Food allergy readiness and anaphylaxis management in early childhood education and care in Western Australia
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Systems and Intervention Research Centre for Health
WITH THE INCREASE IN prevalence of food allergy (FA) in young children, early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers are likely to have more enrolments of children who are at risk of anaphylaxis. This study examines the status of FA management in ECEC, and assesses the services’ current readiness to prevent and manage FA. A cross-sectional study comprising an online survey with multiple-choice and open-ended questions was conducted with 53 long day care services in Western Australia. Among the respondents, 83 per cent of services had at least one child enrolled with FA, 96 per cent had an FA policy, and 91 per cent required staff to undertake anaphylaxis training. A high level of self-reported confidence and skills were demonstrated; however, gaps were identified in risk-minimisation knowledge, use of adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors and available resources. Extensive promotion of available resources will help improve compliance with anaphylaxis guidelines.