Child care & preschool
It can be an emotional time when your child with cystic fibrosis starts at child care or preschool. For many parents it is the first time that they have entrusted their child’s care to someone outside of the family. Some children also deal better than others with the changes that childcare brings. It can be an emotional and anxious time for everyone.
Some of the main worries that parents have are the risk of their child becoming infected and who will look after giving their child Creon?
A good approach to communicating your concerns can be to meet with staff from your child’s centre or preschool. These meetings are a useful opportunity for the staff to learn about CF and what it means for your child. You can also discuss ways that the staff can work together with you to help manage your child’s CF while they are attending the centre.
Avoiding infection is one of the main parental concerns. Illnesses like coughs and colds are unfortunately common in child care and preschool. Your child, like all of their classmates, is likely to pick up some of the bugs and illnesses that go around. The risk can be lessened through simple but effective infection control procedures, such as hand washing, using hand sanitising gels, opening windows where possible, and asking staff to keep other children with coughs and colds separate from your child.
As well as the risk of illness, there is the chance that the environment and activities at the centre could expose your child to bacteria and fungi. The centre should take care to ensure that only fresh, clean water is used in water play, and that stagnant water is not left to accumulate in play equipment. You also may want to talk with the centre staff about whether you are comfortable for your child to participate in activities such as digging in soil, playing in sand pits and playing with mud.
Even though your child may be at ease with taking Creon, the centre’s staff may feel anxious about giving it to them if they haven’t been used to giving children medication. Talk with your centre’s staff about how to manage giving Creon, and don’t forget to talk them through different scenarios, such as what to when your child has been given a dose of Creon but then doesn’t want to eat their food.
CF Community Care members can contact our Programs and Support Services team for advice and support when speaking with child care staff and preschool educators. In NSW email firstname.lastname@example.org and in Victoria email@example.com.
For more information
- Questions to consider when choosing a childcare/kindergarten: for parents (CF Community Care)
- Student health support plan (CFSmart)
- Sample letter to parents about reducing the spread of germs (CFSmart)
- Cross-infection at school (CF Western Australia)
- Infection control in schools (CF Western Australia)
- CF summary for primary school teachers and relief teachers (CFSmart)
- Starting school with CF fact sheet (CF Western Australia)
- Starting school with CF booklet (CF Western Australia)
- A guide for preschool and school parents – PDF download (Cystic Fibrosis Trust UK)
- CFSmart (CF Community Care’s cystic fibrosis education program website)