To skip school or skip work? When is your child too sick for day care?

sl stock sick child

Your daughter has green goo leaking from her nose. But you’ve got a deadline to meet. So do you admit defeat, beg your boss for an extension and stay home with the snot monster? Or do you do the day care drop ‘n bolt?

recent survey shows one in three parents admit to occasionally sending a sick child to school because they can’t arrange alternative care. And while we all know it’s the wrong thing to do, sometimes there is no other choice, especially for working parents, studying parents or those without family they can call last minute.
Many children will get sick an average of six or more times a year and families will cough up to $100 on each occasion to cover costs such as lost income, medical bills, medicines and lost childcare fees.

As any working parent knows, when sending your snotty child to school is a matter of losing or keeping your job, it can be a tough decision to make.

Australian Childcare Alliance president Gwynn Bridge says it is not uncommon for sick children to be deliberately left at centres.

“We have had parents tell us they can’t ring in sick again,” Ms Bridge says in the Herald Sun. “People are worried about their jobs. It’s a hard one for parents and we do empathise.”

The good news for parents that do sometimes make the ill drop ‘n dash is that Dr Claire McCarthy believes that “getting a few illnesses as a young child ends up being good for you in the long run”.

how sick too sick

But just how sick is too sick for school? The National Childcare Accreditation Centre lists the following as signs that your child has an infection and should not attend school, but should head straight to the family doctor instead.

  • Unusual behaviour – child is cranky, less active, clingy, crying more than usual
  • Feverish appearance
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Sore throat or difficulty in swallowing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Conjunctivitis or unusual spots or rashes
  • Frequent scratching at the scalp or skin
  • Patch of infected skin, grey or very pale faeces, unusually dark, tea-coloured urine, yellowish skin or eyes, severe, persistent or prolonged coughing, headache or stiff neck or trouble breathing.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have sent my daughter to school when she seemed like she might have been coming down with something. But I’ve also picked her up from school, expecting a dirty look from the educator, only to be told that she was fine all day.

I have also kept my daughter home from school because it seemed feverish only to watch her run around the house full of energy, even with a slightly hot forehead. It can be hard to tell what classifies as an illness and what doesn’t.

The bottom line? It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially with the recent warnings and epidemics involving whooping cough.

But, if on the rare occasion you’ve sneakily wiped the dribble of snot coming out of your child’s nose before arriving at the school gates or you’ve pretended it was you who coughed rather than your child when you walked through the day care door, know that you are not alone.

(via Herald Sun)


Subscribe to Babyology

Our email newsletters keep you up to date with what’s happening on Babyology.

We also have special newsletter-only offers and competitions that are exclusive to Babyology subscribers.

Sign up below:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Send this to a friend