It’s only October but already we’ve heard parents say, “Since we started childcare the kids are always sick!” Is it true? Research is not conclusive but we have to admit that it is reasonable: more children – more germs. Each family has a set of germs to which they have developed immunity. Clean and healthy children bring these germs to school and then exchange them with others who are not immune. The more germs introduced into the school environment…the more colds your child will be exposed to.
Exposure is a sensitive issue to young children because they have not yet developed an effective immune system and because they are more likely to develop complications from colds. Regardless of age, it takes about a year of exposure to infections to develop this immunity. Even if you could protect your child from exposure now, s/he will have a year of colds in kindergarten.
For working parents, even a mild cold passed throughout the family can cause serious financial problems with lost income or jobs! A child, not in child care, usually has 5-6 respiratory infections lasting 5-10 days each year. Non-employed parents can accommodate the “sniffles” with a quiet day of T.V. and never disrupt their routines. For employed parents, these mild symptoms are much more noticeable since costly and inconvenient alternate care arrangements must be made. Perhaps it just seems like children in daycare have more colds.
Ensuring good health for your child is a shared responsibility. TTLC tries very hard to do their part by providing a healthy environment and by teaching the children good health habits. Hand washing before and after meals, after using the bathroom, after outside play, and any other time it looks necessary is supervised. All diapering surfaces are disinfected after each diaper change and bathrooms are sanitized regularly. Tables are wiped with disinfectant before and after each use, toys are also disinfected (daily in the nursery, once a week with older children). Any child with vomiting, diarrhea, rash, or fever is sent home. Medical records are monitored and immunizations kept up to date.
There are some very important ways in which parents should contribute to this shared responsibility for healthy children. To cut down on the number of germs exchanged between home and school, parents should help their child wash hands at arrival and departure times. They should keep sick children home until they have been free of symptoms for 24 hours. Parents should arrange in advance for supplementary care so they aren’t tempted to use aspirin to mask a fever so a sick child can be sent to school. Stress interferes with a child’s natural immune system making them more susceptible to developing a disease when exposed. It is not easy, but stress can be reduced by keeping things calm with meals and bedtimes on a regular schedule. Get up a little early to avoid last minute rushing, lay out clothes the night before. Keep your child’s body strong and healthy by cutting down on snacks, fast food, and late night T.V. Let’s work together for a healthier, more productive school year.
Thanks in advance for your cooperation.