Sending Your Child To Child Care With Food Allergies

Posted on: 9 August 2017

Life with a food allergy isn't the easiest, but you and your child have to go on with your days despite the risks. That means you have to go to work and your child may have to go to a child care center for a while each day. Luckily, child care staff are more aware of food allergies now, but that doesn't mean you don't have to take steps yourself to protect your child. Here's what to do when it's time to look for a child care center that will help keep your child safe.

Notify the Center Staff

No matter how mild the allergy is, tell the center staff. It's tempting to just let your child handle saying no when the allergy is merely annoying and not threatening because you don't want to risk your child being bullied. But the center staff won't do that -- they'll look out for your child and help stop other kids from bullying if that is an issue.

Food allergy reactions can become severe without warning. If your child does have a severe reaction to what should have been a mild allergy, the center staff will have a better idea of what might be going on if they know about the allergy to begin with. Plus, even if the allergy is mild, the more people on your child's side, the better. Don't think that just because your child doesn't have a severe reaction now means that you should keep the allergy hidden.

Ask About the Center's Forbidden-Food Policies

Find out what the center does when a child has a serious allergy to a food. Is the child forced to eat lunch and snacks alone? Is the food itself forbidden? (And are families notified that they can't send that food with their children to the center?) Do they teach the children there good meal hygiene?

You have to be clear on what risks your child faces when he or she is at the center. That means being clear about what the center does to keep the allergen away from your child.

Find out About Cleaning Procedures

Allergens can sneak in; even if everyone follows procedures, a child who had peanut butter at home could inadvertently still have some on his or her hands when arriving at the child care center. Find out if people arriving at the center have to wash their hands, and find out what the center does if the staff finds the food allergen onsite.

Ask Where Medication Will Be Stored

If your child requires medication to fight the reaction to the allergy, where will the medication be stored? Can your older child keep the medication with him- or herself, or is a staff member the only one who can administer it? The ease with which your child can reach the medicine directly impacts his or her ability to get through a reaction. Be sure there is no undue delay.

Talk to the child care center, such as Learning Tree Schools, now about your concerns. You have to know what the environment will be like. The staff at good centers will address your concerns directly.