How Would You Feel if I Sprinkled Rat Poison on the Climbing Structure at the Baldwin School?
I was in the park at the Baldwin school on Oxford Street in Cambridge recently with my (so far) allergy free daughter. I watched, cringing while a couple were a sharing a bagel with cream cheese with their young son while he sat on the swing and climbed up and down the toddler structure. The child was around 2 and the cream cheese was all over his hands and the crumbs from the bagel fell willy nilly around the platform he was playing on. I watched cringing thinking that my gluten intolerant son would likely be playing there later that day.
No, this child was not sprinkling poison on the structure in the traditional sense, but those bagel crumbs are poison to my child, and that cream cheese is poison to somebody else's.
Parents, please keep in mind the parks are for everyone, and they all have picnic tables and benches for snack time. There is no reason you have to feed your child while he or she is playing. If your child isn't hungry enough to sit and eat at a table for five minutes, then perhaps he can eat later in his stroller or in the car.
I urge all parents to keep all food off the play structures at public parks. Because as far as I'm concerned, you are sprinkling poison on that slide, that swing or those stairs. We do what we can with hand washing. But sometimes, like any preschooler, my son will randomly put his fingers in his mouth. And if you've been feeding your child where he is playing he could be in pain for days.
I don't know what it is in our environment that's making kids so horribly allergic to such common foods. But these allergies and food intolerances are out there and they're very common. So please, show a little compassion for these children and keep your food in the designated areas. They just want to play at the park like everybody else.
I submitted this to the Somerville Journal today. The editor wrote me back within about two minutes and asked if she could print it. So, yaay!