What to know about daycare services and your child’s allergies

What to know about daycare services and your child’s allergies

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If your child had a severe allergic reaction to food, would the daycare workers know what to do? It’s important they have an emergency action plan to follow in case of a problem. Here are some things to ensure your child’s daycare has thought through if ever that happens.

What to know about daycare services and your child's allergies

What to know about daycare services and your child’s allergies

Childcare workers need to pay particular attention to any foods that may trigger severe allergies. Although daycares can’t be 100 per cent exempt, it is important that they have an emergency action plan to follow in case of a problem. That includes:

  • The creation and internal distribution of a list of all the children in the daycare facility and any allergies they may have.
  • The implementation of an emergency care plan in case of an allergic reaction.
  • Allergy training for staff, including anaphylaxis preparedness.

What exactly is a food allergy?

A food allergy is a hypersensitive reaction within the body to an allergenic food. It is the immune system’s way of shouting “NO!”

  • There are several classic symptoms, and they vary according to the person and the allergen.
  • A reaction may appear as swelling, skin rash, itching, coughing, wheezing, nausea or vomiting.
  • In more severe cases, the reaction may appear as breathing difficulties, trouble swallowing, dizziness or unconsciousness.
  • Whether mild or severe, allergy symptoms should never be ignored.

What to do in case of an allergic reaction?

Whether at daycare or at home, an allergic reaction must be treated immediately.

  • Children who already deal with a severe allergy should have an autoinjector pen (such as an EpiPen) in their possession. This medication could help save a child’s life.

The steps to follow in case of an emergency include:

  1. Use the autoinjector pen immediately as per the directions on the device.
  2. Call 911 or your local emergency number without delay.
  3. Have the child lie down and raise his or her legs, unless he is vomiting or having trouble breathing.
  4. Never leave the child alone.
  5. Remain calm and follow the 911 operator’s instructions.

How should we – as parents – prepare?

The first step in being well prepared for a potential allergic reaction at the daycare is to make sure the person in charge is aware of your child’s medical condition.

  • Ask if all the children’s autoinjectors are properly identified and safely kept in an area that can easily be accessed in case of an emergency.
  • Ask your child’s daycare workers to ensure that all children wash their hands properly before and after every meal and that they don’t share food with each other.
  • As well, you should ask to review the weekly menus that are to be served to your little one.

Stay in touch

Of course, it’s crucial that parents immediately inform the daycare staff about any special conditions, allergies or food intolerances that arise, or recent changes in a child’s health.

  • Inform the staff, as well, about any changes in your child’s asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy.
  • The best strategy for safety and an accident-free daycare is good communication between parents and daycare workers.