Almost 10% of children school-age and younger suffer from allergies. These allergies may worsen or completely diminish as children age, but often require special dietary constraints. Daycare centers must comply with these needs, as some allergies can be very severe or deadly.
Other times, dietary needs are preferential based upon parents’ wishes; or they can be optional or mandatory based upon religious and cultural beliefs. Daycares must also comply with these non-medical dietary needs.
Allowing a child who has allergies to come in contact with that food, or permitting a child to eat something they cannot is considered a negligent act. However, daycares must be aware of this condition or request to be held accountable.
Steps to Avoid Dietary Negligence
There are certain steps all parents can take to protect their children from exposure to certain foods they may not be allowed to, or physically cannot consume. When enrolling your child into child care, always discuss your child’s allergy with supervisors:
- Provide written notice of your child’s allergy and have it signed (and keep a copy for yourself).
- Tell your caregiver of the signs associated with your child’s allergic reaction and how sensitive your child is.
- Let the daycare know what to do should an accident occur; provide written instructions.
- If possible, leave a backup dose of allergy medication at the daycare.
- Provide helpful information about the allergy, including what common foods may contain the ingredient. Be sure to list any alternate names the food may be listed under on ingredient labels.
- Always give multiple emergency numbers should something happen.
Other Things to Consider
If your child has a non-medical food restriction, make sure you tell the daycare exactly what cannot be eaten. For instance, some vegetarian diets allow fish but not read meat; others only allow eggs and dairy, and no red meat, fish, or poultry. If you do not want your child to eat certain foods, be specific so nothing is assumed by your caregiver.
Most daycares understand cross-contamination, but it is often what causes allergic reactions. If a child is extremely allergic to peanuts, it would be beneficial that the daycare provider understands peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can come nowhere near your child’s food or the preparation of.
When looking into daycares, it may be beneficial to research those who cater to dietary needs. Some daycares avoid common allergens altogether due to the high risk and numbers of children with allergies. Frequently avoided foods include eggs, milk, peanuts, and shellfish. Additionally, some child care facilities provide a weekly menu, allowing parents to select what their children can and cannot eat the week prior to dining.
Daycares must accommodate children based upon dietary needs be they cultural, religious, or allergy-related. If your child has been harmed or hurt due to failure to provide special dietary needs, your daycare should be held accountable. Jenkins Utley, P.C. of Atlanta can help families pursuing cases against negligent daycare centers.
Contact Jenkins Utley, P.C.
Our lawyers are passionate about cases involving children; they should not be the victims of judgment calls made by a negligent adult. Your family and child have a right to recompense for any damages endured.
Jenkins Utley, P.C. will represent you and your family through all legal proceedings, investigation of claim, and settlement or trial. Don’t hesitate to contact us today, call (404) 919-7297.