Opinion: Is your kid's egg sandwich more important than my child's life?

OPINION: Twice a year for eight years, I've taken my daughter to the lab so the phlebotomist can draw blood from her arm, prick her skin, drop allergens on it and watch it flare up and itch like crazy as her body reacts.

I've held her arms still as she's battled the urge to scratch, her eyes, and mine, filling with tears.

Each year I buy expensive, non-funded epipens to keep my daughter alive if she comes into contact with egg, to which she has an anaphylactic allergy.

And once, when my child was six-months-old and I didn't know she had an allergy, I fed her egg and her throat began to close. I had to drive her to the White Cross at the top of my street, run with her in my arms - choking, and turning an angry red colour all over - where antihistamines and adrenaline could be administered.

I replay that experience in my mind often, getting a lump in my throat every time thinking every single "what if" imaginable.

I never asked for her to have this auto-immune problem where her body reacts to otherwise harmless stimuli.

I didn't do anything wrong during my pregnancy with her. I worry constantly about her - something many parents don't have to experience.

I have to monitor every situation, every excursion and every meal, to make sure she's safe.

I read a comment on a New Zealand Facebook page recently - a parent complaining they could no longer send an egg sandwich in their child's lunchbox to kindy, because there was an allergic child at the same kindy.

Seriously? Your kid's egg sandwich is more important than a child's life?

My daughter is older now, and is vigilant about keeping herself safe around other children at school. But preschool-age children are not as careful, so I understand the need for the kindy to blanket ban all eggs. A child with an egg in their lunchbox sitting next to a child with egg anaphylaxis is equivalent to a child sitting next to a loaded gun. I'm not being dramatic - it's why they're called life-threatening allergies.

If you've been asked to keep peanuts, eggs or anything else out of your child's lunchbox because their kindy or school also has children with allergies, please put your minor annoyance into perspective.

Having to think up an alternative sandwich filling is really not as exhausting as constantly worrying that an everyday object could kill your child. 

Give your child as many eggs as you like at home, and cut the allergy-child's parents some slack.


Rhonwyn Newson is the features editor at Newshub.