baby tylenol… anything. Needed a Dr’s ok for them, too.

    What I found annoying is that I had to list the *amount* of diaper cream to use, and the time of day… what if it’s just “give her a little orajel if she’s cranky about her teething”?

    we also had to provide our own diaper wipes, which I thought was crazy until my second child ended up having severe skin reactions to most wipes.

    What it all comes down to is our litigious society. If people didn’t sue the daycare for giving the kid a rash, they wouldn’t need so many regulations just to keep their insurance. Of course, the stories of daycare workers giving meds to drug the kids to sleep, or giving meds the parents were unaware of, those suits had merit.

    As far as the serious lack of required training for daycare workers– well, yes, it’s crap training in most places. But those guys make like $7 an hour, and you’re not going to get skilled workers for that price, just (hopefully) folks who love kids and have good hearts.

  44. Much of this is prescribed by law. Until recently, my husband was on the board of a local day care center. A couple of years ago, the already stringent New York State laws became even more stringent. You don’t need signed forms every day for things like diaper creme and sun screen, but you definitely need to sign it once a year.

    And if your school or licensed group day care is dispensing OTC drugs like Tylenol without a parent’s or doctor’s note (in most cases a doctors note is required), then they are breaking the law and in danger of being closed down.

    BTW, it does concern me that some comments seem to imply that just because something is OTC it must be safe. There are many powerful OTC drugs out there that can do real harm, and more drugs are becoming OTC every day. (I don’t mean diaper creme here, but lots of other things.)

  45. Dot Khan that study you refer to was done on like 10 kids and not all of them were “cured”. Also the long term effects have not been measured. It is far from being a standard treatment. There were huge warnings that people shouldn’t try this themselves because the beginning doses can not be produced outside a lab. I was actually surprised that no deaths occurred from people trying this at home.

    Actually the rules you all are sighting sound more reasonable than the rules when I started school. I had been forced to handle peanutbutter by my preschool and nearly died as a result. (they didn’t believe my parents when they told them that I could react by touching something with peanut residue on it)

    So my parents approached the elementary I was assigned to. This was the early 1970’s in Houston – so not a neighborhood school due to desegregation. They were assured nothing would happen – but if something did my parents would have to transport me to the ER. Seems someone (either HISD or another district) called an ambulance for a child. Child was transported to the hospital and received medical care – in violation of the family’s religious practices.

    Problem under the best of driving conditions the school was a good 1/2 hour from my house and about equal distance from Dad’s work. Best driving conditions meant Mom driving on the freeway. My Mom lived in Houston for 30 some odd years. The only time she drove a car on the freeway was to get on 59 go over 90A and get off to go to my Aunts house. For my Mom to get to the school would have been more like 45 min – an hour. Wouldn’t matter I would have been dead by the 30 min mark anyways.

    We moved to another district not under desegregation order, where I would attend a neighborhood school.

    One reason these rules exist is freedom of religion, along with the allergies, and general bad reactions to medication.

    My district has an emergency form that the parents fill out. It allows the Nurse to administer some OTC medication, and parents give info about allergies.

    We have a 2nd form that allows children to be sent to another clinic located on the campus of our 1st High School. There is a nurse practitioner (SP) there that can diagnose more serious illnesses, do quick strep tests, some other tests and prescribe some meds. It is free to our students and I think prescribed meds are either free, reduced or sliding scale. (The kids come back with the meds).

    If the parent chooses to have the school send the child. They go straight to our clinic and wait for the bus there if the suspected illness is contagious. If they are contagious – they are sent back to our clinic and sent home.

    If the illness is not contagious (sinus infection, allergies) the parents are given an update and can leave the child in class. I have had several parents tell me this has saved their jobs, because they can go in for a short time and talk to the boss face to face. (many of my parents are one pay check from homeless) Parents can also take their kids themselves.

  46. When my kids were in daycare we had to sign one for diaper cream, one for lotion, and one for sunscreen, every 3-4 months. It was quite annoying.

    And they really didn’t pay attention anyway.

    (And heck, once they gave my daughter someone else’s breastmilk!)

  47. I’m with Lafe and a lot of the rest of you. In my children’s school (and it’s the same everywhere) they will literally not put a Band-Aid on a bleeding child ‘in case they are allergic to them’. Do you know how pathetic it is to pick up your child at the end of the day and see their poor little grazed knee that has not been tended to? I do in fact have an allergy to the adhesives myself, but I still use them when I need to. As far as I know nobody’s invented an anaphylactic reaction to them yet.
    Of course, the poor little kid hasn’t even had a hug because the teachers are too afraid to touch them in case they’re accused of paedophilia.
    I have also had to pick up a child burning with fever because, even with my verbal permission when called, they refused to administer children’s paracetemol without a doctor’s letter.
    And as for the nut, egg, etc etc bans … have we ever heard the story of Sleeping Beauty? Her father got rid of all the spindles in the land but one – and when she found it of course she pricked her finger, because she’d never seen one before.
    I know SOME nut allergies can be lethal. But for school age children, surely they should be taught how to manage their allergies, rather than being surrounded by a community without the allergen. I teach at a high school with a number of nut allergy students, and nobody bans nuts there. At what stage do we start to teach our kids to manage themselves? 5? 8? 13? 28? What happens when they start going out with their friends? Are nuts banned wherever they go? Shops? Movie theatres?
    Kids shouldn’t be sharing bottles anyway – they’re at much higher risk of germs than of allergies. If a child has a life-threatening allergy and is too young to manage without adult intervention, we now have bracelets, bag tags etc with that information clearly displayed, and all teachers know the children with allergies anyway should those signs be missed. In my school every teacher is trained in the recognition of anaphylaxis and the use of the Epipen, and there is a poster in every staffroom with the relevant student’s photo and allergy details.
    I do not believe an entire community should have to modify their behaviour completely to accommodate a very small minority. It’s all very well to say it’s only giving up peanut butter. We all know some kids will only eat one sandwich, and sometimes it IS peanut butter – this happened with my youngest. And it’s not only peanut butter, it’s anything that ‘may contain traces of nuts’ – which is on practically everything you buy.
    In some places I’ve heard of, the little ones with allergies have their lunch in a separate area where they can be monitored. Horrors! Imagine making them feel ‘different’! It’s hard for them, it’s maybe not fair, but they ARE different, just like a child with diabetes is different. Are we going to ban all sugar as well?
    And in most schools I know, the ‘infants’ (age 4 – 7) eat in a separate area from other children anyway, so the idea of separate eating areas isn’t so strange.
    Furthermore, I have an anaphylactic reaction to penicillin. Even being near it can bring me out in hives. Or touching someone who’s just ingested it. I’m sure there are children in every school with that problem. Do we ban the use of antibiotics amongst school children? I wouldn’t dream of it. It’s a risk – I’m a teacher, and in contact with 1100 kids a day – but I don’t expect the world to rearrange around me.
    As far as the not administering medication, etc etc without permission – even when it’s prescribed, with the child’s name and instructions on the label, they still ask us for a letter FROM THE SAME DOCTOR before they will give it. One of mine has migraines, and we nearly went mad trying to get his medication to him rapidly enough. In the end I used to have him carry a dose in his pocket, and advised him to excuse himself to go to the toilet and take it at the bubbler himself. Otherwise he was in for hours of pain, nausea etc. Was there a minute risk that he might have suddenly lost his mind and given it to some other child, who might then have had an adverse reaction to ibuprofen? I suppose so. But there was a much bigger risk of any child tripping over in the playground and hurting himself, or running with a pencil and putting out an eye … I strongly believe that parents should have the right to sign a letter that says ‘I give permission for medication/bandaids/ antiseptic cream to be administered to my child at the discretion of the teacher.’ If I’m OK with it, why should the school care? And you know what’s ironic? If they go on an excursion outside the school, we have to sign a form that says basically that.
    Finally, if anyone is so stupid or criminal that they would drug someone else’s child to shut them up, how is a permission form going to fix that?

  48. Oh I forgot to say – even with all these precautions in place – doctor’s notes, signed permission forms, everything – when my youngest was in childcare, a carer gave my son TEN TIMES the clearly marked dosage of Nurofen (ibuprofen) – 40 ml instead of 4! How would you even get 40 ml of medicine down a three-year-old’s throat?
    You can’t legislate against stupidity.
    BTW – my son was fine.

  49. Patricia, I’m in agreement with some of the issues that mainstream inclusion of some disabilities causes. It creates more problems than it was designed to solve. Those parents used to cry that “it’s not fair that my child is excluded because of…..” and the pendulum swung the other way,
    The permission/medication order is a legal issue when a licensed health care provider is involved either directly or indirectly. The extent of the law and policies vary across the US, but it’s pretty standard that ANY medication cannot be administered without a Dr, DO, or ARNPs order. It’s not at all like asking a friend to give Tylenol for a fever. I have to abide by the laws that govern my practice of nursing. I, for one, am not willing to risk my license just because you don’t like it.

  50. Barbara, I’m not recommending for a moment that children with allergies be excluded from normal school life. Just the opposite. I’m saying it’s inappropriate to force all children to behave as if they have a life-threatening allergy because one child does, and that allergic children need to be helped to fit in with the real world, which is not nut-free.
    I’m not sure what the regulations for nurses are here in Australia, but there are no health care providers in any of the places my children have been – I’m referring only to teachers and/or childcare workers.
    On the other hand, the school in which I work has a fulltime nurse, and she is permitted to administer over the counter meds as required without special forms, so perhaps things are different here.

  51. Patricia, First of all, in re-reading my comment I see I ended on a rather abrasive note. My apologies for the tone… which I attribute to posting before morning coffee.
    I don’t know the situation in Austrailia at all. In the U.S. there are some states/districts who have a “Medical Director” who writes ‘standing orders’ for Tylenol, Neosporin, etc. That provides medical coverage for all licensed health care providers practicing under that umbrella. Perhaps your school/nurse functions similarly. My situation where there is no medical coverage is more prevalent.
    And I do agree that kids with severe peanut allergies need to learn how to live in a world that is not peanut free. Maybe it’s because they are children, not always able to make decisions in their best interest… and maybe because they’re in a setting where this can be imposed and enforced. All it takes is one severe anaphylaxis or death and the reaction is swift and mighty. The liability issue weighs heavily on schools.

  52. this was always the rule in the schools I went to as a kid. I was on meds for ADD and Dyslexia most of my childhood, and it was always a lesson in bureaucracy just to get my much-needed medication. Sometimes the nurse’s office was packed and I missed classes. Finally, in 8th grade my parents and I decided that I would be in charge of my own medication. We risked my suspension from school to do so, but I was never caught and I also learned to be responsible for my own health. My parents knew I was a good kid and wasn’t going to sell my meds to other kids or try to get high off of them. Because you know, it could happen.

    In these days when high school students can’t have so much as advil in their lockers, how are they ever supposed to learn to take care of themselves? I know people who are in their 20s and still live at home and still don’t know how to medicate themselves.

  53. Beth, that’s so true. And the son who had to manage his migraine tablet since he was 9 – now he’s 12, and when he gets a headache I can ask him if he needs something, and he’ll often say ‘no’ – because he’s learned to judge for himself.

  54. As a foster parent we have to take a “medication administration” course every year. We are required to write down every time a child takes medication, the dosage, and the date and time.

    The problem? The definition of “medication” is “any non-food substance administered to promote the health or well-being of a person.” My husband pointed out that this definition includes lotion, deoderant, and technically even WATER.

    When my husband asked in our training if we had to write down every application of lotion, the trainer said, “yes, I guess that fits the definition.” Needless to say, we didn’t even venture to ask about the water and deoderant!

  55. Read the form CAREFULLY, because somewhere on there it not only requires you to list WHAT, HOW MUCH, and HOW OFTEN, but is it applied externally or taken INTERNALLY. Gotta be careful, that diaper cream tastes BAD!

    We need a website for FREE RANGE TEACHERS

  56. Lauren: I see a great idea for an iPhone app here; painless and easy to log every application of lotion or drink of water. Now to lobby child services to make its use mandatory (inspired by the band-instrument sterilization guy).

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