If your child suffers from severe food allergies, you need to be more vigilant than the average parent when choosing a preschool for your child to attend. You need to make sure that any preschool you choose to send your child has a food allergy policy already in place, and will take every effort to protect your child from exposure to their food allergy triggers.

Ask About Their Food Allergy Policy

When you tour a prospective preschool, ask about their food allergy policy. In order to protect children who have severe allergies, many high quality preschools ask that parents do not send their children to school with items such as nuts, that their classmates may be allergic to.

This protects your child against accidental exposure to a food allergy trigger. If the preschool you are interested in already has a policy like this in place, this is a good sign that the entire school community will be supportive of keeping food triggers away from your child.

Ask How They Inform Staff About Food Allergies

Many preschools and child care centers have a variety of different individuals working in the classrooms each day. Inquire about how the preschool you are touring keeps the staff informed about food allergies.

Ideally, they should be able to show you a cupboard or centralized bulletin board for staff where pictures of each student who has a food allergy is posted. Next to the picture should be a list of foods they are allergic to, as well as to the protocol to follow if that particular child is exposed to a food on that list or starts to exhibit symptoms of an allergic reaction.

The addition of pictures will ensure that even new staff will know exactly which children have food allergies and exactly what they can do for them.

Ask About Cleaning Standards

Most preschool classrooms are set up so that students eat their meals and snacks inside of their classroom, not in a separate lunchroom.

Be sure to ask about the clean-up policy after meals. They should disinfect all the tables and chairs after every meal. They should also sweep the floor after every meal. Additionally, they should have the children wash their hands after they are done eating.

If they do not have a thorough cleaning policy after each meal, you may want to keep your options open. You don't want your child exposed to a food trigger just because the lunch and snack area was not properly cleaned up.

Ask About Special Treats

Be sure to inquire about their policy for special treats. Find out if they allow in homemade baked goods, or they require all treats to have the ingredients listed. See if you can keep of stash of special treats on-site for your child if they can't participate in the special treat that a child brought in for their birthday or for a class party.

It is your job to make sure your child is in a safe environment where there is a low risk of them being exposed to a food trigger and having an allergic episode. Be sure to inquire about the food allergy policies and staff awareness methods they already have in place, as well as their cleaning procedures. Make sure the preschool you choose will provide your child with a safe environment. Talk to a preschool like Concordia Place for more information.