For parents of children with food allergies, finding free time can be tough. But finding a caregiver we feel confident leaving our children with can feel like mission impossible. That’s exactly why our Allergy-Aware Babysitter Series was born. Because capable, local help does exist. And allergy parents deserve a night out too. Read our first post in this series.
Date night? What’s that?
If the thought of leaving your food-allergic child with a caregiver who is not a direct family member fills you with anxiety, you’re not alone. It can be tough to trust another person to keep our precious little ones safe.
Luckily, there are sitters who are schooled in the world of food allergies—and we’ve got a bunch of them in Toronto. Meet 4 of these capable caregivers below…
1. Alex (Human Resources, Manulife)
- Age: 27
- Years of Experience: 13
- Rate: $15 / hour
Over the years, Alex has cared for children with a variety of different allergies. Currently in her care is a little girl with anaphylactic allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. Alex first learned about food allergies while working as a lifeguard and camp counsellor, and from parents of children with food allergies themselves. While she hasn’t had to use an EpiPen to date, Alex has received training on more than one occasion and understands that in the case of a severe reaction, epinephrine should always be administered first.
Alex recently completed AllergyAware.ca’s online food allergy course for caregivers.
2. Farima (Montessori Teacher)
- Age: 55
- Years of Experience: 29
- Rate: $18.50 / hour
As the mom of 2 daughters with dairy allergies, it’s safe to say that Farima is capable of caring for food-allergic children. This allergy mama knows firsthand what it’s like to have to convince doctors of the seriousness of her child’s symptoms, and also knows that a food allergy can develop or worsen over time. In addition to caring for her own girls, Farima has also had children with allergies to nuts, sesame and kiwi in her care. Although she hasn’t had to use it, Farima has been trained on how to use an EpiPen and self-carries for her own non-food allergy.
Farima recently completed AllergyAware.ca’s online food allergy course for caregivers.
3. Ivana (Student, York University)
- Age: 23
- Years of Experience: 11
- Rate: $16 / hour
Ivana has cared for children with a number of different food allergies—to peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, gluten and even black pepper. In addition to being trained on how to use an EpiPen, Ivana also collected useful tips on how to prevent an allergic reaction during her Red Cross babysitting course. From keeping a detailed list of foods to avoid, to making sure she has easy access to a child’s home address in the event she does have to call 9-1-1, Ivana’s course notes are a helpful reference when babysitting children with food allergies.
4. Jasmine (Early Childhood Educator)
- Age: 26
- Years of Experience: 7
- Rate: $20 / hour
As an Early Childhood Educator, Jasmine has received both First Aid training and extensive practice caring for children with food allergies. In fact, one of the students in her classroom this year is allergic to tree nuts, eggs, shell fish, mustard and face paint. Jasmine understands the seriousness that accompanies the added responsibility of caring for a food-allergic child, and makes it a priority to keep the environment safe, by remaining mindful and being extra careful when handling foods or feeding this particular child.
Jasmine recently completed Fare’s online course for recognizing and responding to anaphylaxis.
If you’ve been dreaming of the day you could go out again (but haven’t found a sitter you’d trust with your food-allergic kids), you may want to consider joining Datenight Babysitting for access to these allergy aware sitters and many others like them. For a limited time, get your first month free with promo code ALLERGYBITES. Sign up now.
Still feeling nervous? Datenight’s list of standard interview questions is a great starting point for finding out if a particular sitter is a good fit for your family. And you’re going to want to print and post this amazing resource for allergies families on to your fridge.
Have you had an amazing experience with a sitter? Share it with us in the comments below!
Friendly. Supportive. Encouraging.
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