This blog is aimed at any parent who is looking for advice about child care and early learning. I do not work in this industry. My name is Keira, and I am just another loving parent who wants the best for her child. When my child was 2 years old, I decided to return to work. This was the beginning of my search for child care. Over the next couple of months, I learnt lots of useful things from other mothers and those who work in the industry. I hope this blog helps you to make the right choice when it comes to child care.
Between 2000 and 2015, hospitalisations due anaphylactic shock have tripled in Australian hospitals, and for children, the increase has been even more dramatic. If you have a child with an allergy, you know just how scary this can be, and you have to consider your child's allergies in every part of your life, including child care.
If your child has allergies and you're looking for childcare, consider asking the following questions.
What Is Your Training?
A licensed child care centre is almost always the best option, but it's arguably even more important when your child has an allergy or another health concern. As you talk with various child care centres, ask if they have specific training related to allergies. Many early childhood training courses include classes on this topic.
Talk in depth about what the child care provider would do if your child went into anaphylactic shock. Pay close attention to their answers to ensure they understand the severity of the situation as well as what to do if it occurs.
Can You Create an Allergen-Free Environment?
Ideally you want to avoid allergic reactions, so your next question should focus on making an allergen-free environment. Some child care centres may not be able to make that promise. Others, however, will commit to banning peanuts or whichever food your child is allergic to. To be on the safe side, you want a child care centre that can completely ban the problematic food.
How Will You Educate Other Parents?
Typically, if you want to ban a certain food at a child care centre, you need to educate the other parents about the risk. If the other parents truly understand that a child may die if there is peanut dust in the air, they will most likely agree to not sending those foods to the child care centre with their children. However, you probably don't want too much attention focused on your child, and you may want to ensure that the child care providers can educate families while being discreet about your child.
Do You Produce the Food on Site?
That said, even the best-intentioned parents sometimes make mistakes. If you want to truly ensure your child isn't exposed to certain foods, you may want to choose a child care centre where parents don't pack snacks or meals for the children. You may prefer a facility that makes all its own food on site. In this situation, always ask to see the kitchen. You are used to cooking for someone with a severe allergy, so you are likely to be very tuned into cross-contamination risks.