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 informationReduce 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.
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