Leaving the Care for Your Child with a Food Allergy To Others
Did you know you will be a better parent if you make time for yourself? There are many instances when you need to have an extra hand to help you care for your child. We hope one reason is to go out on a date or do something for you. But let’s be honest regardless of the purpose, leaving a child with a food allergy with a babysitter, spouse or grandparent can be stressful. Let’s take away some of that angst. Planning ahead and communicating clearly can relieve some of the feelings you may be having around leaving your child.
Things to prepare before the caregiver arrives:
- A safe meal and snacks
- Your contact information + a backup person to contact
- Binder w/ useful information (see the details below)
Communication Game Changer: The Binder
We highly suggest creating a book or binder that you can leave behind for caregivers to reference. Have the book ready to review with the caregiver before you go out. Things to include here are:
- Symptoms of a food allergy reaction
- What to do if you think there is a reaction
- How to use a epinephrine auto injector
- Your contact information
- The foods your child avoids.
- Safety precautions you follow at home like reading labels, cleaning, etc
- How to read a label
- Information on cross contamination
- List of safe foods
When the sitter arrives make sure you have time to go through the key information. If this is the first time the person has watched your child, you may ask them to come earlier or call them ahead of time. Every time someone watches the child you should:
- Explain the food allergy and what foods your child is avoiding
- Review what a food allergy reaction looks like
- Tell the person to act first. This means use the epinephrine auto-injector and call 911. When in doubt do this. You will not be upset!
- Show the caregiver how to use a epinephrine auto-injector and make sure they feel comfortable using it. Have your trainer and an orange ready.
- Explain that you have set out safe foods for your child and the sitter. Ask the caregiver to stick to that.
- Make sure your binder is out and ready. Additional information is in there like how to read a label and cross contact.
- Be reachable and give a secondary contact.
- Now go have fun!