A Calgary mother is begging locals to stop feeding peanuts to squirrels, fearing her highly allergic daughter may come in contact with the discarded shells.
Marilyn Carey says she's seen peanut shells scattered on lawns and playgrounds throughout the city, dispersed by snacking squirrels.
"If you go walking, you'll always see peanuts in any neighbourhood," she told CBC News. Carey said she's terrified her five-year-old daughter Azura could accidentally touch a shell, triggering a potentially deadly reaction.
"It's not parents just being overprotective," Carey said. "It's scary when she has an anaphylactic reaction where she can't breathe."
Azura agrees: "If I eat peanuts and the ambulance doesn't come fast enough, I could die, and I don't want to die."
Parents, children, neighbours and teachers in the area are all on the lookout for the offending nuts. Carey said everyone has been supportive and stopped feeding the squirrels.
"I have to trust all the other parents and the school and the community to know and to be educated too, I guess," she said.
Lilly Byrtus, with the Allergy/Asthma Information Association in Edmonton, said the shells carried by squirrels could cause a reaction, but the chances are slim.
"Is it a possibility for a reaction? Yes, it is a possibility for a reaction. Is it as dangerous of a place to be exposed to peanuts? Probably not."