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where do school keep your child's inhalers?

(81 Posts)
KatyPutTheCuttleOn Thu 26-Sep-13 22:22:44

If you have a child who needs an inhaler, where is kept?

To my mind it needs to be near the child at all times, however the school policy states that the inhalers are kept in a locked cupboard in the office. All staff have the key to the cupboard but if nobody is in the office then it is locked.

ClutchingPearls Fri 27-Sep-13 09:25:16

We have inhalers and emergency steroids in a top cupboard in the classroom.

They then follow the class around in a bag with the other childrens meds. So the bag is taken into assembly/music/lunch hall and the playground. The reason being that they are a small school who can't rely on an extra member of staff being in reception or wandering by that can run and get them if needed.

They assure me in the 8 years of doing it, no child has got their hands on them or they have been misplaced. It seems to work really well.

MidniteScribbler Fri 27-Sep-13 11:33:56

In a bum bag in the top drawer of my desk (along with any epi-pens or any other relevant items). If the class leaves the room, the supervising teacher (whether it be myself, music teacher, pe teacher, etc) takes the bag.

We also have a set of bumbags for each teacher on playground duty with the required items for children who are using that area. Teachers on playground duty take the appropriate bumbag depending on which area they are assigned to. This started when we had a student with a bee sting allergy, and then just became best practice for us for all students who may need medication urgently.

And if all else fails, we have another backup in a cupboard in the first aid room.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Fri 27-Sep-13 20:19:01

I emailed one of the schools and cut and pasted the relevant part of the Asthma UK guidelines from schools and explained my concerns and then attached the whole document. I got an email back within two hours agreeing that he could carry his inhaler with him all the time and have a spare in the classroom and office smile
I will ask the other school next week.

SuperiorCat Fri 27-Sep-13 20:22:13

Each child needing medication has it in a named clear plastic bag. The bags are in a plastic box with a list of each child and their medication.

The box is kept in the classroom, but goes with the class to the hall / outside for PE and on school trips.

DD has sometimes needed her inhaler in PE and I am glad that it is to hand rather than someone having to go back to the classroom / office to go get it.

chickydoo Fri 27-Sep-13 20:24:27

DS has one in his desk, one in bag & a spare in office. His asthma is bad

PeppermintCreamsSaga Fri 27-Sep-13 22:21:53

I think in DS's school they are kept in the classroom somewhere. (He doesn't need any medication so not sure) I know when they are out of the classroom (like sports day) they are kept in a red gym bag that the teacher looks after. (The school PE bags are blue so it's obviously different) On school trips the medicines for his classmates are given to the adult in charge of their group, in a red gym bag.

My friends DD (different school) wears a bum bag during play time with her asthma pump in it.

louby44 Fri 27-Sep-13 22:50:17

In the classroom on a high shelf in a box with child's photo and care plan! We have regular staff updates regarding asthma from our school nurse.

Our county told us if the child hadn't got an inhaler in school and they had an asthma attack we were NOT allowed to let them use another inhaler (we previously had a spare inhaler/spacer that was kept centrally). I openly said and continue to say 'fuck that, I'm an asthmatic and if a child in my class is having an asthma attack I will give them my soddin' inhaler' . What is the alternative.. let them die or let the parents sue me??

Bloody stupid blame/sue culture!!

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Fri 27-Sep-13 22:56:06

That's ridiculous louby blue inhalers are all the same aren't they? Ffs dds friend has borrowed her inhaler. Wouldn't dream of saying no when the alternative is so serious.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Fri 27-Sep-13 22:57:30

And surely people would be far more likely to sue if people stood around and did nothing .

weblette Fri 27-Sep-13 23:03:10

Ds carries one in a clear pencil case marked with his name/form plus the school's matron has one too.

TheBuskersDog Fri 27-Sep-13 23:07:14

The only alternative you have is to call an ambulance.

Not such a big deal with an inhaler maybe because they are multi-dose, but imagine the situation with an epipen.

Child A is prescribed an epipen but for some reason parents have not brought one in to school. They show signs of anaphylaxis but you find no epipen, however there is one for child B so you decide to give that.
Then child B starts to display symptoms but their epipen has been used on another child, try explaining that to child B's parents.

An unlikely scenario I know, but that is why you can only give a child drugs that are prescibed for them

TheBuskersDog Fri 27-Sep-13 23:07:42


MidniteScribbler Sat 28-Sep-13 01:38:15

Child A is prescribed an epipen but for some reason parents have not brought one in to school.

The child would not be allowed in school here if there were no medication available. We require three per child (1 for classroom, 1 for lunch duty, 1 back up in first aid room). All medication is checked weekly for any damage/leakage/expiration dates and the parents advised that they must replace immediately. If we do not have the appropriate medication for a child, they will not be allowed in school until the parents supply it. It's not a risk we are willing to take. Fortunately, parents all understand this and are good about replacing it. Most make a note of the expiration dates themselves and will bring in a replacement before we can ask.

Sirzy Sat 28-Sep-13 08:06:35

Midnite what a fantastically organised school!

mrz Sat 28-Sep-13 08:43:07

The age at which children are ready to take care of and be responsible for their own medication varies. Children in school should be encouraged to participate in decisions about their medication and supported to take responsibility for their own medication whenever possible. Following risk assessment they may either keep medication securely on themselves, or in lockable facilities.
3.2 Decisions about the level of supervision required and the custody of medication should be documented and receive parental consent. The school may ask the school nurse or prescriber to assess a child if medication is to be self-administered.
The risk assessment should take into account the safety of other children.

4.1 Medication, when not in use, should generally be stored in a safe and secure place.
This will normally be a locked cupboard or a locked non-portable container in a cool place. The medication must be accessible to the appropriate members of staff at all times. However there are some important exceptions:
• All emergency medication must be stored safely but must also be readily accessible at all times, i.e. not locked in a cupboard.
• Asthma “reliever” inhalers must be readily available at all times, including prior to and during exercise. Whenever possible children should be responsible for their own inhalers, but when this is not possible the inhaler should be kept in an easily accessible place e.g. on the teacher’s desk. The need for a child to have ready access to their inhaler should override any concerns about misuse by others.

Before administering medication the member of staff should check
• the child’s identity
• that there is written consent from a parent/carer
• that the medication name and strength and dose instructions match the details on the consent form
that the name on the medication label is that of the child being given the medication
• that the medication to be given is in date
• that the child has not already been given the medication
5.7 If there are any concerns about giving a medication to a child, then the member of staff must not administer the medication but should check with the parent/carer or a health professional, documenting any action taken.

SerialStudent Sat 28-Sep-13 08:44:25

We adopt a belts and braces approach to inhalers here:

1 in bookbag (blue)
1 with class teacher (blue)
1 in sports bag (blue)
2 with office staff (-brown and a blue - with written instructions that my DS has to go into office at lunchtimes to use the brown one on the occasions he has a chest infection etc when we need to up his steroids)

I also keep one in each car and one in my handbag at all times.

I think I've covered all angles grin.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Sat 28-Sep-13 08:45:36

You could open your own pharmacy smile

Sirzy Sat 28-Sep-13 08:47:53

I am torn on the giving someone elses inhaler, I can understand why they can't but also think that with inhalers there should be a bit more leeway. I know there was a campaign that every school had a ventolin inhaler which could be used in case of one not working or not being found in school.

The need for a child to have ready access to their inhaler should override any concerns about misuse by others.

I think that is the key thing here, and one that will hopefully help the OP. Reliever inahlers are different to most other medication in as much as it is about as 'safe' as a medicine can be but delay in use can cost lives.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sat 28-Sep-13 10:50:05

I can also see why schools can't give another inhaler, however I'd happily sign a consent form for other children to be given my child's inhaler and would sign a consent form for my child to be given another child's inhaler.
We always have two in school so IMO it's not an issue providing that consent is given.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sat 28-Sep-13 10:51:17

Serial we are the same with inhalers - book bag, bedside table, one in each sports bag, one in my handbag. I keep on in the car in the warmer months but not in winter, I don't suppose having a freezing cold inhaler dose straight into his lungs would be of much use!

insancerre Sat 28-Sep-13 11:01:49

after the case where the child died at school after an asthma attack I thought the advice had changed so that the medicine had to be accessible at all times
being in a locked cupboard doesn't even come anywhere near accessible
the medication should be wherever the child is

ihearsounds Sat 28-Sep-13 11:42:56

I cannot get my head around meds in a cupboard, sometimes locked, in the office. Not all classes have Ta's, so potentially a class of students is left alone, including the one having an asthma attack or allergic reaction, whilst the only adult runs to get the meds. Not all classrooms have phones, but even those with phones, you are still wasting time ringing, hoping someone is there to answer the phone, and for that person to get to the class.

I know exactly where meds are for certain students. THey are in a plastic grab bag, this follows the student around the school. When we go out, meds and medical card comes with us.

Back ups are in the nurses office.

No meds. No school that day. The nurse does a weekly check to make sure the meds are still good. When the back up is taken, she insists another is brought in the following day. No back up, no school that day.

MidniteScribbler Sat 28-Sep-13 12:05:40

Midnite what a fantastically organised school!

Thanks Sirzy. I love our school's approach to students with special needs and the care that is taken.

I am torn on the giving someone elses inhaler, I can understand why they can't but also think that with inhalers there should be a bit more leeway.

We have a "spare" inhaler in each of our kits. I'm not sure about the UK, but in Australia, an inhaler is over the counter medicine, anyone can buy one. Better to be safe than sorry, and if you have a child is having what appears to be an asthma attack which could be undiagnosed, I'd rather take the chance on administering the medication (which is almost no risk) whilst waiting for an ambulance, than sitting back and saying "nope, don't know" while a child struggles to breathe.

mrz Sat 28-Sep-13 13:19:21

Perhaps ihearsounds if you caught a group of 6 year olds passing round a child's inhaler the need to keep meds out of reach might make more sense.

ihearsounds Sat 28-Sep-13 13:57:07

Nope, still wouldn't make sense to me to keep meds like inhalers and epipens in a location that isn't immediate. Out of reach yes. But not in the immediate vacinity of the child, I would seriously question the persons logic who made such a ludicrous decision, and question them if they had a clue about asthma. Asthma is a serious condition, and you need access to an inhaler as soon as possible. Not well, I have to go to the office, unlock a cupboard, dig out the inhaler, lock the cupboard, and go back to a child who cannot breathe and who is now probably in distress because of the minutes taken to get the inhaler.

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