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Daycare centers often too fast at sending sick kids home

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Few things are as nerve-wracking for working parents as being called and asked to pick up their sick child from daycare. As it turns out, though, some child-care providers are too quick to pick up the phone: in a recently published study, almost six out of 10 daycare centers acted against professional guidelines and sent mildly ill kids home. HealthDay has more:

..."By the time you start showing symptoms [of a minor illness], the cat's already out of the bag," explained study author Dr. Andrew Hashikawa, an instructor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin. If a child has a cold, pink eye, a stomach illness or even a fungal infection like ringworm, he or she has likely been contagious for at least several days before the symptoms became evident, Hashikawa said.

So, keeping a child home at that point won't help keep other children from getting sick, but it will place a burden a parent who has to miss work. Yet, 57 percent of day-care centers would choose to send home youngsters with just mild illnesses, the study found.

Hashikawa, whose study appears in the May issue of Pediatrics, went on to say that the study shows a need for more support and ongoing education for child-care directors:

Brian Crowe, executive director of the National Association of Child Care Providers, agreed. "Education is everything. If the directors of child care facilities and centers are well-educated and understand the recommended guidelines, then it's fairly clear which children should stay and which should go home."

Photo by mhedstrom

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