Food Allergies in School

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If your child has a life threatening allergy, it is best to prepare an allergy bag to remain at the school. Actually, schools require this. I would suggest getting a little bag and including the following:

  • 2 Epi-pens
  • Inhaler (if your child uses one)
  • Benadryl
  • Action plan
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Picture of your child

Make sure you label the outside of the bag with your child’s name and picture on the front, and all emergency numbers on the back.

The inside of the bag should include the epi-pens, inhaler, benadryl and action plan. Make sure you label the outside of the Benadryl bottle with the dosage in large print so it’s easy to see. Also make sure you include the dosing cup or syringe. Basically you want to make things as easy as possible.

The Action Plan is just as important as the emergency items. This is where you again include your emergency contact numbers, but also the numbers for your child’s pediatrician, emergency contact if you’re unavailable, and how/when to give the dosing of each item, what to look for as an allergic reaction and the severity of what type of allergy that is presenting itself. A great example of an Action Plan to use is found here.

You should make sure your child’s teacher reviews your action plan frequently. You can speak with the Director or Principal and Nurse of the school to make sure all teachers are trained with an epipen and know what to look for/when to give dosing, etc. If the school hasn’t had any firsthand, hands-on experience with life threatening food allergies, I would highly encourage you to take the practice epipen and do a mini-training for the teachers prior to your child’s first day. Additionally, you can hire the Red Cross to come and train the staff. You may feel silly, but it is your child’s life they are taking in to their own hands, in a more extreme way than they are with other children. Same goes for all the parents if your child is attending a co-op or a parent participation school. Everyone that will have contact with your child should be trained.

Your emergency bag should be clearly labeled with your child’s picture and put in a visible, easily accessible spot that any adult can get to.

Remember, every second counts.

 

Choosing a Preschool–Questions to Ask

Choosing a Preschool

Again, welcome to the series: Choosing a Preschool

Once you’ve reviewed thethings to think about and determined which  preschool philosophy you would like your child’s preschool to have, it’s time to pick a preschool.

I would suggest visiting a local preschool fair, if your town offers one. It’s a great chance to see many, or all, of the local preschools and get your basic questions out of the way.

However, once you’ve narrowed it down to a select few I would encourage you to actually go visit them (see if you can bring your preschooler!) and get a hands-on idea of what the preschool is like. At that time I would suggest you determine which of the following questions are important to you and ask a handful (if not all) of the following:

1. During your tour ask to see the curriculum.

-What are the children in each age group working on?

-Will they get a chance to create artwork?

-Will the children be working on any reading, writing, etc.?

-Will the children be experimenting with any music?

-What is the structure (if any) to the day?

-What is the student/teacher ratio?

-How much tv do the children watch? (For us, I didn’t want any since I could do that myself)

-What type of experience/education does each teacher have?

2. During the tour make a mental note of:

-How many classes there are.

-Do all the teachers appear friendly?

-Is there any outside play area? If so, how is it supervised and is it enclosed?

-Are the room(s) safe and easily accessible by the children?

-How do they keep kids safe inside and strangers outside?

3. Other things to consider:

-How are the children disciplined?

-How often are the facilities/toys cleaned?

-Do YOU feel comfortable there? Ask your child too! If you don’t, trust your gut.

-How do they handle bathroom breaks for themselves and the children?

-What type of parent involvement do they require?

4. And great questions to ask if you have a child with a life-threatening food allergy:

-Are you familiar, and have you had direct experience with, children with life-threatening food allergies? Has anyone had a reaction here? If yes, how was it handled?

-Do you provide meals? If so, how many, and how do you take precautions for those with allergies?

-What type of training or experience have you (and all staff) had related to how to handle a food allergy crisis?

-Do you (and all staff) know how to use an Epi Pen?

-Could I (the parent) bring in the Red Cross for a training for the staff on how to handle a situation involving a life-threatening food allergy?

-How do you handle celebrations? E.g. birthdays, holidays, etc. regarding treats?

-What is your medical emergency routine/policy?

Always feel comfortable asking for references! After all, you would do if it you were a business owner hiring them to work for you. In fact, they ARE working for you! They are helping raise and educate your CHILD.

Of course there are probably 100s more questions you could ask. Before you go, make sure to think of everything that’s important to you and write them down! You’ll be shocked at how easily you forget once you’re there. And never feel bad for asking questions; remember, this is YOUR CHILD we’re talking about.

Anyone have any good questions to add to the list?

 

Choosing a Preschool–An Introduction

Choosing a Preschool

Welcome to the series: Choosing a Preschool. Making the decision to send my eldest to preschool was a tough one. See the original story here. It meant sacrificing my control of his allergy to a stranger. It meant that I wouldn’t be able to be there to protect him, watch over him, and keep him out of harms way. A life threatening allergy has a way of holding you hostage and I wasn’t going to let it. As a working mom I was unable to participate in mom’s groups, play groups, or even many of the outings that my friends were going on. If I weren’t so concerned about my son’s social aspect, I might have kept him home longer, but as it was, he needed some friends. I knew I needed to prayerfully send my son to preschool.

What I didn’t know was how difficult choosing a preschool would be regardless of the food allergy aspect. Not only are there SO many things to consider that I had NO idea about, but it can be an extremely emotional experience. Emotions aside, I created this series to help ease the logistical part.

I always suggest that preschool is something that you should really start thinking about a year before you’re intending to start your child.

In this series you can expect the following:

I will break down the importance of determining:

*Cost

*Hours

*Age

*Location

*Potty training

*Parental involvement

 

I will explain the different approaches and philosophies preschools take:

*Developmental

*Academic

*Montessori

*Reggio

*Waldorf

*Religious

*Combination

I will share some great questions to ask when interviewing preschools. Oh, you didn’t know you should interview them? Me either. But it’s extremely important. I’ll share some general questions as well as some important questions for those with children with food allergies.

And last but not least if you have a child with food allergies I’ll go over what to pack in your child’s emergency bag that your child will need to take to preschool as well as go over what an Action Plan for allergies is and what it should entail.

I am hopeful that someone will find this beneficial. I am hopeful that someone will be able to take something from this. And if anyone has any other tips, further examples, etc. please leave comments and I’ll include them!!

Choosing a Preschool