Leaving your child with a babysitter or childminder when they have serious allergies is worrying. Finding the right person can be difficult, not every babysitter or nanny will have the right skills to care for a child with allergies. It’s important to make sure that they will know the importance of avoiding allergens and that they will be able to handle any emergencies. These questions can help you figure out if you have found the right one.
Do you have any experience caring for a child with severe allergies or other health problems?
If the candidate has previous experience caring for a child with a health condition, they may be better at giving medications and dealing calmly with medical emergencies.
If they have not looked after any kids with medical conditions, ask about other emergencies they have dealt with. They will have to learn how to manage your child’s allergies so if the are level headed in an emergency then they may still be the right candidate.
My child has an allergy management plan and anaphylaxis action plan. How would you ensure that the plans are followed?
Following plans and instructions is important for all babysitters. Ask them for examples on how they make sure that no details are overlooked and how they stay organised.
Have you ever seen a severe allergic reaction? Do you know the symptoms and signs to look out for?
If they have, ask them to explain what they saw, how they responded and how they managed it. Look out for signs that they responded calmly and quickly. If they haven’t ever seen a severe allergic reaction but can describe the symptoms, this can be used as a base to teach them what to do.
Have you ever used an adrenaline auto injector?
Most babysitters and childminders won’t have used one and probably haven’t been trained to use one. It’s important here that they are willing to learn how to use it and to take on the responsibility of using it in case of emergency. training can be accomplished using a trainer pen.
Can you tell me about a time that you spoke up about a child’s needs?
In this case, it’s important to get a feeling that they are comfortable speaking up, asking questions and giving instructions. This is especially important if they will be bringing your child out to social events and restaurants to make sure that the food your child is eating is safe.
The most important thing is that you trust your instincts. It’s unlikely that you will find someone who has lots of experience and training in looking after kids with allergies. These questions will help communicate your needs and expectations, and find out if they are responsible, dependable and willing to learn.
You can help support your babysitter/childminder by making sure that they have the tools necessary to enable them to help in case of emergency. This means training them properly on how to avoid contact with the allergen, to recognise the symptoms of an allergic reaction, and to use the adrenaline auto-injector. Our Anaphylaxis Emergency Response (AER) Case contains information guides on how to recognise the symptoms and a step by step guide on how to use the auto injector. Having this information on display if they need to use the adrenaline can be life saving.
Image Credit: Flickr/Jean Tessier
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Allergy Lifestyle Limited (t/a) Allergy Lifestyle) uses reasonable endeavours to check the accuracy of information provided however no warranty is given that they are error-free.