OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island town is the latest in the area to create new rules at playgrounds to protect children with allergies.
Nine-year-old Aaron Ferencz of Plainview loves going to the playground, but “I’m allergic to peanuts and some tree nuts,” the youngster told CBS2.
“So I go over to my mom and I’ll whisper in her ear ‘oh that person’s eating peanut M&M’s’ and then she would probably say just try to stay away,” Aaron Ferencz said.
Melissa D’Agostino of Massapequa has had to force her five and seven-year-old sons who have allergies to leave altogether.
“If we see children with Goldfish or Doritos… those are dangerous for Anthony because he’s contact-reactive we leave the park.”
“Once he got hives all down his neck and back,” D’Agostino added.
Now, at the request of several parents, the Town of Oyster Bay is putting up “food allergy alert” signs in a dozen playgrounds – asking families not to eat there and to clean their children’s hands after eating.
“It’s estimated one in 13 kids have food allergy and the only way to prevent is strict avoidance of that allergy,” Councilman Steve Labriola said.
The town supervisor says these are new rules, but there will be no enforcement.
“We just want people to understand don’t eat and play on equipment until clean hands,” said Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino.
“This is such a comforting thing the town’s done,” parent Marni Ferencz added.
Ferencz says she always carries an Epipen and wipes, but this will make her hopeful a day at the park never turns into a night at the hospital.
The nearby town of Hempstead put up similar signs in its parks this summer.