Food Allergies in Infant Daycare: What Parents Need to Know

Food Allergies in Infant Daycare: What Parents Need to Know

Food allergies have become increasingly common in recent years, and infants are no exception. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food allergies affect up to 10% of children under the age of 18.

If your infant has a food allergy, you may be wondering how to keep them safe in infant daycare San Diego  The good news is that there are a number of things that daycare providers can do to prevent allergic reactions. However, it’s important for you to be aware of your rights and to work with the daycare provider to develop a plan to keep your child safe.

What are food allergies?

A food allergy is an abnormal immune response to a specific food. When a person with a food allergy eats the food allergen, their immune system produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies attach to the food allergen and trigger the release of histamine and other chemicals. These chemicals cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of food allergies

The symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe. Mild reactions may include skin rashes, hives, and itching. More severe reactions can include swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat; difficulty breathing; and wheezing. In the most severe cases, a food allergy can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

Food allergies in infants

Infants can be allergic to a variety of foods, but the most common allergens include milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Allergic reactions in infants can be particularly dangerous because they may not be able to communicate their symptoms.

Preventing food allergies in daycare

The best way to prevent food allergies in daycare is to avoid exposure to the food allergen. This means that daycare providers need to be aware of the food allergies of the children in their care and take steps to prevent cross-contamination.

Here are some things that daycare providers can do to prevent food allergies:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after preparing food.
  • Use separate utensils and cutting boards for preparing food for children with food allergies.
  • Clean all food preparation surfaces thoroughly after use.
  • Store food allergens separately from other foods.
  • Label all foods clearly.
  • Educate staff about food allergies and how to prevent allergic reactions.

What parents can do

If your infant has a food allergy, it’s important to work with the daycare provider to develop a plan to keep them safe. Here are some things you can do:

  • Provide the daycare provider with a list of your child’s food allergies.
  • Give the daycare provider a copy of your child’s food allergy action plan.
  • Talk to the daycare provider about your child’s dietary needs.
  • Ask the daycare provider how they will prevent cross-contamination.
  • Be prepared to provide your child with safe food to eat at daycare.

Your rights as a parent

As a parent of a child with a food allergy, you have certain rights. In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects children with food allergies from discrimination in daycare and other educational settings.

The ADA requires daycare providers to make reasonable accommodations to meet the needs of children with food allergies. This may include providing safe food options, modifying mealtimes, and educating staff about food allergies.

If you have any concerns about how your child’s food allergy is being managed in daycare, you should talk to the daycare provider. If you are not satisfied with their response, you can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

Tips for talking to your daycare provider about food allergies

Here are some tips for talking to your daycare provider about food allergies:

  • Be prepared. Before you talk to the daycare provider, take some time to think about what you want to say. Write down your child’s food allergies, their dietary needs, and any concerns you have.
  • Be clear and concise. When you talk to the daycare provider, be clear and concise about your child’s food allergies and their dietary needs. Explain the potential risks of an allergic reaction and the importance of preventing cross-contamination.
  • Be willing to work with the daycare provider. Most daycare providers are willing to work with parents to keep children with food allergies safe. Be willing to compromise and to work together to develop a plan that meets your child’s needs.


Food allergies can be a challenge for parents and daycare providers alike. However, by working together, parents and daycare providers can keep children with food allergies safe and allow them to participate fully in all daycare activities.