We have a six-year-old son with life-threatening multiple food allergies to nuts, dairy, sesame and egg.

We are concerned about the lack of allergy awareness in our state. While peanut bans initially sound like a positive move they are actually not recommended by ASCIA as they set up a false sense of security. It may only take 1/2000th of a peanut to kill. It takes up a huge amount of our time with phone calls and food label reading to try and establish what foods contain traces of nuts - and in our case other allergens. The ban is impossible to enforce, puts other parents offside, some parents and teaching staff refuse to adhere to the bans and it overshadows other allergens which are growing in number and severity like dairy or egg.

The most common allergens vary from country to country and city to city. For instance in Sydney the most common and deadly allergen amongst young children is egg. Unfortunately our child is not going to school at this stage as our local school’s idea of protecting our child from an anaphylactic reaction was to stick up a nut-free zone sign. This is cheap and an easy solution.

Rather than bans, we'd like to concentrate more on students being encouraged not to share food and to wash hands after eating. We hope these preventative measures would eliminate the needfor the next step of using the epipen, but of course we would also require teachers to be knowledgeable in this area and be comfortable in using an epipen - something that was not in place at our school.

Some big changes in NSW and VIC occurred after deaths from anaphylaxis at schools. Luckily deaths have not occurred in our state yet and hopefully they will make the necessary improvements shortly and not wait for a death to occur before they do. – Geoff, by email

(To see Geoff’s suggestions – a letter sent home to parents and an allergy awareness page - note that nut bans are encouraged in childcare centres where children are too young to understand)