Posts on this blog, are written from my experiences as a parent of a child with food allergies. I am not a medical expert. Please always consult your physician for medical advice. This blog is not a substitute for professional advice. Due to the ever changing manufacturing process and/or ingredients, please check food labels each and every time to make sure they comply with your food allergies. The Alherrgy Mom Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn very small advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. But NO, we won't let that sway our opinions, all products listed, are found in our home and are regularly used by us.

Daycare and Food Allergies

March 2, 2019

Daycare and Food Allergies

Personally, I try not to get too overly anxious about daycare and food allergies. I've heard the horror stories and I try not to think about them. I trust our daycare 110% or else I wouldn't be working. It also helped that he has been in daycare, full time, since he was 12 weeks old before he had diagnosed food allergies and I got to know the teachers before life got really interesting.

Our daycare never had an infant or toddler with food allergies. So no policy or procedures were in place before us. It is, however, in their training and certification to be trained in Epi administration. The administration and teaches have been awesome with my son's food allergies and setting up clear procedures with what I felt comfortable with to keep my son safe while in their care.

A few things that I liked about our daycare when we enrolled him, was the wait-list, yes, the wait-list. Wait-lists mean your center is obviously doing something right and everyone wants to be there. We actually had to get him enrolled when I was 5 months pregnant. They are 1 of the only 2 daycares in our county that are a Keystone 4 Star program. It's conveniently located 5 minutes from our house and it's a Christian faith based program. The teacher to children ratio is excellent, class sizes are small. Another selling point for me was, parents provide the food for their children. Snacks are provided by center. I'll talk more about that next.

How we handle food allergies at his home away from home:

He always eats in a highchair. His highchair has followed him from the infant room into the toddler room. While, everyone else eats at a small childrens table, he is high above, looking over his kingdom. This keeps him from sharing food from a neighboring child and keeps him in one spot.

He's the first one to get ready for Lunch time or snack and the last one down. This is so they can clean up the other kids, clean the table, clean the floor and get everything put away.
Some people will ask me about why the center isn't nut or peanut free. My feelings are- All food that I, personally, haven't looked at and vetted is a bad food for my son and needs to be kept away. I'd love to trust other families but in all reality, you can't. A center can be tree nut or peanut free, all they want, but what about cross contamination, shared lines, shared facility foods? I can't expect another mom or dad to put in the same time and energy into vetting food for their non-allergy child, so that my food allergy child can be safe. So at that point, what is the point in being a "free from" center?? Plus, my son is also anaphylaxis to peas. That is not a Top 8 allergy.

Snack time- Our daycare will provide snacks to the children, twice a day. For my son, he only eats the snacks that I pack for him. However, lately, they've been buying snacks that are safe for my son to eat, so he can feel apart of the crowd. I obviously vet the products. So whenever they go shopping, they set the boxes out for me to look at and then I put his initials on the box. If it doesn't have my initials, then my son doesn't eat it. They will also text me pictures of boxes and labels, if they forget to set the food out.

Open lines of communication are key. This is the first they're dealing with it in the younger classrooms and it's the first I'm dealing with it. Education is key and I will pass along info to them, regarding allergy information, I find along the way.

He will soon be moving up to the Toddler 2 room, which will propose a new set of challenges. We're still ironing out the eating situation, highchair or a separate table near by. But the Director is thinking about keeping all snacks in that room, safe for my son. So the teachers would only have to really worry about the outside Lunches. Which means, I'd vet each snack that they'd buy. I also, threw out the idea of buying all the snacks myself.

Playtime- Some markers, chalk, and other odds and ends will make my son get hives. I'm used to it, just wash it off his skin, and the hives go away but it will freak out the teachers. Which I understand. They see hives and I will get a phone call. I love that they call me. I tell them to wash him off and call me back in 15 minutes if the hives don't go away or if they start to get worse. It shows me that they are actually paying attention.

I've shown the teachers pictures of his anaphylaxis reactions, so they know his typical reaction pattern. Not all reactions can be the same. They can differ but so far, knock on wood, my son has had the same reactions- clusters of hives that are the size of quarters and that are full body, swelling of ears, eyes, belly button, vomiting and diarrhea.

My son has paved the way. After his enrollment, 2 other children, who are in the infant room and toddler room have new confirmed food allergies. So, I've been a wealth of knowledge for the daycare and I'm always happy to pass my knowledge along.

**This post, and all posts on this blog, are written from my experiences as a parent of a child with food allergies. I am not a medical expert and encourage you to consult with a doctor on your personal medical situation.**

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