How do I tell that my child is too sick for daycare?

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Paediatrician Dr Paul Sinclair answers:

This is a tough question, as I understand the pressures on working families, and on mothers in particular. The decision on whether to keep him at home or not involves both the health of your child and the other children at the crèche who will be exposed to your child’s illness. That being said, you can expect that in the first few years of your child’s life that he will have eight infections on average per year. These will include upper and lower respiratory infection, rashes and tummy bugs. To keep him away from nursery school (and for you to take time off from work as a result) often is just not possible.

Always keep your child away from school if he is vomiting and/or has active diarrhoea as they are highly infectious and your child is at risk for dehydration. Also keep your child at home if he has a temperature that requires regular therapy (such as tepid sponge baths or medication) to be controlled. In terms of a snotty nose or a cough, it is safe to send your child to nursery school when his condition is improving, he is sleeping well and is temperature free. In my opinion, it’s not really worth it to spend lots of money on special immune boosters that make huge promises, but be sure feed your child a balanced diet and ensure good sleep to keep his immune system in check so that his body can fight off infections well. Remember that these infections are normal in young children, and will happen often.

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