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DS taking own snacks to pre-school

(11 Posts)
greenbananas Mon 17-Oct-11 18:38:14

DS has just turned 3, and today the local pre-school rang me to say that there is a free place for him on two afternoons a week. I will have to stay with him until after Christmas.

I have all sorts of concerns about DS going to pre-school... but he really, really wants to go! He is touch-allergic to dairy and is also allergic to a number of other foods. At this pre-school, the snacks tend to involve yoghurts, milk and biscuits nearly every day. I don't have full confidence in the staff to check ingredients properly and to remember that DS must only eat/touch food which is safe for him.

The best solution I can think of is for DS to take his own snack every day in his 'special bag', but I'm not sure that the pre-school staff will be happy with this.

How do other mums cope with this situation?

Likeaninjanow Mon 17-Oct-11 18:58:08

Hi Greenbananas. My DS2 is 3 and I take his week's snacks in every Monday. Everything is labelled with his name. There's also a photo of him on the wall and a list of all his symptoms, allergies, and emergency contact numbers as well as when to give which meds - piriton/epipen etc.

At snack time, his key worker sits beside him to ensure he doesn't touch anything he's allergic to. I provided a jug with a lid on it as the other children pour their own milk and it was going everywhere. At least the lid mimimizes spills a bit.

He loves pre-school, and they do their best to include him in everything. I hope you also have a good experience.

SeveredHeadsDragonTheFloor Mon 17-Oct-11 19:03:13

HVe you actually spoken to the staff about your DSs needs?

greenbananas Mon 17-Oct-11 20:29:35

Likeaninjanow, thanks, that's really helpful. It's great that your DS is having such a good time at pre-school smile I'm glad you are able to take in all his own food.

I'd forgotten about the pouring-own-milk thing (even though I worked at the pre-school for a term about 5 years ago). aargh...

SeveredHeadsDrag, no, I haven't had a proper meeting with the staff yet, but they do know he has allergies and I mentioned it on the phone again today. They are doing a home visit on Wednesday and say it will take 'a maximum of half an hour to get all the paperwork done'.

ChocaMum Mon 17-Oct-11 22:27:21

Definitely use the home visit to have a good long chat, and give them a copy of the allergy plan from your hospital/GP of symptom to look out for ad what to give (antihistamine/epipen) Give them a large photo to put up with this, and there should be on in the room and one in the staff room.

Our dd goes to nursery and they have been great. Milk is poured into the other dc's beakers in a separate area before giving them to the dc's. Our dd sits on a separate little table nearby the others, so she cannot touch any food/spillages and none of the dc's can touch her while eating, but she's close enough so she feels involved. And her key person always sits with her at mealtimes. After eating all the dc's hands and faces are washed and the floor and tables wiped down before the dc's can leave to make sure no food or drink residues are spread around the room.

The nursery allow us to bring in snacks and they refund us the costs. She has been there since January and no reactions at all so far. However she has had 3 reactions requiring epipens in the same time period with us so the Hersey are obviously doing a great job. HTH.

Clara35 Mon 17-Oct-11 22:46:36

Hi greenbananas I totally get how you are feeling as my ds is also 3 & started nursery 3 weeks ago. He is also touch allergic to dairy & eggs. The nursery have been great. They don't give the others milk so only risk comes from buttered toast. I send crackers every day for ds & he can eat the fruit & drinks provided as the staff give out the fruit to each child rather than them all helping themselves. I asked could they all wash hands before playing with toys after snack & nursery were willing to do this but then I sent in packets of wipes to save the staff taking them all to bathroom again as they go before eating. I also sent in a little treat box to be kept there incase birthday cake or anything brought in. I had myself in a right tizz before he started & there really was no need.

greenbananas Thu 20-Oct-11 00:06:36

Had the home visit today, and the staff were great smile smile I think I actually do trust them!!!

We will be allowed to send all snacks for DS in his own 'special bag', and I have also agreed to make a poster for the kitchen with his name and a picture of him, detailing all of his allergies and when to give Piriton/epipen.

They seemed really clued-up about handwashing. I suggested that they have wipes to clean children's fingers after 'risky' activities (e.g. cooking), rather than just trusting children to wash their hands properly, and they were happy to do that. They also asked about painting, playdough etc. I am feeling so reassured!!! And I will be staying to play with DS until after Christmas, so will have plenty of opportunities to do my own risk-assessments.

Thank you all so much for all your replies.

Clara : I had myself in a right tizz before he started & there really was no need
Yes! thank you so much for understanding where I have been coming from thanks I was really panicking about this - but now I think it is almost certainly going to be okay smile

Likeaninjanow Thu 20-Oct-11 08:51:59

That's great greenbananas smile. Really pleased it went well.

freefrommum Thu 20-Oct-11 08:52:42

That's great greenbananas. It makes such a difference when you speak to people who really seem to understand and are keen to take everything you say on board. I felt exactly the same when DS started nursery (allergic to wheat, milk, eggs, nuts) but it was absolutely fine. I also felt the same this year when he started school and got myself all worked up all over again convincing myself that they wouldn't take me seriously etc but the staff have been great. My biggest fear was that they would say 'it's fine, we've had children with nut allergies before' whereas it's fairly easy to keep nuts out of the classroom but impossible to keep wheat, milk and eggs out! Thankfully, that wasn't the case. The staff were very keen to talk to me about DS's allergies and how to manage them and were very open about the fact that they'd never dealt with allergies like his before (only nuts). I'm still quite nervous and check my phone a hundred times a day, especially on the days he has school dinners, but so far so good. I hope it all goes well for your DS too. Have to say, that I would be extremely surprised if any nursery refused to allow an allergic child to bring their own snacks - that would probably consitute discrimination. Let us know how he gets on (and how you are coping with the worry!).

ChocaMum Thu 20-Oct-11 20:34:13

That's great news! So happy to hear you feel confident in the staff, it makes a huge difference having a good chat. Keep us posted and hope you're doing ok, it is hard putting trust into others when it comes to our LO's with allergies.

Clara35 Thu 20-Oct-11 21:43:39

greenbananas I'm so glad you can relax a little bit now. Good luck for your ds starting. I'm sure he will have a great time!

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