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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:10 pm
Posts: 6
Hello - looking for some opinions on what is a realistic expectation for a provincially run drop-in program...

There is an early years drop in program in Ontario that my children started to attend - they do not go to daycare, but are home with my parents while we work. Thus, the outing for the winter months is exciting and would give both children a chance to meet and play with other kids - which they need.

However, the second time they went to this program, our daughter had an allergic reaction - not very serious, but still concerning. I know she did not eat any food - and was kept completely away from the 'snack' table. But the table was not kept clean (crumbs could be tracked anywhere) and there is no area for kids to wash their hands after eating (unless their parents make the effort to go down the hall to the bathroom - which we didn't see anyone do). So, she obviously come into contact with something from the toys. There are signs posted to prohibit peanuts/nuts and Tim Hortons products in the room, but one mother opened granola bars in the room on this day - so we are skeptical of whether that policy is enforced. Toys are sprayed to disinfect them, but my understanding is that this does nothing to get rid of any food residue on toys.

The program is only 1.5hrs and is drop-in - thus parents could feed their kids before or after they attend. We don't see the necessity for food to be allowed in this particular location since children do not wash their hands, the one food table is not kept clean, toys really aren't being 'cleaned' and nobody seems to enforce the clearly stated policies for nuts/peanuts.

Everyone i have spoken to says the granola bars were a mistake but 'I can't do anything, talk to my supervisor'. We have written a letter explaining our concerns - and expressing an interest in finding a solution to our conerns. We really aren't comfortable bringing our kids back to this program until we find a solution that will keep the environment as safe as it can be for our daughter, but in the meantime, she is missing out on a great opportunity to meet and play with friends. While her reaction wasn't severe this time - what about next time? or other kids with allergies? What about food allergies other than nuts/peanuts?

Although we can think of other solutions (mandating hand washing, cleaning toys better, saving 'snack' time to the end of the program...) we think no food is the ideal solution. We are aware that kids could eat before they come and still bring in food reside, etc, but we think the program has a responsibility to make their activities as safe as possible.

What do you think is an appropriate expectation at a drop-in program that is supposed to be designed to meet the needs of ALL children? Is wanting the program to be 'snack' free a realistic expectation for us to have?

Sorry this is so long!

_________________
daughter - 2008 - allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, tuna, milk & eggs (outgrew soy allergy)
son - 2010 - no known allergies
husband - no allergies
me - no allergies


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 398
First off, welcome to the forum. The people here are fantastic, understanding, knowledgeable, and supportive. They've been a huge help for me and I hope you'll find a lot of help here too!

As someone who encourages food-free children's activities, I don't think your request is unreasonable in any way. Kids don't need to eat all the time! Eating anything without washing first is unhygienic, especially in a kids play area where kids touch and lick everything - eeww... (I'm no germophobe... that's just gross.) For the health of everyone, either hand and table washing has to be enforced (and ugh, why aren't the parents doing this?) or the food has to go. I agree.

Best of luck, and I hope you can find a safe and social place for your daughter. She's lucky to have such a caring mother.

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:59 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
I'm sorry this happened and I'm dismayed by the behaviour of the staff!

Take a look at this thread about another Early Years Centre-feel free to hold it up to yours as a model of what can be done!!

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=6421&p=37114&hilit=Early+years#p37114

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Mom of two I,
Please read the thread link Susan posted. I am in Ottawa and it was regarding our early years here. The ministry did call me and write, early years ARE supposed to be nut/peanut 'aware' (we dislike the word free..lol).

They MUST minimize the risk for your child as it is a provincially funded program!!!

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:09 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:10 pm
Posts: 6
Thanks - I will read that link - and hopefully our dd will be back playing with friends soon...

_________________
daughter - 2008 - allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, tuna, milk & eggs (outgrew soy allergy)
son - 2010 - no known allergies
husband - no allergies
me - no allergies


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