Statistics commonly indicate that nearly 10% of all American children have asthma, or some kind of asthmatic symptoms. It’s a hugely prevalent condition — and you would think that schools and daycare centers would be very much adept in dealing with it. But does your daycare center really know the score on asthma, and is the daycare staff prepared to deal with asthmatic episodes in your child, or any of the other children in their care?
Given the sheer number of children who do have asthma, this is an important question. Parents who have an asthmatic child definitely need to be sure that all bases are covered when their child is left at daycare. Staff need to be able to recognize the signs of an asthma attach when they see it, and administer proper care without wasting time or alarming the other children.
It’s also important that daycare staff understand the underlying causes that can trigger an asthma attack. These typically include secondhand smoke, dander and hair from pets, exhaust from automobiles, pollution in the air, dust mites, mold spores, smoke, and various types of chemicals — some of which may be present in skin products or perfumes. If staff are aware of asthmatic children in their care, and also have a good knowledge about what can trigger asthma attacks, that’s a good foundation to start from.
Medication, and in general how to respond to asthma attack, is obviously the next important thing that daycare staff need to be aware of. What type of asthma medication does the child have, and how does it differ from other medications. How does the child typically respond when there is an asthma attack, and how can a bond of trust be formed between the child and daycare staff, so that the child knows everything will be alright in case of an episode?
Another thing parents need to know is that daycare staff knows when, in the worst case scenario, it’s time to call 911. The symptoms of asthma include coughing, shortness of breath, sweating, shallow breathing, wheezing, being light-headed, having a tightness in the chest, and the inability to talk. Some children may have other symptoms as well.
Daycare staff should have a good idea of how and when symptoms should start to improve after the administration of medicine. If symptoms don’t seem to be improving after a certain time, it’s time to call 911 and seek emergency medical assistance. Even though this is a worst-case scenario, it’s a scenario that needs to be covered off and planned for. A good degree of trust between parents, children and daycare staff needs to exist.
Children’s medical daycare is a new type of daycare focused on children with special physical and developmental needs — and it provides a great example for other types of daycare because of its high standards of care and professionalism. With a licensed medical nurse on staff and always present, parents know their children’s special asthmatic needs will be understood and properly cared for throughout the day.