The ABC of Child Care: I is for Illness

I is for Illness

No child enjoys perfect health all of the time. Generally, children attending child care centres have a higher rate of infectious diseases, than children cared for at home. Most of these illnesses have no long term effect on the health of the child but in the short term cause distress for the child and problems for parents and staff in caring for the child.

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends that children who are physically unwell should be excluded from attending school, preschool, and child care centres. Excluding sick children and staff is an important way of limiting the spread of infection. Any child attending care must be well enough to participate in the centre’s normal activities. It is very difficult for staff to care for children who are sick, especially as they are often contagious.

Children should not require Paracetamol in order to be well enough to participate in the Centre’s program of activities (I know I shouldn’t have to say that, right!) As parents using child care (especially working parents), you should try to have a plan for illness care arrangements prior to needing it.

With regards to Illness, child care centres should have policy documents outlining their expectations and procedures for managing;

  • Immunisation,
  • Illness in the Child and Staff,
  • First Aid,
  • Medication,
  • Management of Accidents or Medical Emergencies, and
  • Exclusion due to communicable diseases.

These policies should be readily available to families.

A useful document available online, which many Centres use to guide their policies and practices is, Staying Healthy in Child Care. I think it provides lots of information about illness prevention and management which is relevant and useful to families as well.

Read more of the ABC of Child Care here.

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  1. kim at allconsuming says:

    My Mum, a teacher, used to say that when you started at a new school expect to be sick or sniffling or fighting off some bug for the first year, then you'll be fine.

    With four boys, a couple of which have been in long day care and a couple of which only went to a community pre-school set-up and the two who have started school this rule seems tried and true.

  2. Little Billies says:

    Oh, how I wish snotty kids were left at home! I totally understand that it is hard for working parents with alternative arrangements…. BUT, last year was my son's first year of preschool, only one day a week. He would have been lucky to attend 20 days in total! Complete waste of money and he never settled well funnily enough! He had pneumonia, whooping cough and scarlett fever and every other cold under the sun. Bit bitter and twisted by last year's experience? Yes, I am… but thanks for letting me vent LOL.

  3. Great post. Thank you for it!

    The link to the online document is not working for me … It looks like it could be quite informative!

  4. I dont care if u hav to work. If your child is obvisly sick then it should be Illegal for you to send them to school. Why should my child get sick and suffer just because u go to work. thats crap. Im very close to going to court with my kindy coz my daughter has been gettin so ill. Enough is enough. havsome consideration for the other children in the class u stupid selfish ppl

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