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Questions to Ask About Germs continued...

What's the policy on sick kids?

No parents want their child playing next to a child with a fever, pinkeye, or the flu. At the same time, if you have a busy day at work, can you afford to stay home because your child has a cough?

Policies on when sick children should stay home differ among daycare centers. According to joint recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, a child should temporarily be kept out of daycare for any of the following:

  • A fever above 101° F (checked orally) accompanied by behavior change or other symptoms (sore throat, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Diarrhea that can't be contained in a diaper or that makes a toilet-trained child incontinent
  • Vomiting more than two times in a 24-hour period

Some centers may be more or less lenient than others. While some may not even allow a child who is sneezing to attend, others allow many types of sick kids but separate them in a different room.

But if a child is isolated because of not feeling great, that child should also be given attention and not be left alone or ignored.

Know the Policies

Most centers ask parents to sign a form that explains the center's policy for sick kids, and the policy is also posted. But some parents claim they are unaware of the policy when it's their child that is sick.

It's important to find out what the written policy of the center is regarding the issues you care about. Then there's no confusion.

Often daycare workers get frustrated with parents who dose their sick kids with medicine and drop them off at daycare. Center workers say they see the most fevers after nap time, says Richter, because typically that's when the medication wears off.

In the battle against germs, you need to keep in mind that there's a limit to how much germ protection you can provide. There are some things parents just can't control. It's a fact, your child's going to get ill at some point whether in a daycare center or not. That's part of the normal process of growing up.

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