sick kidWhen Should Sick Kids Be Sent Home From Child Care
And what to do when the green snot wins

According to the Children's Youth and Women's Health Service, children get around 6-10 colds per year, with the highest number usually being during the first two years in child care, kindergarten or school. 

It can seem like children have one cold after another and studies have shown that children in child care will most likely develop more colds than those who are at home. Small children are more affected by these sorts of viruses, because they rely on breathing through their nose much more than adults. So it's no surprise each cold at its peak will be fairly miserable for all concerned.

Colds often start with a high temperature (though it shouldn't really be that high or last more than a couple of days), drowsiness, difficulty in breathing, irritability…At this point it's definitely the best thing to keep the little one at home, because he or she would simply be miserable in child care and colds are more infectious in the first few days.

Is Green Snot More Infectious? Certainly many child care centres now adopt a policy of "green snot, child stays home" and would have you believe they are desperately infectious with this…According to most GPs, generally speaking, green snot for up to a week is a natural part of the common cold and does not mean your child has a bacterial infection. It simply means his or her body is fighting the cold. Green snot is of course unpleasant for the sufferer and carer to deal with, but it's no more infectious than any other part of their cold.  

Should Colds Be Treated With Antibiotics? Colds are viruses. There is really no cure. They sort themselves out in a week or so and can be relieved, but not cured. Dr Nick Carr's Myth Busting investigation for George Negus on the ABC revealed many parents often ask if green snot means their kids should be on antibiotics.

Dr Rick Jarman said that it's widely thought that over 90 per cent of colds are caused by viruses and therefore antibiotics aren't necessary. However, most colds only last a week or two, but a small proportion of kids may have a persistent runny nose with green snot that drags on for several weeks. This may have sinusitis associated with it or could have become a bacterial infection and antibiotics may be useful. But in general, no antibiotics required for colds. And once you start on the antibiotic trail, it's hard to get off!

The best relief for colds are decongestants, mild antihistamines that reduce nasal congestion, inhalers, nasal sprays and good old paracetamol in syrup form for any headaches or temperatures. For more information on dealing with illness in small children and child care, click here for our useful tips.

What to Do When your child is sick? As your child's immune system develops then the incidents of colds and viruses will be less likely, but until then, there maybe frequent enforced absences from pre-school and child care due to colds, ear infections and unidentified stomach upsets.  

This then poses the problem what to do when your child is sent home? While we can never know when our children are going to be sick, it is an inevitability at some point and given winter months are a favourite for colds and other virues, the best course of action is to plan ahead and think of contingency plans should your child be sick.

These can include drafting a list of friends and family who are happy to help out if necessary; planning a sickness eventuality with your team/boss; deputising in a similar way to if you were sick yourself; working out options for flexible working and working from home. Most people are generally understanding about sick children and if they're not, they should be so don't feel bad about discussing the issue.

Australians love to take their sick days but it's a good idea to save them so you don't have to take unpaid days when your child really is sick and check with HR about flexible leave practices. 

Don't leave care of sick children all on the shoulders of one of you - take turns staying home with sick children when necessary or split days into mornings and afternoons for care.

If all else fails then consider our On-line Babysitting service as it caters for emergency care situations. You can book on the day up to 2pm or 4 hours prior!

Click here for more information and tips.
© 2010 - All rights reserved®
Care For Kids Internet Services Pty Ltd
ABN 55 104 145 735
PO Box 543 Balmain NSW 2041
privacy policy contact us