Your Kid Isn't Too Sick for Daycare

Jeanne Sager

Photo by SharoninKY
It's a working parent's nightmare: You wake up the morning of a big office presentation, and your kid is spiking a fever. 

They're acting perfectly fine, but you know daycare is going to tell you you're out of luck.

Turns out the daycares may be the ones out of luck -- new research in next month's issue of the journal Pediatrics notes minor illnesses are being treated too seriously by daycare centers.

According to a press release on the study, interviews with daycare directors in Wisconsin found "directors would unnecessarily exclude 57% of children with mild illnesses."

Everything from a cold to conjunctivitis, gastroenteritis to fever and tinea capitis (a scalp infection) would get the kids sent home, costing Mom or Dad one of their sick days for something docs say is perfectly safe.

And it's having a major affect on the American economy.

According to the National Association for Sick Child Care, each day more than 350,000 children younger than 14 years of age with both parents working are considered too sick to attend school or child care.

For working mothers, that equates to anywhere from 5 to 29 days per year spent at home caring for their kids because daycare won't accept them. For employers, it's a cost of $2 to $12 billion per year.

The study authors suggest child care directors should get state-endorsed training on child health to better inform their decisions, but in the meantime, don't be afraid to challenge your daycare's rules -- with a note from your doctor.

Does your daycare have strict health rules?

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