Exposure to certain foods can cause a life threatening situation for those with food allergies. Church daycare, nursery, Sunday school and vacation bible school staff must be aware of the risks and exposures to children with allergies. There are simple guidelines and precautions for developing and training your staff for such concerns. Please consider the following when developing a plan.
- Ask parents to complete a form outlining all allergies and health concerns their child may have. Also, include emergency contact information.
- Instruct parents to provide a detailed list of foods not acceptable for consumption.
- Obtain a clear description of the known symptoms of an allergic reaction.
- Gather and safely store all medications necessary to aid a child having a reaction.
- Train staff on how to recognize and respond to an allergic reaction.
- Instruct staff on the medication dosage and proper application as outlined by the parents and pediatrician.
- Encourage staff to be extra careful of food sharing, cross-contamination and physical contact.
- Innocent birthday treats and snacks pose a risk. Ask that certain foods be restricted and that parents refrain from providing treats containing specified foods.
- Daily meal plans and menu changes may also be a concern. Consider parent notification for all adjustments to the lunch and snack program.
- If the environment is too hard to control (i.e. field trips) encourage parents to provide a lunch and/or snack from home.
Accurate information, keen awareness and proper training are easy safeguards to keep our daycare students, nursery kids and vacation bible school participants safe.