Tara's Toyland Home Daycare

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A Sick Policy that makes sense

Posted by tarastoyland on July 7, 2016 at 8:00 PM

I let sick kids come to daycare. Fever? Just tell me when you dosed them up with and what you gave them. Rash? No problem. Pink Eye? Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease? Bring them. I do not care. The only thing I exclude for is vomiting and diarrhea. For those I am super strict because a child with those needs extra attention, I don't want to have to clean it up and they spread very quickly so sending a child home can keep others from getting it.  (I also spray bleach water on every surface in the house after a case of vomiting/diarrhea)  

I know this sick policy isn't for every parent. One time I was interviewing and it was going great until I got to explaining this and the parent stopped the interview, said that was a deal breaker and left. Like in half a minute, she was gone. I get it. Especially as a new parent, you feel like you want a "sterile" enviornment.

I am sure she was reassured by the next place she interviewed that they were strict on their sickness policy.  And they may have tried to be, but most daycare sick policies don't make much sense in reality, or aren't followed by the parents.  My classic example happened at a daycare center I worked at when I was right out of college.  I was in the 4 year old room and after lunch a boy asked me if it was noon.  I said it was almost and he pulled out a little purple child's chewable tylenol and said, "Mommy said to chew this at noon."  I took the pill from him and got the thermometer - he had a temp over 103 degrees!  The parents had done the "dope and drop" as we call it in the business.  They have an important meeting and can't stay home so they give Johnny a dose of motrin right before drop off, that gives them about 5 1/2 hours before it wears off, so that gets them to lunch time, if the teacher doesn't notice before the child goes down for nap then the parent gets another 2 hours of work in before they are called.  This gets them to at least 2:30 pm, almost a whole work day!  Meanwhile that child has been infecting everyone, been miserable and probably been reprimanded for various things that they did since they weren't feeling very good.  The parent is called, they keep the kid home one more day and then 2 days later half the class is sick with the same thing.

Another sick policy is excluding for rashes.  Before about 2000 the chicken pox vaccine was not in use so that was the most common rash.  And you had to keep the child home for up to 2 weeks while the sores healed and scabbed over.  The thing is that child was contagious for TEN DAYS BEFORE a single spot showed up.  I learned this when my first daycare girl had about 8 spots in her diaper region.  She was almost 2 years old as was my daughter.  Both of them had their first Chicken Pox shot 5 months earlier, but these sure looked like chicken pox.  I told her parents to give her a warm bath and if more popped up then we would know it was chicken pox.  Nothing more showed up, so we forgot about it for the most part.  Until exactly 10 days later when my daughter woke up from her afternoon nap with the same types of spots.  She had spent the morning playing in the pool with the other daycare kids, so they were all very exposed at that point.  More spots popped out as the hours passed.  She eventually ended up with about 75 spots in all.  Since everyone was exposed  by both the daycare girl and now my child there was no reason to keep them away.  No one else got them.   And if they had I would have let them come.

This is when it hit me that my home daycare sick policy would be different than most.

You would think that I would have lots of sick kids all the time but in reality my daycare seems to have less sickness than others.  And amazingly usually things don't spread.  There was ONE time in the last 16 years that pink eye spread.  And that time no one would have excluded the child who was the first case.  He looked like he had a bad allergy day, his eyes were puffy and irritated looking but not the whites of them, more of the outside facial part like his eyelids and the bags under his eyes.  That night, it was a Friday, his mom was feeding him and his brother dinner and she went to refill his milk cup.  When she came back both boys had red, goopy, extreme pink, eyes.  It was that fast.  By Saturday afternoon all 6 daycare boys had it!  Even if I had been strict it wouldn't have mattered.

That is what I have found to be true with most things.  Either it doesn't spread or it spreads in a way that it is obvious exclusion would not have mattered.

So, my parents bring sick kids.  And the best part is I know about it.  I can watch for an extra crabby attitude and know it's illness related so I react in kind.  I can keep the sick child away from babies.  We know to hand sanitize more often.  I know what to watch for in the rest of the group and I can tailor my day to accomidate the health needs of the group.  Parents don't need to miss work for a fever.  They don't lie to me, there is no need to hide a fever after all.  No reason to "dope and drop".  No trying to play doctor and say the fever is from "teething" or that the rash is "just mosquito bites" (in January, yep, I heard that when I worked in centers).  And if other kids get it?  Well, that's ok too, because they can come with it too.  

For Diarhea they have to stay home until they are 24 hours diarrhea free AND have had one solid bowel movement. For vomiting they need to be 24 hours vomit free AND hold down TWO (2) meals before they can return. I also do reserve the right to exclude for any thing I am deem they need to stay home for. In the past this has been a child doubled over in pain because of constipation, a child who's breathing was just really off and ragged, and a few other similar things.


Categories: Philosophies, Provider Insight, Day Care

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