Background: More than half of preschool-aged children are enrolled in child care in the United States. Roughly 8% of children between 3 and 5 years of age have a food allergy. Child care center workers (CCCWs) are important caregivers who frequently encounter food allergies, but little is known about their education and understanding of food allergy and anaphylaxis. Objectives: To perform a food allergy and anaphylaxis educational needs assessment, provide a training curriculum for CCCWs, and assess the effectiveness of the training curriculum. Methods: An online educational needs assessment and live training curriculum addressing food allergy recognition, treatment, and food labeling with pretests and posttests were created, and content and face validity were obtained. A needs assessment survey was sent to centers in Dallas and Tarrant counties. The training curriculum was performed at continuing education conferences. Results: Seventy-three workers responded to the needs assessment, with 46% reporting prior food allergy training. They reported information sources as parents (73%), self (54%), educational curricula (21%), and conferences (19%). Most believed they have a high or moderately high proficiency in food allergy management. Forty-five workers participated in the training curriculum. Total scores improved from 54% correct on the pretest to 83% correct on the posttest (P <.001). Categorical subanalysis reveals similar results, with statistically significant improvement in all areas. Conclusions: CCCWs have diverse educational backgrounds and infrequently experience standardized training about food allergies. There is a significant lack of knowledge regarding food allergies and anaphylaxis. The curriculum was successful at increasing food allergy knowledge among CCCWs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine