A as in Anaphylaxis, All About Allergies

How to find the right nursery for your allergic child

Even the thought of having someone else taking responsibility for allergybabe gave me goosebumps.

After all we went through together, 24/7, day and night, I was very uncomfortable to leave our well established safety zone, our castle of protection, into a new and dangerous outside world.

On the other hand, allergybabe is our first and so far, only child. He needed to be around other children, other people with different stimuli and a different language (not just english, but british english…).

So I gave it a try. Equipped with a heavy suit of armour, we were ready to conquer the non allergy friendly world and so far, succeeded.

For over a year now, allergybabe (who is 2,5 years now) is at a very caring nursery, playing happily along his peers and learning something new every day. What makes it such a good and healthy experience is, that we constantly talk about anything that occurs. From management to the practicioners and the catering staff, I could not be more pleased.

But how to find the right nursery? Here is some advise that helped me with my decision:

  • Ask if the staff has had any previous experiences with food allergic children. It is always easier to go somewhere someone else has implemented the rules and procedures then to do it all from scratch.
  • Ask as many questions and meet as much staff as possible. A truly caring nursery will always be happy to answer as many questions as possible.
  • Find out if staff get regular emergency training including Epipen (or other adrenalin devices) training?
  • Drop the word ‘cross contamination’. How familiar are they with it? Can they explain their measures to avoid accidental exposure?
  • Ask about an established plan to proceed in case of emergency. If they not have a plan, are they willed to set one up with professional support?
  • Are they comfortable to give emergency medication?
  • Can the catering provide allergy friendly meals?
  • ask yourself if you feel comfortable with the nursery and the responsible people (management, practicioners, etc.). If you do not feel comfortable, do not  proceed.

Once you have found an appropriate place, do not forget you are a team and that you have to continously work together to avoid an allergic reaction:

  • It is very helpful to have one person as the main responsible carer and one person of the management staff you can turn to all the time. In building a trustful relationship, it is much easier to pass on new information or to raise concerns. They will also get used to your child’s individual case, which is important when allergy symptoms occur, when food has to be ordered, medicine has to be applied or other decisions have to be made.
  • Point out, on a regular basis, how important it is to avoid cross contamination and oral allergen contact. The longer the child has not had a reaction, the easier it is to forget to be vigilant at all times.
  • Ask them to show you how an Epipen works by using the trainer pen. Routine is the best friend in emergency situations.

Have you had any experience about finding a nursery, babysitter, nanny or school for your little one? Are you more comfortable with a nanny who is solely responsible or with a nursery, were contamination may be more likely, but a team of people are there to take care? Is it important to have peers to learn and play with? Would love to read some comments.