Food allergies should never prevent kids from receiving a quality education. Preschools are always willing to cooperate with parents to ensure every child’s needs are met, so with adequate communication, your child can safely enjoy their time in class. The following guide explains how to protect your preschooler from food allergies.
Keeping Children With Food Allergies Safe at Preschool
1. Meet With a Pediatrician
Before your child enters any preschools, you’ll need to visit the pediatrician. They will give you three signed forms in order to provide detailed medical explanations about your child’s food allergies. These include the Medical Authorization form, which gives the school permission to administer prescribed medications to your child; the Emergency Action Plan, which details what to do in case of a reaction; and the Special Dietary Needs Accommodation form, which explains your child’s dietary needs. Make sure you’re up-to-date on prescriptions for medications such as epinephrine auto-injectors as well.
2. Work With the Preschool & Faculty
Reach out to your child’s preschool well before the school year begins. Schedule a meeting with the owner, directors, or teachers to discuss any additional details you feel they must know. Turn in the required medical forms while you’re there. Ask questions about the food provided by the preschool, existing food allergy policies, and staff training in emergency situations. Together, you should design a Food Allergy Management and Prevention Plan to strategize how caretakers will work to prevent contact with the allergen. If your child needs medicine throughout the year, label it and hand it off to the teachers. Keep in touch with the preschool to get updates on your child’s adjustment.
3. Help Your Child Understand Their Allergies
When children start school, their parents won’t always be around to protect them. It’s important for kids to understand their food allergies and know how to manage them. Teach them to always read food labels, ask what is in an unfamiliar dish, avoid swapping food with others, and find a responsible adult if they’re having an allergic reaction. If your child has yet to experience a reaction, describe what it will feel like so they can recognize it when it happens. Talk to your pediatrician to see if your preschooler is ready to self-carry and learn how to use an epinephrine auto-injector.
For parents of children with food allergies, it is critical to choose an early childhood center that will readily accommodate your child’s needs. Great Beginnings works closely with parents to offer a safe, welcoming environment for every child in their care. Their comprehensive curriculum targets key areas of child development, from cognitive skills to communication. For information on enrollment or food allergy policies, call (636) 724-5048 for their St. Charles location or (636) 447-4212 for Cottleville, MO. Visit their website to learn about their preschool education program.