Most parents who work rely on child care services to care for their children during the work week. At some point or another, due to the environment and the close proximity of children in day care, that infants and toddlers are bound to be exposed to infection and illnesses.
According to Dennis Clements, MD, PhD, the interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center, and Newsforparents.org, infections spread in day care so rapidly because “day care centers by their nature cluster individuals who are susceptible to diseases.” During the ages when a child is in day care, a child’s immune system is in the formative stages. This makes children more susceptible to acquiring infections and viruses. As a result, “when an infection is introduced into the day care setting it usually makes the rounds of the entire room, and can even affect all the children in the facility (not to mention the adults).”
Common sense tips suggested by Newsforparents.org include:
- Selecting the smallest day group possible;
- Frequent hand washing by employees;
- Extra fluids and rest for sick children;
- Doctor visit for persistent or returning fever;
- Not sending a sick child to day care;
- Practicing good hand-washing and sanitizer use at home;
- Changing out of school clothes to minimize spreading of contamination;
- Discouraging poor health practice;
- Reporting infectious disease to day care facility;
- Learning about diseases listed in exposure reports from day care provider;
- Using antibiotics only when needed. Overuse of antibiotics is not recommended; and
- Returning to day care only when no longer contagious.