How do you find day care when you have a child with a peanut allergy?
When it can be deadly....what do you do?
I have peanut allergies and really understand how important this is in your child's life. It can be very scary to leave your child in a day care! Look for a day care center that may have other children with peanut allergies. Talk to the nutritionist at the local hospital. Sometimes a day care center will work with them to come up with meal plans and ways to watch and avoid other products with peanuts in their facility. In our area, you can contact the health department and ask for recommendations for child care facilities that are already handling this well! I was a Director in a Head Start Center and food allergies are tracked and followed by the Heath Department. They can also tell you who NOT to use in your area! Good luck in your endeavors, until then I find that friends and close family members tend to be most cautious!
We have no serious allergies to worry about, but my first thought is that I would look for a day care provider who also has a peanut allergy. That would guarantee a safe environment. Also, there are dedicated peanut-free home day cares and day care centers. Look for them and chat with parents who send there children there to get the full scoop on the allergy situation.
You might want to contact a group like Parents of Food Allergic Kids or Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and find out if there is a support group in your area. Other parents might be able to pass on what they've learned.
Interview the staff. Ask what they know about food allergies and if they are trained (or willing to be trained) on the use of an epi pen.
Listen to your gut instincts. If it doesn't feel like they 'get it'; try somewhere else.
You'll want an allergy plan in place; and a poster of your child with his allergy and where the medication is kept should be easily viewed by all adults working in the classroom. Make sure that subs and volunteers are informed of allergies as well.
I think that almost all schools and most day care centers for children are very aware of allergy to peanuts. Some even forbid other students to bring peanut products to school in their own lunches. Just ask when you are interviewing day car centers. Good luck! Sandra Busby
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