Gaps need closing for young children with allergies

Published:

An Edith Cowan University survey of Australian early childhood education centres has found worrying gaps in allergy management practices for children.

The new research, led by Professor Amanda Devine from ECU's School of Medical and Health Sciences, surveyed 494 centres across Australia (excluding WA) and found that:

  • Almost 40 per cent of Australian centres store EpiPens* in locked, hard-to-access locations.
  • Almost one in 10 centres do not require staff to undertake anaphylaxis training, in contravention of federal legislation.

Adrenaline (epinephrine) via an adrenaline autoinjector such as EpiPen, is the first line treatment for anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can result in death if not treated quickly.

Professor Devine said while the overall picture showed most centres had good practices in place, even small gaps warrant concern and attention.

"The overall picture is that most centres we surveyed have good practices in place, but there is certainly work to be done to make sure that all centres comply with appropriate policies to best protect children with food allergy, who are in their care," she said.

"When it comes to anaphylaxis every second counts, so it is vital that EpiPens are stored in locations that are easily accessible to staff, but out of reach of children, and that staff are trained in their use."

Dr Devine said it was important to note that the rapid rise in the number of Australian children that have food allergies posed a challenge for early childhood education centres.

"We know that 11 per cent of Australian infants have a food allergy, which is significantly higher than a decade ago," she said.

State by state
Victorian centres performed best in the survey, being significantly less likely to store EpiPens in locked locations compared to Queensland and New South Wales.

Queensland and New South Wales centres were also significantly less likely to provide anaphylaxis management training for their staff, compared to Victoria.

Informing national policy
National Allergy Strategy Manager Sandra Vale, who also contributed to the research, said the data showed there are gaps in the legislation governing food allergy management in the sector.

"The current requirement for staff who must undertake anaphylaxis training is inadequate and there is currently no requirement for food preparation staff to undertake food allergen management training," she said.

"Managing food allergies in this setting is not easy and early childhood education and care services need guidance and support to help them to put effective risk minimisation strategies in place.

"While EpiPens being stored in a locked location is concerning, what we really need to do is ensure that all staff are provided with good, evidence-based training around allergies and food handling so we can avoid the need to use EpiPens at all."

'Food Allergy Management in Early Childhood Education and Care Services in Australia' was published today (8 October) in Wiley.

 
Children Community Health & Wellness Science & Research University & TAFE
Social:   

Privately Submitted Article or Event :
See Above Article or Event for Address, Sunshine Coast Wide
Privately Submitted Article or Event
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
Australian Graduates finding their feet three years down the track. 08 October 2019 | The Social Research Centre has released the 2019 Graduate Outcomes Survey – Longitudinal (GOS-L) report as part of the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) suite of surveys.  More information...
Gaps need closing for young children with allergies 08 October 2019 | An Edith Cowan University survey of Australian early childhood education centres has found worrying gaps in allergy management practices for children. More information...
2019 Chain Reaction Women’s 300 Challenge a huge boost for sick kids 09 October 2019 | From 11-13 October 39 female business executives will cycle 350 kilometres in a bid to raise in excess of $350,000 for major charity partners AEIOU Foundation and the Mater Foundation. More information...
Sunshine Coast Leaders Honoured on International Day of the Senior 01 October 2019 | Sunshine Coast based community leaders have been honoured for their contribution to seniors today with awards to mark the International Day of the Senior. More information...
Make safe simple, this Safe Work month 30 September 2019 | Observed annually in October, National Safe Work Month is an initiative run by SafeWork Australia to spotlight the importance of work health and safety. As the leading workplace specialists for over 25,000 small... More information...
New research finds cancelling superannuation increase would not boost wages 16 September 2019 | The onus must lie on those pushing for a super freeze to prove beyond reasonable doubt that snatching a guaranteed remuneration boost from millions will result in an equivalent wage boost. We could not identify... More information...
Savvy buyers look to Hinterland for value 12 September 2019 | Developer QM Properties says an increasing number of families and first time buyers are living a 'bush to beach' lifestyle - choosing a home in the hinterland that gives them the best of both worlds. More information...
Coffee kings calls on blokes to break down barriers 12 September 2019 | Brisbane businessman and father Dean Merlo is urging Queensland blokes to reach out to their mates today in a step towards improving men’s mental health. More information...
Tiny marsupial not here for a long time, but here for a good time 06 September 2019 | Research from The University of Western Australia’s School of Biological Sciences, led by PhD graduate Dr Genevieve Hayes, has confirmed the extreme and unusual mating behaviour of the kaluta, Dasykaluta rosa... More information...
Industry Stunned as India Approves Mega Package to Support Sugar Exports 29 August 2019 | The Indian government today approved a contentious A$1.3 billion export subsidy of A$216/tonne to help its sugar industry export more than 6 million tonnes over the next year. More information...


comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service