Family Opens Daycare For Children With Allergies

Mar 29

This sounds like a good idea, but to me, having our son in a daycare that is not centered around children with food allergies made him understand that his situation is special and not the norm. The children in the below story are well taken care of, I’m sure, but do you think that this could change the way they see other children?


(NEWS CENTER) — Food allergies affect more than three million children in this country. While it’s a condition that’s very common in kids, protecting them from reactions can often be very isolating.

One family in Bath decided to create their own safe place for their son to learn. At nine months old Charlie Strickland did what a lot of babies do. He grabbed a piece of cheese and put it to his mouth. But for his mother it turned into a scary moment.

“He blew up into hives, his face swelled, his eyes swelled, he got red itchy hives all over his face,” said Linda Strickland.

Charlie, it turned out was allergic to dairy, eggs and peanuts. His mother eliminated anything that contained these items from his diet. As her son got older, the biggest challenge became going to public places.

“If he touches a surface that maybe yogurt was spilt on and not cleaned up, he’ll get hives on his hand. but if he puts his hand in his mouth there is a possibility he could into shock,” said Strickland.

That’s because Charlie suffers from Anaphylaxis. A serious allergic reaction that can result in death. For Charlie even the smallest amount of exposure can be fatal. The toddler wears a pouch containing medication called an ‘Epipen’ which is key to helping him survive a reaction.

The three year old wears gloves when he visits children’s museums, parks or even the library to prevent any exposure to his skin. When the family eats in public, his mom wipes down the surfaces, uses a tablecloth and placemat.

Strickland didn’t believe she could find a pre-school where Charlie would be completely safe, so she started one in the basement of this church. No food is allowed at the pre-school. The children and parents avoid eating foods charlie is allergic to. They also wash and disinfect their hands. Nellie Clifford’s son Evan attends the pre-school.

“We don’t eat any dairy, nuts or eggs before we come. We have something else for breakfast,” Clifford said..

“Why not just have it with regular kids who don’t have allergies and let them become aware of it and use it as a learning experience for them and they will all learn how to deal with it together,” Strickland said.

The family is also considering home schooling Charlie. But Strickland is also teaching her son how to look out for himself in public. ‘He always asks is it safe for me? or when he begins to read, making sure he reads the labels and teach him the words he needs to look out for,’ she said. The family says more awareness about fatal food allergies will encourage others to clean up after themselves in public. But Charlie’s mom also hopes other youngsters will become more accepting.

“There are a lot of kids with food allergies and it just becomes part of the daily routine so it’s not a strange think and he is not the weird kids that has allergies, it’s just part of the regular routine.”

A routine that doesn’t keep this little boy from having fun with his friends.

If you would like more information about the ‘Little Wonders’ Pre-school Co-op you can log onto their website at or you can email Strickland at or you can connect with other Moms who have kids with allergies click on Moms at the top of this page. | Portland, ME | Family Opens Daycare For Children With Allergies.