No parent WANTS to send their sick child to day care or school, but all parents know that sometimes you HAVE to. If all sick children had to stay home, parents would likely almost never get to work and kids would miss much of their education.
So when should you absolutely keep your child home with an illness?
For these reasons:
When can your child go to school with an illness?
A good rule of thumb is that a child should stay home if the illness prevents him from participating comfortably in activities. Or a child should be excluded from day care if the illness results in greater care than the staff can provide.
We know that most viruses are spread by children who seem well, which means that exposure to other children happens BEFORE the school can call to have the child picked up. Preventing a child’s attendance will not significantly reduce the chance of spreading of the illness. The best way to prevent the spread of infection in group care is hand and surface hygiene, not sending children home. However, many exclusion guidelines vary from state-to-state and school-to-school, meaning your child’s day care or school may have their own rules for sending ill children home.
If you are unsure of whether to keep your child home, contact the day care or school for guidance, or contact your pediatrician for advice.
Resource: Infectious Diseases in Children, February 2009