It is a fact of life that children in group care get sick. They have increased exposure to other children, and play closely with shared toys, in addition, children have lower resistance to germs than adults.
Unless you are willing to hire a nanny or stay at home yourself you can’t avoid illness entirely, however, there are some simple measures you can take to prevent your child from becoming sick and reduce the impact of the illness once it strikes.
The first decision you need to make when your child is ill is whether they are too sick to send to child care. Many children with a mild illness, such as a cold, can attend child care without causing harm to themselves or the other children.
However, you should always check your child care provider’s policy on illness before you send your child off to child care for the day. Many providers have clear policies on sick children which should be adhered to, a common example of this is: ‘If your child’s nose is running with green or yellow mucous they should be kept home’.
Nothing is more likely to cause friction between care providers and parents than when sick children are sent to care when they should be kept at home so make sure you are very familiar with the policy and stick to it!
It is sensible to have a sick day contingency plan ready for the day your child is too sick to send to child care. Read our article on Emergency Child Care for tips on how to manage this situation when it happens.
Make sure you are familiar with your child care provider’s policy on sick children and never pressure your provider to accept your child if they are ill. Remember, that it is the responsibility of the child care provider’s to maintain a healthy environment for all the other children, staff and families associated with the child care service and they can’t make exceptions.
Another good habit to get in to is to notify your child care provider about any illness that occurred the night before. Many children go to bed with mild symptoms and wake up perfectly healthy after a good night’s sleep. However, advising your service of any upsets the night before may make them more alert to any additional signs of sickness your child displays during the day.
While it is sometimes okay to send your child off to care with a cold there are many occasions when you should keep your little one at home.