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The Dear Daycare Parent Blog

Allergies Can Be Fatal. Is Your Day Care Prepared?

Sadly on November 3, 2017, a child with severe dairy allergies was given a grill cheese sandwich by a staff member in a New York preschool.  The three-year old went into anaphylactic shock and later died at the hospital.  For reasons unknown, no ambulance was ever called, however they did call the child’s mother and she brought her son to the hospital.   Read story here:

I can’t even imagine how this happened.  With the growing number of food and environmental allergies in children today, keeping them safe is the school’s number one priority.  The first step to doing that is to make identifying these children easier for everyone!  When there is a child with an allergy, we ask the parent’s to bring in an “enlarged” picture of their child with their allergies clearly written under their picture.  Then, we display these pictures in the classroom, usually where snack is prepared or on the cabinet where their Epipen is locked up.  By doing this, anyone that comes into the classroom (substitutes, floaters, volunteers or even a parent that wants to make the children a special treat) will be made aware.

Along with posting the child’s picture, each school will have a protocol of what to do in case of an emergency.  It’s baffling to me why this school didn’t follow any emergency plan once they realized the child was having an allergic reaction.  Depending how severe the allergy is, the school is always given a doctor’s order telling them what to do for the child.  Sometimes they are instructed to give the child an antihistamine such as Benadryl, or to immediately use the child’s Epi-pen.  Most schools train the staff so that they will know what to look for when a child is having an allergic reaction.  When they realized the child was in anaphylactic shock, they should have been in crisis mode.  The school had the sense to call the mother, but they failed this young boy by not calling 911!

By calling an ambulance first, the needed help would have been on it’s way.  When children are joining a new preschool, the parents are asked to fill out paperwork.  One of the questions on that form is, “In case of an emergency, which hospital do you want your child to be brought to?”  By having this information on file, when there is an emergency , 911  is always called first.  Once that is done, the parent is called to inform them of what has happened.  Depending on how far away the parent is, they can then decide if they want to come to the school or meet the ambulance at the hospital.

We had a child in our program that had a severe allergy to eggs, he couldn’t even touch an egg shell.  We took every precaution to inform the parents and staff verbally, as well as posting his picture with the information.  We often did cooking projects with the kids, but we were wondering if we should eliminate this activity while this child was in our class.  We decided to talk to the parents. The mother asked if there was any way her son could be included.  We said, “Of course, he could do any measuring, scooping or sifting of the ingredients, until the egg was added”.  They encouraged us to try a cooking project.  Her son loved helping to cook, and we took precautions to guide every child to wash their hands well after they were done helping with the project, so no trace of egg was left on their hands.  We always let the mother know a few days in advance when we would be doing any cooking with the children, so she would have time to pick up a dairy-free version for her son to enjoy.

Food allergies can be very scary.  When you are checking out a school , ask them what their protocol is in case of an emergency.  Along with this, ask if their staff is trained on how to spot allergic reactions and how to administer Epipen! While on the subject, find out if the staff is certified in first aid.

Being vigilant in this matter can mean the difference between life and death.



Should a Meal Really Suck?

O.K. guys, so I’ve been in this field a long time and have seen many changes through the years. Some are for the better and some not so much.

Well, one of the things I am not crazy about are the applesauce-type foods and yogurts that kids suck out of tubes or pouches. Yuck! First of all, isn’t it more civilized to have children use utensils to eat their food? They are sitting at a table while they eat snacks and lunch when they are in childcare. It’s not like they are on the run! It’s especially tricky for little ones who are under three. Some press too hard and the stuff goes flying all over them and the floor or they press too light and a teacher has to assist them in dispensing it correctly. All I think of when I watch them eat those things is it’s like the way the astronauts have to eat meals in space. We are on earth people! Let’s just eat the old fashioned way shall we!

The funny thing is, a teacher brought to my attention an article a mom wrote about these pouch foods. Because her child was saying it tasted funny, she discovered mold at the bottom! It brought to light that you cannot see what is at the bottom of these containers. Good point! Here is the link to the article if you want to check it out.

I hope this gives you all some food for thought. Should a meal suck? :>)

I Can See Clearly Now

I recently came upon an article that stated, “Close to 175,000 American preschoolers struggle with common, untreated, vision problems”.  Read the article here:  They project that by 2060, the number of uncorrected vision problems in preschoolers will jump another 26%.  This may be due to the use of modern technology, although it wasn’t stated why.

Looking back over the years, I can only remember two children that were brought to have their vision checked.  One child was always complaining at circle time that he couldn’t see the story we were reading.  So, before circle time started, Jackie or I would make sure he wasn’t sitting behind a taller child.  If he was, we would move his spot to help him see better.  But, even with our efforts, he was still complaining that he couldn’t see.  The second child was a little girl who always seem to be rubbing her eyes.  When we mentioned it to her mother, she wondered if she had allergies.  After we spoke with the child’s mother, she began to be aware of how much her daughter was rubbing her eyes.  When it continued into the winter, after allergy season, she decided to bring her daughter to the eye doctor.  Both children needed glasses.

Reading the article reminded me of those two children, but it also made me realize how few parents bring their child in to an eye specialist for a basic comprehensive eye exam.  This article recommends that all children should have a comprehensive eye exam by 3 years old.

Very young children cannot understand or express when there is something wrong with their vision, so they are often heard complaining, “I can’t see that”.  Remember to bring your child in for a vision checkup, this may help them to be more successful in their early years of learning.


How About Making America POLITE again?

First of all, I just want to say how truly tired and disgusted I have become with all the rude and disrespectful behavior that surrounds us these days! Really? How can children be expected to be polite if the adults aren’t providing proper role models? I’m telling you that something absolutely has to change!

The change can begin right now with our children. Now I am talking about starting as young as a year old. Yes! As soon as they are starting to walk and a talk is when manners can start to be introduced. Let me just share some example of things that I have done and witnessed throughout my preschool teaching years. At a year, they do begin to ask for things using one word, they can be reminded to add the word please. Of course there is no expectation they will say it right away or even know how to use it right now but it is being said over and over and they will understand eventually. Truly they do! It really starts to kick in as they progress to the ages of two and three. It is building foundation! Just using a gentle “no” when they throw their food on the floor and watching an adult pick it up reinforces the idea of table manners. “It stays on your plate.” Encouraging them to wave hi and good bye when parents leave, again, the beginning of connecting with people. It is all quite simple and should come naturally as we interact with the little ones on a daily basis.

Of course this continues to build and grow as they age and the expectations will increase. By the time a child is three a teacher can ask a child who hurts another to tell  the aggressor to check on  the child he hurt and ask, “are u ok?” This will eventually lead to knowing how to say I’m sorry. I remember serving snack to my 4 yr olds and would ask them to say yes please or no thank you. I once had a conversation with a mom of a 4 and 7 yr old. She stated that her older child was always throwing garbage on the floor and asked when she should start teaching manners. Without missing a beat I expressed she missed the boat and that should have started years before. I don’t understand why some parents are so intimidated about teaching their kids manners! On a few occasions a child has raised a hand to me or a co worker right in front of a parent and they had no comment. Are you kidding? I would firmly say, “you may not hit me, that is not ok!”

So hopefully you will become more aware of how your child is reacting in social situations and ask your daycare/ preschool if manners are being addressed in their facility. They should be! It’s part of learning self respect as well as respect for others. Let’s remind them of the simple please, thank you, excuse me responses. This will lead to a more respectful adult and a much nicer world to live in!

Finally, I’d like to include a few books you may want to check out:

  • Excuse Me , A Little Book of Manners by Karen Katz (this is especially good for toddlers)
  • Monster Manners by Bethany Roberts
  • Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners by Stan and Jan Berenstain


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