Free-Range Kids??

April 14, 2015

2015-03-30_08-52-18Peanut allergies are one of the most common forms of food allergy among American children. And the last two decades have seen a dramatic rise in the number of cases. It’s estimated that today 2 percent of all children are allergic to peanuts, four times the number as recently as 1997. And it’s the leading cause of death from food allergies.

For parents, of course, a key question, how to avoid the risk to their children. And now comes a new twist. A study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine,” it finds that exposing higher-risk infants to peanut products greatly reduced the risk of developing an allergy later on.

SOURCE:  Feeding infants peanuts could reverse dramatic allergy rise.

I think that when the first two decades of the 21st century goes down into the annals of American history it will be know as the “Age of Fear”. They will describe it as a time when we let fear drive us to a higher degree than any time before (and hopefully since).  Of course that probably started with 9/11. After all it was the first time that so many of our citizens were killed in a single day by someone from beyond our shores.

It seems kind of ironic that our fear that our children might be allergic to peanuts is the reason that so many of them are allergic to peanuts. I’m sure that I, like probably everyone in my generation, was given my first taste of peanut butter as an infant. And I’m  pretty sure that I loved it and ate many PB&J sandwiches before I reached puberty.

Is it now impossible for parents to raise “free-range” kids? Must we protect them from every possible danger out there? I was a free-range kid. I often spent my days roaming the neighborhood seeing what kind of trouble I could get into. 🙂  I can’t image kids being so sheltered today that they can’t do the same.  It is ironic that what we fear from peanuts we may actually make happen because of our fear.  That is kind of like those folks who refuse to get immunizations for their kids because they fear that it causes other problems.

Fear is a very powerful thing for many I guess.


2 responses to Free-Range Kids??


    I beg to differ. My daughter who is now 38 has a life threatening allergy to peanuts and has had it since she was old enough to eat solid food. I did not imagine it…I did not cause it to happen by worrying…it is a fact of life. Her years at school were dangerous for her because food and “treats” are pushed on kids everywhere they go. When talking with school health administrators in the 1980’s I was politely blown off by being told that I couldn’t expect others to forgo their need for peanuts and peanut butter because of her particular problem. Luckily for her she survived with not too many trips to the ER. This constant fear takes a toll on a child (and her parents). Now, the same schools she went to have bans on perfume, latex, homemade food of any kind, but not yet on peanuts. The number of children with peanut allergies has increased and my guess would be because peanut products are put into many many foods that you would not even suspect if you were not a veteran label reader like I am. Our foods today are not simple or pure anymore, they contain long lists of ingredients.
    And yes, we boomers had a different childhood…I miss that too. But, how much of that freedom was due to ignorance? Many of the dangers we were about today were probably there when we were kids….we just didn’t know it. Now, we get day by day reports of all the scary stuff that happens. Do parents today go overboard with safety and protection? Sometimes…but it’s a different world. Give the young parents a break and don’t “imagine” that they are “causing” things like peanut allergies by their worrying.



      Thanks for the comment Jane. I didn’t mean to imply that ALL peanut allergies are self imposed. But the source article does show empirical evidence that much the increase is due to too many young parents keeping peanuts away from their kids due to the fear that they MIGHT be allergic. Thanks for pointing out that there will always be those who have that inborn deadly allergy.

      Yes, the amber alerts and such put much more emphasis on pedophiles and such but again the facts show that the cases of child abduction is quite a bit lower now than when we were kids. I stick by my supposition that sheltering kids from all “possible” dangers prevents them from having creative experiences that our generation had.

      Thanks again for a different point of view. That is what this blog is all about