By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A 7-year-old boy with a peanut allergy was taken to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center on Saturday after his grandmother learned the boy’s father and step-mother allegedly rubbed peanut butter on his face.
The grandmother advised she has had guardianship over the boy since his mother died in a car crash four years ago and that his father – who lives in the Clifton/Morenci area – has limited visitation with his son.
According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, the grandmother said when she picked the child up from Morenci he advised he didn’t feel good and informed her of the peanut butter incident.
The youth later told a deputy that his father and step-mother had seen TikTok videos where people with the allergy rub peanut butter on their faces and watch them swell. The boy said his father and step-mother then rubbed the peanut butter on his face and that he “got all puffy” and then they washed off the peanut butter. At that point in time at the hospital, the deputy did not see any redness on the boy’s face.
A doctor later advised that upon arrival the boy had a slight redness on his face and that they were going to prescribe a steroid for a topical application. The doctor also advised that the boy was never in anaphylactic shock.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a peanut allergy is one of the most common causes of severe allergy attacks and even a small amount of peanuts can cause a serious reaction that can be life-threatening.
However, most individuals with a peanut allergy will not experience a systemic or respiratory reaction by simply touching, inhaling, or smelling peanut butter, and that would only occur through ingestion.
The grandmother advised she had reported the boy’s father previously for child abuse, and a Clifton Police Department detective told the deputy that multiple claims have been investigated but have been unfounded. The detective advised there had been numerous issues between the grandmother and the boy’s father over a death settlement from the mother’s fatal car crash.
The father denied the allegation to the Gila Herald and said the grandmother was making it up due to an ongoing custody dispute. He said he cooperated with Clifton authorities and would not have put his son in danger in such a way.
After receiving permission, the deputy obtained a records release from the hospital and placed the boy’s clothes into an evidence bag for the Clifton Police Department to have for any follow-up investigation that department might make since the incident allegedly occurred in its jurisdiction.