When To Keep Your Child Home From Daycare

It happens.  Kids have impeccable timing.  They get sick on the one day this week that you have that big meeting with the head of the company.  And the question goes through your mind: Are they too sick for daycare?  Or will they be alright if I take them anyway?

Your daycare likely has a sick child policy.  Pull it out and take a closer look at it.  But here are a few situations that are pretty common across the board:

  • a fever higher than 100F
  • a nose running with mucus that’s not clear
  • any unexplained or contagious rash
  • constant coughing or wheezing that isn’t controlled with an inhaler
  • vomiting or diarrhea within the last 12-24 hours
  • anything that impedes your child’s participation in the program, unless approved by the provider (lethargy, injury, etc)
  • and of course, any other reason specified in your daycare’s handbook (eg. lice)

Believe me, I know what it’s like to work at a job that doesn’t provide sick days and that doesn’t pay salary.  I know what it’s like to have to stay home when a huge project is due or when you need that day’s pay to make ends meet.

Here’s the thing though – keeping your child home for that one day is much better than passing that sickness around the daycare (meaning your child will be exposed to it again and again), and possibly even making your daycare provider sick.  If your child goes to a home daycare, that means that your daycare provider may even have to close the daycare.  Both of those scenarios may result in you needing to take even more days off of work.  So it’s worth it to keep your child home when they’re sick.

Now you may be thinking this: if I give my child Tylenol, it’ll bring down his fever for a few hours.  I can drop him off at daycare, run into the office, get the important things done, and take him back home when the Tylenol wears off.

Tylenol is an amazing thing, but it can’t take away the contagiousness of a sickness.  Even if your child’s symptoms are masked, they can still pass the germs onto the others around them.  In which case, you’re back to possibly having to take even more days off.  And most children prefer to be at home, on their own couch with their own stuffies and blankets when they’re under the weather anyway.

When in doubt, call your daycare as soon as possible and ask about your situation.

What do you do when your children are sick and need to stay home from daycare or school?

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