'Please fetch your child...'
Daycare centres are too prone to send toddlers home for mild illnesses, doctors say.
Sending a child home by the time they have symptoms is unnecessary, they've already been contagious, and "they've already done the damage," Dr. Andrew N. Hashikawa of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee told Reuters Health. "It doesn't do any good to send these kids home."
He added that exclusion is "a significant burden for parents," who may be forced to take unpaid sick leave or scramble to find an alternative.
For their survey, Hashikawa and colleagues interviewed 305 child care centre directors. They presented them with five different scenarios in which a toddler had mild illness and asked what action the directors would take.
In each scenario - a kid with a cold, a light fever, pink eye, ringworm, or loose stools - the guideline recommendation was the same: No need to send the toddler home right away.
However, almost one-third of the directors chose to exclude the kid in four or all five of the cases. Overall, they ended up sending 57% of kids home unnecessarily.
"There are conditions where you'd obviously send a kid home," said Hashikawa. But, he added, "We found that often times they are sent home when they really don't need to be."Would you rather have your child at home even if they're only slightly ill?