Little one is sick, what do you do?

Guidelines for when your wee one should stay home

We’ve all heard it: “Mommy, I don’t feel good. Can’t we just stay home?”

For many parents, staying home isn’t an option. But it does pose the question of when is a child too sick for day care?

Sure-fire signs that you need to keep your child home from day care include:

  • Running a fever of more than 101 degrees
  • Being very sleepy (lethargic)
  • Vomiting
  • Having diarrhea

Other signs can include:

  • Sore throat
  • Skin rash that looks like red paint splattered on the skin
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

When is it safe to return to day care after an illness?

“There are two major factors when deciding if you child can return to day care,” said Dawn Courtenay, M.D., internal medicine/pediatrics physician with Norton Community Medical Group – Hurstbourne. “Is your child still contagious and can they physically keep up with their peers are things I ask parents to consider. Illnesses can be hard on our bodies and we need time to recover, even children. Getting plenty of rest is important to anyone’s recovery.”

Determining if your child is contagious depends on the illness, how long they have been symptom-free and, if medication was prescribed, when the medication was started.

“I typically recommend that children be free of their symptoms for 24 hours before returning to day care,” Dr. Courtenay said, “especially if they had a fever, diarrhea or vomiting.”

While these are general recommendations, be sure you know your day care center’s specific rules and policies regarding illnesses.


Does your child need care after the pediatrician’s office is closed?

Norton Children’s offers urgent care “Just for Kids” in Okolona at Norton Immediate Care Center – Preston. Norton Children’s After-Hours service is available until 9 p.m. seven days a week. Learn more.