As a childcare director one of your main responsibilities is to keep the children safe. With many children suffering from food sensitivities it is increasingly important for all of your staff to know what to do to keep your centre as safe possible.

Disseminate identifying information

Have a clearly one pager on each child with a food sensitivity displayed in the room that the child stays in (and if a child moves between rooms, have the one pager in both rooms).

Ensure the one pager has a recent clear picture, details of their allergen/s, advise on what kinds of allergic reaction the child suffers and what treatment they need if they experience a reaction. This can range from a topical application of a cream, to the use of an adrenalin pen in the most severe cases. The photo allows any new of casual staff to quickly identify children, who may be pre-verbal or struggling to speak if experiencing a severe reaction.

Soft 'sports' style rubber bands can also be used to help identify the children who have allergies, so that they can easily be identified if they have a reaction on the yard or away from their normal class.

Limit the food coming into the centre

While childcare centres usually provide all food, busy parents can bring in children who are still snacking on breakfast in the mornings. These snacks can easily be dropped, or transmitted by touch to other children. The safest policy is to restrict any outside food from entering the centre. Have a bin outside the centre front entrance and a sign explaining that this is a safety issue for the children attending the centre.

Additionally you need to encourage children not to share food, especially as some children may have separately prepared meals.

Annual training on allergy management

Training all of your staff annual on your centre polices on allergy management and best practise is a process that can yield big dividends. Not only does it help your staff to become better prepared to deal with these sorts of incidents, it also keeps staff engaged and continuously learning about best practise in the industry. Additionally, having trained staff can help draw parents into the centre, giving them confidence that the staff can safely care for their children. 

Having a dedicated safety plan dealing with allergy management can be a great asset in reducing both the number and severity of any allergy related incidents at your centre. Consult other centres like Hopscotch Boambee for more ideas or suggestions.