There's nothing more distressing than dealing with your little one who's come down with something nasty. As parents, it's only normal that we feel helpless in a majority of these situations, and whilst we can take them to the doctors and ensure they're given all the rest and medical attention they need, there are still some other precautions we need to think about.
If your child attends a daycare centre, chances are they have a pretty strict policy about sickness. While you need to head into work and take care of your professional duties, sometimes there's just no room to move with leaving the kids in care when they're unwell.
So how exactly do you know when to keep them home or not? Generally if your child is experiencing the following symptoms, it's time to head to your local GP and away from your daycare centre:
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Undiagnosed rash, bumps or even sores
- Difficulty breathing
- Mucus that's green in colour from the nose, ears or throat
- A deep cough
- Parasites - e.g. lice or scabies.
Daycare policies around illness
Despite eliminating the risk of getting other kids in the vicinity sick as well, children just simply need their parents when they're not feeling good. Nothing cures things like a good, old hug from mum or dad, so sometimes keeping them at home goes beyond the principal of stopping germs from entering the daycare.
Additionally, children who are unwell need extra attention and staff at centres aren't always able to give this when they're juggling many other situations in the environment as well.
As for how long to keep them home for, it's a general rule of thumb to leave the kids out of daycare for 24 hours after any symptoms (like vomiting, diarrhea or a fever) have disappeared. Most of the causes of these symptoms are contagious, so it's always best to stay away if they're popping up. Obviously, if you're ever in doubt, make sure you get a once over from your family doctor - just in case.
Assess the symptoms
If you're still on the fence about what to do, ask yourself these questions to help you make a decision:
- Has your child had a fever over 37 in the last 24 hours, without taking painkillers?
- Has your child vomited in the last 24 hours?
- Has your child had diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
- Is there a rash present on any part of the body?
- Can you see lice or nits in your child's hair?
- Does your child have an itchy, crusty or red eye?
- Does your child have drainage seeping from their eye?
All of these are tell-tale signs they need to be kept out of the doors of daycare, and into bed. A bit of rest can go a long way, and will also make sure any germs are effectively kept out of the way of other children.