PURPOSE OF THE STUDY.
To ascertain the educational needs of child care center workers (CCCWs) in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex and to provide education covering topics critical to understanding food allergies and anaphylaxis.
CCCWs in 72 licensed child care centers in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.
The authors developed a needs assessment survey, which was used to develop a training curriculum, and a knowledge assessment was developed from the training curriculum.
Most of the respondents worked in large child care centers (>50 children), and 93% had at least 1 child with food allergies. Thirty-six percent of respondents reported that a food-related allergic reaction occurred at their center; use of epinephrine autoinjectors was low (9%), whereas the use of antihistamines was high (50%). Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported that none of the children with a food allergy at their center had an emergency action plan. Only 46% of CCCWs reported having prior training regarding food allergies. Training came from a variety of sources, mostly from the families of the food-allergic child but also from online resources. Most believed they had at least a moderately high proficiency in food allergy topics, but knowledge assessment scores indicated that 62% correctly answered questions related to food allergy understanding, 62% correctly recognized a reaction, and 51% understood the correct treatment of food allergy. The training curriculum resulted in significant improvements in knowledge in all categories.
CCCW training on food allergies is largely informal and is mostly obtained from families of allergic children. There is a need for formal, standardized education on food allergy for CCCWs. Training curriculums can improve knowledge, as demonstrated in this study, but the CCCWs’ preference for face-to-face learning and written materials are not practical for widespread dissemination.
These results demonstrate the need for allergists and pediatricians to continue to educate CCCWs on food allergies, particularly on the recognition of reactions and appropriate treatment. A standardized, online, interactive course would be ideal. Although this was not the preferred method of learning for these CCCWs, it is the most practical approach to disseminate the education to larger groups. Fifty percent of preschool-aged food-allergic children attend daycare, and they need to be safe. Pediatricians and allergists should keep this in mind as they counsel the parents of food-allergic patients.
- Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics