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Dear Parents of The World: Keep Your Sick Kids At Home

2 November 2010 27 Comments

by Erica Ashmore

What is it with parents taking their little ones out to the community centre or play groups when the munchkins are sick? Raise your hands…I did it.  Once and never again.

It’s not fair to other parents and most importantly their kids.  Sure your kid is active at home but he/she has a drippy nose still and a cough.

We fret when our little ones get sick and how can we not?  I remember when Charlie got his first cold, it was after his 1 yr birthday party and I panicked and I felt so helpless: “What can I do make him better!?” I even made homemade cough syrup. With onions.  Think I’m kidding, read my post here, there’s even the Olde English recipe.

When I’m out and about with Charlie and I see one of his friends or strangers kids with a runny nose I get beyond annoyed because I know Charlie will catch it.  But at the same time, when he does get their cold I see it as him building immunity. Thankfully he usually gets a mild version.

With cold flu around the corner and “tis the season” when seasons change; our kids are bound to get sick- I stock up on probiotics.  I love taking care of him when he is sick because he is more cuddly, however come bed time it is torture because all he wants is mommy.

He is also still full of energy when he is sick.  How do they do it?  I am bed ridden and all I want is peace and quiet when I’m sick. Not Charlie. He’s running around the apartment, playing on his rocking horse and of course playing with his Thomas the Train set with a drippy nose and sad cough. Oh…and a smile.

But this post is more about sharing my annoyance, I’m sorry if you don’t care but it is here where I can whine.   Right?! LOL!

Surely there must be some etiquette in the Book of Rules of parenthood.  Maybe I have an idea here? But seriously parents, do you really need to bring them out?  Is it more for your sanity to get out of the house?  Please stay home, don’t spread germs and let your little one get healthy at home.

I don’t need my kid to get sick.

Erica Ashmore is a blogger and member of the BornFree Mom Panel.

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  • Lori said:

    I prefer to not bring her. Building immunity or not I hate when other snotty nose kids are all up in her business!

    Although, take it with a grain of salt, my fiance considers me a germophobe!

    That being said, she has been sick a lot lately and we have missed a LOT of baby activities for playtime at the park or whatnot.

    I should maybe just get over myself? (;

  • Lisa M. said:

    Unfortunately, we live in a society where it’s frowned upon to stay home when you’re sick. Employed and sick? How dare you take a sick day! In school and sick? You can’t miss class! I think we tend to pass this on to our children, and I think that often we put other people and their kids at risk.

    I completely agree that if your kid is sick, you should keep him or her home. Kids should come together at play group to share toys, not germs. I don’t try and keep my child in a bubble and I know germs are a part of our lives, but I don’t see the need to actively expose him to other sick kids, or to force his germs on other children.

  • Carly said:

    I hate when somebody brings a sick child to a play group. I would never do that EVER! I have a child for example who had a lot of problems with his lungs so we would like him not to get sick for a while, however I cannot keep my 2 year old in a bubble in the house because her baby brother cannot get sick. So I depend on others to use common sense and NOT bring there sick kids around other children. Even if it is just a cold it has a snowball effect. Child is sick, parent has to take time off work, then parent gets sick and more time off work and passes it to other children so on and so forth. If your kid is sick? Keep them home it is really is simple….

  • Leslie said:

    As a teacher who has caught every bug that has entered my classroom, I definitely think parents should keep sick kids home.

  • Charlene said:

    I agree…to a point. I have three children, am a stay-at-home Mom, am the chair of Parent Association at my daughter’s school and have been going to all kinds of different baby/toddler/pre-school groups for seven years. So I’m around kids (and many parents with views on this subject) all the time. I agree that in the beginning of the sickness, a child should be at home. Not just to avoid passing on the germs but because home is their comfy place – where a movie, blanket, or bed is readily available. They need rest and the illness is somewhat containable. However, once they are no longer in the contagious stage (I’ve been told about 5-7 days) then off we go to our groups. By this point, snotty noses are mostly if not always cleared up. What sometimes does hang around though is the cough but my two youngest are asthmatic and because of this, their cough can last up to three weeks. If all else is okay, and they are no longer contagious, then I don’t keep them or myself cooped up and out of our routine any longer just because they are coughing. Also, I asked my school-aged daughter’s teacher once what her recommendations were when it came to keeping kids with colds home and she said if they are so lethargic or ill that they basically have to spend the whole day at school with their heads resting on their desk, then keep them home. But if you keep them home and they are playing, or running around, or seem “fine” otherwise, send them to school. Germs are out there and as one other commentator already pointed out, it builds immunity. Today my son (17 months) was diagnosed as having croup. Oh that barking cough. :-( You can bet we will be staying home for the week. So, I just feel it’s not black or white. It depends on so many things. Thanks for listening.

  • Kari L. said:

    As the mom of an infant, I can appreciate your sentiments. It’s pretty difficult for me to bring her out in public and not worry about her catching something when she’s only old enough to have had her first set of vaccinations. I can understand it helping to boost her immunity, but at what expense? I’m trying to get out and be active for myself, as well… I don’t want to be cooped up in the house all of the time.

  • Crystal said:

    I am a mom of 4 and we have seen every cold and flu under the sun, the worst was when 2 of my children got Rotavirus a nasty gastrointestinal flu that put both of them in the hospital for a few days due to dehydration as they couldn’t even keep water down. They got this from a playgroup as that was the only place we had been out to that week. It was a horrible experience and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone so I would say for sure STAY HOME with your children if they are sick! Take a day or two off work if needed, be a parent first, as that is really what sick kids want and need are their parents. And I can’t stress this enough ~ wash your hands! Take care & thanks for listening.

  • Sarah said:

    I could not agree with this post more. I absolutely hate it when parents visit me with their sick children or let their sick kids go to school. I understand it is sometimes really hard to keep a fussy child at home as one needs a ton of patience but this certainly does not mean you take your kid out and let other kids catch the germs. We all need to be responsible parents and be kind to everyone around us.

  • Jenn said:

    As a single mom, it’s not always feasible for me to miss a day of work if my child has the sniffles. I mean – there are times when I have to send him to daycare or preschool. I don’t see a problem with it. Kids get sick, it’s a fact of life.

  • Kristen said:

    I am on the fence here. I agree that kids probably should be staying home more then they are nowadays, but like someone previously said you don’t stay home from work because you have the sniffles, so why should your child. Plus, could you imagine if you child hardly gets sick before they go to school, they will be catching everything under the sun!! I remember growing up if we had sniffles or a cough we stayed home. Then came kindergarten, I know I missed at least a third of my days because I came down with so many illness. I’m not saying that if you child has a high fever or is lethargic or not acting at all like themselves, you should take them out. The best place is at home, resting and getting cuddled all better. But if they are their old active and crazy selfs with a runny nose or a cough I don`t really see the big deal. Now you better believe I will be making sure my kids know to cover their mouths and blow their nose and wash their hands to prevent germs being spread. I think of it as germs are a part of childhood.

  • Carrie Dodd said:

    I keep my son away from playgroups until his nose stops running. Last time it was for 9 days!

  • Kristi said:

    My 11 month old son had a bit of a cold in October (sneezing, running and snotty nose and just looked all clogged up)but I needed to go out and get some stuff during the day for him b/c my husband was at work and wouldn’t be home until late and by then I wanted to have everything in place and ready to go. So, as much as I didn’t want to bring him out to the drug stores, I had too; and I had to go to a few stores to find everything (I’ve stocked up now!!). But, I really think that if your child (or you for that matter) is so visibly sick where others can see it a mile away then if you can stay home, please do but if it is something minor then it’s up to you to make the call. When I was pregnant last fall during the height of the H1N1 crises, I actually went on maternity leave weeks early not b/c impending labour but b/c there were kids I worked with whose mom had come down with H1N1 and was extremely ill; her sons and husband were given medication but did not catch it. She failed to inform us of her condition or that her sons were taking the precautionary medications. These boys did have a cough and I kept reminding them to cough in their sleeves. If she had told us then I would have made an effort to not be around the boys as much and have my coworkers watch them (I worked at an afterschool program). After I left, there was another family whose son did get hospitalized with that flu. Now, that is such an extreme case, I know but I would have liked to been informed of what was going on so I could make an informed decision on my and my unborn’s son’s health. But, I also think that in today’s workforce “sick days” are hard to come by and if you have to stay home b/c your child is sick you might have to jump through hoops at your work to get that time off. I wish all employers would offer parents the ability to take flex time if they need to stay home with their sick child instead of using their own sick days.

  • Tobi-Dawne said:

    What most people need to realize though, is that generally by the time you start SEEING symptoms the kids have been shedding the virus for some time. And the start of symptoms is usually a good sign that they are no longer contagious. You also need to remember that not every kid with a runny nose is sick… some have allergies. So please don’t jump to conclusions. Just because you notice a boogery nose, doesn’t mean every kid there is going to end up sick.

  • AM said:

    I am a mom of three, I am going through a cold in our house as we speak..and interestingly enough, I came upon your post and was very relieved to hear that I am not alone in my thoughts :) .
    We have been house bound, and as much as I know my two year old would love to be out and about ..the socialist that she is…I know how much she needs to chill at home too. Kids don’t know what is best for them at this age, and I have learned the very hard way that a cold can turn into pneumonia or a sinus infection in many cases. Sending your child to a play group or to daycare when they are obviously sick, is of no benefit to anyone! I don’t want to spread this awful cold to anyone else, let alone my infant daughter and my older child….which I may not have much control over…so I hope others’ will have the same respect and return the favour. Keep them home ( which I know isn’t always feasible for many parents), let them rest, they will thank you!

  • Lindsay said:

    My daughter is only 4 months old and hasnt had her first cold yet, but I dont plan on taking her out if she was visibly sick. Why make everyone else sick?!

  • Minna said:

    I wouldn’t want to bring my baby to a playgroup or friend’s house if he was sick. It’s just courtesy to do so. Why do others have to suffer? But I think there’s situation that you have to go such as work. As bad as it is getting sick and going to work, sometimes there’s no choice but to do. So if you’re paying for the classes for a playgroup, etc. what do you do. You can’t get your money back.

  • Avery said:

    I wouldn’t bring my nugget out while being sick. Not only for the other kids, but also I have to think of my own sick child. When you’re sick the last thing you want is to be carted all around, you want to be where you the most comfortable, snuggling, and resting. No one wants to be responsible for making anyone sick, but saying that I know it’s impossible, sometimes you could be sick and not even know it. But in all over cases of obvious sickness, best idea for everyone is just stay home, in my opinion.

  • Charlene said:

    Very good point Tobi-Dawne.

  • Steph said:

    I would definitely leave my child at home from a playdate if he was sick. I would do this out of respect for the other children and also why hull around my sick child? I would let him play/rest in the comfort of his own home. We could always go there another time.

  • Jojo said:

    I am so frustrated with people bringing their kids to play groups sick. I was just at a play group today and a woman had the nerve to bring her toddler and 3-6 month old baby with the croup. I told the girl in reception about it and she was going to tell the owner and have her deal with the situation. Why was she not told to leave when she came in her children were practically caughing up a lung. We need to be firmer as a society with people who feel they can bring their sick children everywhere, instead, we are all so polite and don’t say anything at all we just try to avoid. There has got to be a better way.

  • amy said:

    I was doing some looking around to see where you draw the line from keeping your kids home and taking them out while they are sick. My son got croup suddenly on monday night… fine tuesday and wednesday and a runny nose on thursday… friday morning and the nose was minimal so I took him and my other son to daycare at the gym. I was worried more about my 11 mo getting symptoms than my older one getting worse. When I picked them up my older one looked terrible. It had only been an hour. I guess the symptoms can come and go. I
    It seems like it is not a black and white situation… All the people that keep their family home with colds for 1-2 weeks all the power to you…
    I don’t expect any employer to pay out sicks days every time and employee or their child gets a runny nose. I wouldn’t want to employ anyone who took that kind of time off as well.
    Runny nose/ cold is allot different from other more severe illnesses. I think that you should stay at home with the flu/ croup and other stuff until you start to feel better… WHEN YOU ON THE MEND then you have done your house arrest and should be allowed out.
    TOBI-DWAYNE did make a good point.

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