Your child has life-threatening food allergies and requires constant care and supervision. When you prepare and provide food in the home, you are able to monitor what goes into your child's mouth and what they are exposed to in order to keep your loved one safe.
But when your child is away from you with family, a babysitter, or even a daycare facility, you worry chronically about your young one's safety around food.
With nearly 10% of the childhood population suffering from some form of food allergy, you're not alone in your struggle to find quality, trustworthy, and knowledgeable childcare. Many food allergic reactions in children occur in a childcare setting. Here are tips for choosing a daycare provider to take care of your child with special food requirements.
Choose a Daycare Center That Will Accommodate Your Needs
Choose a daycare provider who will work with your child's special food requirements in whatever way your child needs. This may mean requiring children to brush their teeth and wash their hands after snacks to avoid accidentally transferring food to your child or isolating your child during meal times to limit allergen exposure.
A daycare provider may be willing to eliminate certain foods your child is allergic to from their facility as long as the food product can be easily replaceable. Common food allergens include peanuts and other tree nuts, which can be replaced with sunflower seeds or other approved food. Soy is another allergen that is replaceable with edible alternatives.
Before expecting a daycare provider to meet your child's special food allergy requirements, make a safety plan for your young one with your doctor to present to childcare management. Your plan should include how to prepare meals for your child and how to identify an allergic reaction.
Also, include in your plan a list of alternative foods your child can have and emergency numbers and treatment protocols - along with medication - to use in the event of accidental allergen exposure.
Choose a Daycare Center With Educated Staff
A daycare center should feature staff members who are trained in CPR and understand how to use an epinephrine device if needed. Or the facility should have trained pediatricians or nurses on-site or who work with the facility in cases of emergency.
Since food allergies are relatively common in children, choose a daycare center that regularly educates their staff members about how to read food ingredient lists, how to identify signs of an allergic reaction, and how to prepare food to keep cross-contamination at bay.
A daycare center manager should be willing to show certificates of the facility along with training program completion dates for all their staff members.
Choose a Daycare Center That Values Safety
Safety of all children should be the main priority of a daycare center. Choose a facility that has a low child-to-teacher ratio, cleans their toys and equipment with bleach or other cleaning agents regularly, and has cameras in rooms where parents can view their children at play and work without disrupting the classroom.
Some daycare centers even have separate rooms for various age groups of children to help protect and provide for all kids according to their age-specific needs. Seek a daycare center that values child safety because for your child, one wrong snack can mean a medical emergency, and you want your child to be under professional, watchful care at all times.
Food allergies can be life-threatening, so don't settle for a daycare facility if the staff members balk at the severity of your child's condition. Provide medical documents and diagnosis reports to showcase how important protecting your child's health around certain foods is. If a daycare facility is unwilling to meet your child's needs in any way, move on to a provider who will.
When you choose Riviera Daycare & Preschool, your child is in caring, educated hands. Arrange for our services and meet our staff today.