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;
- Illness in the Child and Staff,
- First Aid,
- 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.