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Allergies 101 for Your Sitter

Tiffany Smith
May 31, 2017

How to prepare your sitter to keep your child safe.

Children who have severe allergies will need extra-special attention. Make sure you hire a sitter who is mature enough to monitor your child's activities, and his meals. An inexperienced sitter, for example, might not know that some chili powders and mixes can contain peanut products or how to best avoid bee stings.

Education Time

  • If your child's allergy is food-related, start by making a list of foods he can and cannot eat.

[RELATED: "Food Allergies 101: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers"]

  • If the allergy is life-threatening, prepare meals and snacks ahead of time, or leave easy-to-make recipes and show the sitter where each ingredient is stored.
  • If the allergy is environmental, say, due to bee stings, tell your sitter if there are any limitations to your child's activities.
  • If your child is allergic to a medication, such as aspirin, make a list of drugs the sitter is and is not allowed to administer. (Some stomach discomfort or cold medicines, for example, contain aspirin.)
  • Show your sitter where you keep your child's medication. If your child has an epinephrine (or "epi") pen, teach your sitter how to administer the shot.
  • List all warning signs that the child is having an allergic reaction and clearly specify how to respond to each one.

Your child will be much safer if your sitter is prepared for the worst-case scenario. Make sure she has access to your child's medications, as well as contact information for all healthcare providers.

For additional helpful tips, check out: The Food Allergy & Anaphlyaxis Network (FAAN)

Tiffany Smith has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite. 

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