When is Your Child Too Sick for Child Care?

As a busy working parent, deciding if your child is well enough to go to child care is a frequent and uneasy choice you are likely to face. Particularly in their first year of care while they are building up immunity, the chances of facing sore throats, runny noses and fevers are very high.

Sometimes the decision to keep your child home is clear like when your child is obviously unwell and will not be able to cope. Instances of fever, diarrhea and vomiting are obvious culprits. Keeping them home will help their immune system recover faster.

However, quite often your child may not seem so bad and you are torn between missing a day of work and your child's welfare.

When in doubt about sending them off, there are two main considerations to weigh up.

Is your child well enough to participate in the daily activities at the centre?

As a parent, you can usually judge this one fairly accurately and can make a wise decision. Even when your child is not at hundred percent, you can tell if they are not unduly miserable or upset. Next you need to consider the more elusive question:

Is your child likely to pass on their illness to other children?

In the early stages of sickness, it is not easy to tell if your child has something that is contagious, and you have to make a judgement call. Your child may have the common cold or the beginnings of flu in the winter season.

Fortunately, there are certain conditions that are quite harmless to other children, and you can be assured that it is fine to send your child along to child care.


A child can often develop a cough that is not related to any contagious illness. It may simply be the result of a change in the weather or allergies. This will be a dry sounding cough, unrelated to anything that may be infectious,


An allergic reaction or hay fever often appears like a cold and causes a runny nose, wheezy chest and watery eyes. This condition will not be a reason to exclude your child.

It's certainly not practical to keep a child home for every sniffle, cough and sneeze. It would mean the child missing out on valuable learning activities as well as unnecessary strain on the budget.

Just let the centre know the situation and advise them to contact you if your child's condition worsens. Speak with the staff at a child care centre to learn more.