From the Guide to the ABCs of Playdates and Allergies, a publication of Playgroups USA and The Clorox Company
Allergies can ruin a playdate. Here’s how to prepare for a playdate to make sure everybody can have a good time:
If you don’t know who in your playgroup has allergies, send out a quick e-mail asking whether anyone has:-- Any sensitivities to indoor allergens, like those from dust mites or pet dander-- Seasonal allergies (This is especially important if you plan to bring the kids outside.)-- Any allergies to a dog, cat, gerbil, snake, worms – whatever pets live in the hosting home-- Allergic asthma or any other health problems-- Food allergies-- Collect emergency contact information
Reduce the common indoor allergens in your home:• Look for products that are labeled to help reduce indoor allergens that live in the fabrics in your home.• Toss throw pillows, blankets and stuffed toys in a back room. Because allergens collect in fabrics, the fewer the better in the playroom.• Consider washing any fabric toys and blankets that need to stay for playtime with an anti-allergen bleach. Use as directed.• Vacuum and dust.• Remove candles, potpourri and plug-in air fresheners. They may smell great, but they may actually trigger similar allergic reactions.• To keep outdoor allergens outdoors, have children shed their shoes when they come in the door, and keep windows closed if any of the kids or parents has allergies.• Make sure bathrooms and other moist areas are well-ventilated. Help kill mold by using a bleachbased product registered for use against mold.• Move anything pet-related (litter boxes, pet beds, pet toys, etc.) out of the room, and make sure they’re not near air intake vents.• People with severe allergies may still be affected. Washing pets, or having them groomed, can reduce dander.
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Understand everyone’s food allergies and restrictions ahead of time:• Serve a simple snack. Plan the playdate at a time when you won’t have to serve a full meal.• Let caregivers know what the snack is ahead of time.• Don’t be offended if caregivers offer to pack a separate snack for their children.
The morning before everyone arrives, disinfect doorknobs, toilet seats, tabletops, and hard, nonporous plastic toys, as directed. It is also a good idea to do this after your guests leave for the day.• Wash hand towels and blankets with bleach made to work against allergens.• Make sure children wash their hands often – especially after coming in from outside, before eating and after using the bathroom.
For more information or to download the entire guide, visit www.PlaygroupsUSA.com