Holiday Presents for Asthma Kids

Dear Well-Intentioned Friends and Family,

First of all, I appreciate very much the sentiment behind your Christmas gifts to the Asthma Girl. Choosing to spend your time and money on either of my daughters tells me more about how much you love them than the actual presents do, and I thank you for both.

However, please stop giving AG stuffed animals in any shape, size or form.


Even the really cute ones. Even the ones you bring over and say, *Oh, it’s just one and it’s really little. I just couldn’t pass it up.* No matter how cute or tiny that stuffed toy is, chances are good that I will either A) exchange it if you’ve included the gift receipt or B) donate it to Toys for Tots or the local Goodwill.

Asthma Girl is allergic to dust mites, as you know, and no child with asthma should have a roomful of the stuffed toys that harbor them. She should not have stuffed animals.


I understand the temptation to buy her that gigantic stuffed Appaloosa for Christmas because you know how much she loves horses, and I love that you care enough to remember her interests. But she already has 1 or 2 plush animals she adores and I already have to wash and dry those constantly and stick them in the freezer overnight to kill the dust mites. If you bring more, I will not let her keep them. Please don’t make me the bad guy here.

I know high-end decorating for kids’ bedrooms is big business now, but please also resist the urge to purchase anything that will increase the amount of dust in AG’s room. This includes that fluffy, glittery throw pillow or the elaborate, shiny canopy that’s impossible to launder easily. I know her fish-like affinity for all things sparkly means she’d love those things, but my kid loves breathing at night even more.

Here are some good rules of thumb for asthma and holiday shopping:

1. If I can’t throw it in my own washer and dryer regularly, don’t buy it.

2. If it attracts/retains dust easily (fabric, for example), don’t buy it.

3. If it harbors dust mites, don’t buy it.

4. If the gift involves any sort of airborne element–this includes fragrance–don’t buy it.

5. If you doubt at all whether it will trigger AG’s asthma, call me first or don’t buy it.

6. If the label contains the words hypoallergenic or allergen-free you can probably go ahead and buy it.


**Many thanks to Asthmagirl, (not mine, another one) whose comment yesterday about well-meaning friends and relatives inspired this post.

13 responses to “Holiday Presents for Asthma Kids”

  1. Asthmagirl says:

    Thanks for the very kind mention. I had no idea my airways were particularly inspiring!
    I appreciate the guidelines you put out there. I think it’s really helpful for friends and relatives to know the details rather than trying to do the right thing and making it worse.
    It took a while for me to know exactly what would set off my airways and a little longer than that for my loved ones to understand. Enduring the Febreeze incident or the Lysol incident or for your young Asthmagirl, the stuffed animal issue is just part of the learning experience for everyone.

    Thanks again for all your great ideas and inspiration. You rock!

  2. Asthma Mom says:

    OH, the trial and error of asthma triggers, LOL……you never know just which crazy thing will start a flare. I remember my daughter once drank this really cold drink out of a can REALLY fast and could NOT stop coughing. Who knew?

    Now she knows to drink slowly. :)
    My family’s still learning after 6 years, but at least they’re willing to learn.

    (And thanks, again.)

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