Simon’s story: daughter refused nursery place because of her allergy

Today’s allergy parent sharing their story is Simon, whose 9-month-old daughter (M) has a severe dairy allergy, discovered after she had an anaphylactic reaction when aged just 3 months. Simon’s wife is nearing the end of her maternity leave. The family believed they had their child care arrangements in place with a local nursery. At the 11th hour, the nursery has refused M a place, on account of her allergy. Here Simon explains what has happened…  

In May last year our beautiful daughter M was born. 14 weeks later she suffered an anaphylactic reaction to formula milk, an ambulance was called and she made a recovery but after a series of tests it was confirmed she was severely allergic to dairy. If you have a cup of tea and give her a kiss she will come out in a rash, but if she ingests any dairy there is a good chance she will go into anaphylactic shock. She now has an EpiPen, should this happen again.

We were concerned about my wife going back to work and leaving M at a nursery and after searching, we settled on a nursery in Ashby de la Zouch. After 3 visits they put our minds at ease that they could deal with M’s allergy, no problem. They told us of other children they had at the nursery with EpiPens and peanut allergies. We heard that all staff were trained in using EpiPens and about the various safeguards they had in place, for example using different coloured plates and bowls for allergic children. So we signed her up as there was a long waiting list and paid our deposit, with the intention of her starting in May. We signed all their registration forms with details of her medical requirements clearly stating that she had a severe dairy allergy.

In early January, my wife considered integrating M at the nursery earlier, perhaps an afternoon a week, building up to a day a week so she could go back to work early. After my wife again visited the nursery she was told no problem, although we may now have to provide M’s food. After some initial disappointment we agreed, thinking this would be the best thing for her. Just before M was due to start last week, the nursery asked my wife to come in for a chat about M starting. My wife was confronted by the owner and 2 managers of the nursery and was told, even though M had been registered since August 2013, they were no longer willing to accept her at the nursery due to her dairy allergy and they couldn’t guarantee her safety “due to the milky nature of the baby room”. My wife was gob smacked and then they threatened to call their lawyer in, to which my wife walked out and called me in tears.

The nursery have since told me that, although they care for other children with allergies and disabilities, they cannot look after our daughter.

We’ve been left in the lurch. Had we known this last August, we could have made alternative arrangements. Now we are struggling to find a nursery with the skills and availability to look after M. The many places we have called, including one on one care, have said if we had called last September they could have helped us but now is too late. My wife will now struggle to be able to go back to work on time.

We are currently considering our options and are pursuing this matter with the nursery. However, I wondered whether any of your readers have been through a similar situation and if they have any advice?

Thank you Simon for sharing this. That must have been extremely upsetting, not  to mention stressful to have to now make new childcare arrangements at the last minute. So, nut mums: has anyone else experienced a similar situation with a nursery? What did you do? How was the situation resolved?




  1. Sorry to hear about your difficulties. You could consider using a nanny or childminder. This would also limit the risks at a nursery of temporary staff not being fully informed about allergies (although they should have procedures in place to ensure this). It would also limit the number of other milk drinking children she was in contact with. Obviously as she gets older, you would probably want her to socialise more, but personally I don’t think this is that important when they’re very little.

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