Food allergy management in Early Childhood Education and Care Services in Australia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health




School of Medical and Health Sciences




Hua, T., Sambell, R., Wallace, R., Vale, S., & Devine, A. (2019). Food allergy management in Early Childhood Education and Care Services in Australia. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 56(3) 394 - 399. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.14633


Aim: To assess Australian Early Childhood Education and Care Services (ECEC) staff on their preparedness to manage children with food allergy (FA) and anaphylaxis. Methods: An online survey addressing training, knowledge, skills and staff confidence to manage FA and anaphylaxis was emailed to 5956 ECEC services nationally (excluding Western Australia, where this survey had been previously implemented); 494 surveys were completed and analysed. Results: One in 10 (9.5%) ECEC services did not require staff to undertake anaphylaxis training, indicating non-compliance with current legislation. Staff felt confident in managing FA and anaphylaxis, regardless of their level of training. Against recommendations, 37% of participating ECEC services stored adrenaline autoinjectors (AAI) in a locked location. Only 51.4% of ECEC services reported having an AAI trainer device. Victoria reported the highest level of anaphylaxis management training (P < 0.05), and staff were significantly less likely to store their AAI devices in a locked location compared to New South Wales and Queensland (P < 0.001). New South Wales and Queensland had a significantly lower proportion of services with AAI training devices than Victoria (P < 0.001). Conclusions: ECEC staff self-reported high levels of training, knowledge, skills and confidence in FA and anaphylaxis management. However, we identified gaps in staff knowledge and skills, particularly in how to correctly store and administer an AAI device. Compliance with appropriate FA and anaphylaxis policies and emergency response plans need to be prioritised. © 2019 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians)



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