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CMs: How do you manage when you have a child with allergies?

(9 Posts)
PumpkinJack Fri 26-Oct-12 21:39:50

DS, 16mths has allergies. CM fed him someone else's lunch, which contained (visibly) the things he is allergic to. Luckily his allergy is the non-IgE type (so not anaphylaxis) but he was awake the <whole> night and I ended up co-sleeping to comfort him. His dietician is furious (mentioned suing, which I have no intention of doing) as it has upset our food challenge plans (we were mid way through). I am obviously gutted too.

I accept accidents happen. However, I am concerned with her reaction to it. I feel she played it down, tried to imply he was poorly anyway with a cold/cough so may have been awake anyway and just generally wasn't as mortified as I expected.

I'd be interested in other CMs' opinions on this. He is so settled there, should I just let it go? I am struggling to, tbh! She is one of the most expensive in our area too and I just feel a bit surprised and upset that this happened. Perspectives appreciated.

LingDiLong Fri 26-Oct-12 21:47:06

I'm a fairly new childminder with no experience of dealing with allergies at the moment so not sure how helpful my reply will be. Whilst I understand mistakes can happen, her reaction is awful. I WOULD be mortified, apologetic and be finding a way to reassure you that it wouldn't happen again. If I had a child with allergies I would formulate an 'Allergy Policy' I think, where I would clearly lay out what I intended to do to ensure the child wasn't exposed to anything they weren't meant to be exposed to. Possibly having a dedicated cupboard/fridge shelf for their food, particular coloured plates/cutlery for them to prevent this kind of thing.

I wouldn't just 'let it go' if I were you, I'd want to know how she is going to prevent this in the future.

looneytune Fri 26-Oct-12 22:06:44

Agree with previous poster, I'd have been extremely upset with myself and very very apologetic to the parent if I ever made a mistake like this, her reaction is terrible!

greenbananas Fri 26-Oct-12 22:18:24

I'm a childminder and my own son has serious allergies. Your childminder has acted in an appalling way, and I think you need to do some serious complaining, both to her and to Ofsted. This is a safeguarding issue.

I appreciate that you have mixed feelings as your son is so settled there. However, if this had happened to my son, he would never be going back - she could have killed him. The original mistake is bad enough, but 'playing it down' afterwards is utterly unacceptable.

HSMM Sat 27-Oct-12 04:16:22

I care for children with allergies and I have their details highlighted in my daily register, to ensure I don't make that kind of 'mistake'. If I ever did, I would be the same as the posters above, mortified, apologetic, working with you to ensure my procedures were better in future.

PumpkinJack Sat 27-Oct-12 05:57:52

Thanks all. Not meaning to drip feed but when I worked out it had happenned and phoned her that evening she was very apologetic and embarrassed. It was just the next day, following him being in pain all night and me being awake, I guess I just expected a bit more acknowledgement of the whole incident.

I won't report her as she is good in all other ways and I don't imagine it has happenned before nor will it again. I'd hate her to lose her livelihood, she's really good (otherwise).

Don't know what I'm asking really, I just can't quite feel happy that it's resolved. I appreciate your views.

tiredfeet Sat 27-Oct-12 19:44:57

not a childminder, but I have a son with multiple allergies (some quite serious) and we use childcare (in our case a nursery). He hasn't had a single issue in all the time he's been there, and I think that is due to how seriously they take it and how thorough their procedures are. I get the point about him being settled but I think I would be needed some very thorough details about exactly how she will ensure it never happens again. I would also be tempted to ring round some other local childminders and make enquiries about how they would deal with a child with allergies, as you may find one that is much more geared up / knowledgable. Ds's nursery were so on the ball and experienced with allergies compared to every where else I rang

squinker45 Sat 27-Oct-12 19:48:26

I am a cm and when a child has serious allergies the allergen is not allowed in the house - and if it comes in by mistake (i.e current example: a parent who has chosen to provide food for their child puts peanut butter sandwich in) the allergen doesn't come out of the bag.

It is a safeguarding issue and if something is basically poison to a child in the setting then it is not a big deal to exclude that thing from everyone's diet whilst they are here.

Makes it simpler and mistakes don't occur - kids sitting next to each other will often eat each others food when you are not looking, especially under ones. The information is disseminated via a newsletter upon the parents permission for it to be so.

I would also be massively devastated if this had happened to me (if I had done this), but maybe she is and it just didn't come across like that as your expectations / perception of things may have been slightly skewed by the sleepless night/major inconvenience to yourself that she wasn't aware of?

PumpkinJack Sat 27-Oct-12 20:53:40

Thanks both. * tiredfeet* sorry to hear about your son's serious allergies. What a worry. I think I probably do need to have another conversation with her about it. squinker it certainly isn't taken as seriously as that. He has multiple (connected, foods from same family) allergies and when I pointed out what he'd eaten I could tell she had forgotton he was even allergic to this! I felt she had decided to play it down and I guess I can understand why too. sad

I think part of her appeal is she's laid back and relaxed and really more like an auntie or family friend to the children. This is obviously the downside of a more familiar and less professional manner.

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