A common question that most parents ask is whether or not their child will get sick in daycare. As parents, the last thing we want is for our little ones to be sick. Parents sometimes wait to put their children in daycare until they are closer to two or three years of age because they have heard of “daycaritis.” However, some doctors suggest it is better for your child to be exposed to germs early. This early exposure helps your child build their immune system.
When children start daycare or school, they are exposed to new germs and this can sometimes lead to a runny nose or a slight fever. These symptoms often occur within a couple weeks of exposure. Exposure to new germs can be good for your child. According to a recent Australian study “babies and toddlers in daycare were sick more frequently but were less likely to fall ill once they started school.”
According to Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, pediatrician and author of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Seattle Mama Doc Blog, “their immune system is getting primed and it’s growing into maturity.” She noted that all infants and toddlers are more susceptible to infections because they are coming into contact with illnesses they have never had before. So whether they’re at daycare or at home, they’re bound to get sick eventually.
If we know that kids are bound to get sick, we still want to protect them as much as possible. Here are some tips that parents can follow to keep your child healthy:
1. Boost Immunity
Make sure that your child is eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and getting plenty of rest and sleep. You can also talk to your child’s pediatrician if you feel your child is not getting enough iron in their diet.
2. Clean Hands are Key
Teach your child the importance of washing their hands and practice it daily. Daycares have hand washing policies that they must follow. Teachers must wash their hands after diapering,eating, using the restroom, and after wiping runny noses. If you have any questions about these policies you can ask the center director.
3. Be Aware of the Sick Policy
State regulated daycares are required to follow certain procedures when a child is sick. Along with state regulations they may also have policies of their own. It is important that parents are aware and understand both. It is wise to also ask the Director of the school if your child will need a doctors note to return to school.
There are many regulations for keeping things sanitized in daycares, and if the school is state regulated they must follow these procedures. For instance, toys must be sanitized after they have been mouthed by a toddler to avoid cross contamination. Ask your child’s teacher how she sanitizes toys, diaper changing tables, classroom tables, etc. And find out how often they do it.
Remember you can’t keep your child from ever getting sick, but by using these tips your can help reduce your child’s risk for catching something either at daycare or at home.