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. Objective 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. Conclusion 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