Part II – How Childcare Facilities Deal with Children Who Have a Fever or a Sick Child in a Daycare Facility(Isolating a sick child)
This is an unfortunate reality of childcare (or any educational environment) where you have many children together at one time. When a child becomes ill, it is very important to make the right decisions about their health and the well-being of the other children in the facility. First, the child care staff must assess the situation. Then they will follow proper childcare regulation guidelines set forth by the state and any other guidelines that might be relevant with regards to the centers parent handbook.
According to some day-cares, a child should not be admitted to daycare if the child:
1. Cannot comfortably participate in scheduled activities.
2. Extra care for this child would compromise safety of other children.
3. A child has a temperature of over 100° along with other signs of illness such lethargy, heavy breathing, wheezing, bad cough, diarrhea, and/or vomiting.
If a child appears to not feel well, and is quite young, with a limited or no vocabulary, then have the child point to a sick doll to explain where he or she hurts or feels bad to the daycare worker.
Seasonal flu, which is caused by a virus, is one of the designated excusable illnesses according to most health organizations and educational governing bodies. It affects the upper respiratory system and symptoms of the flu and include an elevated fever, usually 103° to 104° or higher a sore throat, muscle aches and pains, runny or stuffy nose, headache or lack of energy. Some children may have nausea, diarrhea, and even vomiting and is less common in adults.
Some complications of seasonal flu include sinus infections, ear infections, pneumonia, And even death in extreme cases of the illness coupled with the age of the person who has the illness. Most commonly that is the elderly but is not limited to them it could happen to an infant. Younger children, pregnant women and the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, asthmatics for diabetics, are especially vulnerable. The flu is highly contagious and it something that you do not want spreading through your daycare facility. The more majority of flu cases are mild and most people feel better after treating the flu symptoms at home for a few days.
If a child becomes ill with flu like symptoms during their time in the childcare facility, the child care worker should contact the parents as soon as they notice these symptoms. The parents are notified that they need to come pick up their child as soon as possible and care for the child’s needs at home. While the child is waiting to be picked up by the parent, the childcare worker should isolate the child and keep them away from other children in order to prevent them from spreading the illness to others.
There should be a designated area for the sick child to wait for the parent or guardian to pick the child up. The daycare center should have someone to watch over and tend to the sick child until they are picked up. Sick children should only be allowed to attend specific “get well centers” that are specifically designed for children who are ill. We have one of these rooms at A to Z Learning Center and Childcare. In large Daycares or schools, there usually is a sick room with different areas designed to isolate sick children from the rest of the student population. These places usually have a nurse on staff and can properly care for a sick child and keep them away from the other students for extended periods of time. Childcare centers usually don’t have a full-time nurse on duty. So, if your child is too sick to stay at daycare, then it is best for the parent to come pick the child up as soon as possible and get them to see a physician to help diagnose the problem.
A child who is sick may lay down on a mat or caught while they are waiting for someone to come pick them up. Or the child can play quietly with a washable toy. Certain items that need to be in your sick area are:
1. A cot or washable matt.
2. Washable toys to play with while the child waits.
3. Toys and mats should be washable so they can be quickly disinfected after child is picked up.
4. A lined trash can.
5. Make sure the child washes their hands frequently.
Once the child who has had a communicable disease is well, you will need documentation from the child’s doctor that it is safe for the child to return back to school or the child care facility on a regular schedule and that they are free from infecting other children. This is sometimes very difficult, because there are some viruses that can still be spread but the child feels well, looks well, and is not showing any more symptoms of the illness, but the virus or is still present and can be spread to other children. This is something that the parent should ask the physician so that everyone is clear on the procedure to return back to your child’s normal daily schedule.
We understand that when your child is sick it can be a huge inconvenience, but you should always act swiftly and intelligently. Trying to get the child healthy as soon as possible so that they can return to daycare is job one…it also allows you to get back to your job or normal routine too. Also, it is very important to check out your school’s parent handbook on this issue. These regulations and guidelines are put in place to help everyone stay healthy and stop the unnecessary spread of diseases throughout the daycare center. So do yourself (and the daycare staff a favor) by staying informed, be understanding, and use preventative medicine (like a healthy diet, natural immune boosters, etc) as much as possible to help your child remain healthy so they can take advantage of everything that daycare has to offer.