Medical note: Please always refer to your doctor if you have any questions about what is safe to handle for your child's tree nut or peanut allergy. I am not a medical professional, so I can only speak for myself or those with tree nut allergies similar to my daughter's. Thank you!
Recently, I had an e-mail question from a reader who wanted to know if their 3-year-old who is allergic to tree nuts could safely handle acorns and pine cones. This mom was concerned because her child's school did a lot of outside exploration and the teachers wondered if these natural objects were safe for this child.
I realized I didn't really know the answer--I've let my daughter handle pine cones (normally they don't have pine nuts in them--that I've seen) but just recently she asked me about acorns since they're falling from all of the oak trees right now.
Acorns are nuts from oak trees so they do qualify as a tree nut. However, check out this link from FAAN: -according to them, it says kids with tree nut allergies don't have to avoid these objects. However and this may sound like a "Duh": please don't let your kids eat acorns without asking a doctor. According to my Internet research, some people do eat them and if your kids are studying Native American cultures, for example, acorns may be used to create foods. So as always, before you let your child ingest anything ask your allergist. Everybody is different in what they will react to.
That said, tree nuts such as walnuts, etc. do show up in fall decor and crafts and your child should not touch those or handle them. Even the shells have enough allergenic material to cause a reaction in some people.
Has this question come up for any of you as well? Please don't be shy about asking your allergists for advice on this one. But it looks like pine cones and acorns should be OK for most of our kids to use in a science lesson or craft project.