Daycare is a necessity when kids need a place to be while the parents are at work. While there are many benefits of daycare services, there are a few drawbacks to the exposure that happens with so many children in one place. If one child shows up to daycare with a sniffly nose, it seems like the bug often moves through the rest of the group.
As a parent, have you noticed that your child gets sick more often when he is in daycare? Even though it’s no fun to catch another ear infection or cold, keep in mind that your child is building immunity that will last a lifetime. This is the age when the child’s immune system is being primed because they are coming in contact with illnesses for the first time in their short life.
But just because your child is exposed to illness at daycare, doesn’t mean that they need to get sick all the time. Here are a few simple tips you can follow to help your child stay healthy all year long, even while attending daycare:
Tip #1: Boost Immunity at Home
If your child has a strong immune system, then it reduces the likelihood they will get sick when exposed to a virus. Doctors suggest a diet high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to support immune health. Consider using a multivitamin regularly, as recommended by the child’s pediatrician.
It has also been found that regular exercise can be beneficial in reducing the number of times a person gets sick in the course of a year. Plan family activities to help your children enjoy active time outside, helping to boost their heart rate and improve overall health.
Tip #2: Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Good sleep is critical for people of all ages. Doctors have estimated that sleep deprivation can double the risk of getting the flu or a cold. Set a proper schedule for your child’s sleeping habits and maintain consistency with these practices every night.
Babies need around 14 hours of sleep each day. Toddlers don’t need quite as much sleep; they typically require between 11 and 13 hours of sleep per day.
Tip #3: Check the Daycare Sick Policy
Most daycare facilities have a sick policy, requiring parents to keep the child home when they have a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, pink eye, or other specific symptoms. If these symptoms develop while the child is at daycare, then the parent will be asked to pick up the child as soon as possible.
Not only do you need to make sure that the daycare has a sick policy in place, but it is also essential to ask about the enforcement of this policy. In addition to keeping the sick children away from the daycare group, the staff members also need to have the option to go home when they are feeling unwell.
Tip #4: Ask About Vaccine Enforcement
Choose a daycare that requires immunization records before children are allowed to attend the group. Many providers ask for the information at the time of enrollment. But you also need to make sure that the workers are immunized. Additionally, the daycare needs to have a follow-up to ensure that parents are staying up-to-date with subsequent vaccines after enrollment.
It is your responsibility to keep your child current with the recommended vaccines. Staying on schedule gives your child the protection that is needed if they come in contact with common diseases. It is important to add an annual flu vaccine to the list of other immunizations that are needed.
Tip #5: Review of Cleaning Practices
Find a daycare that has high standards when it comes to hand washing and sterilization. Hand washing should be a top priority since illness is often spread through contact.
Hand washing is a good start, but the daycare also needs to have regular cleaning practices in the facility. Toys, tables, bathrooms, and door handles need to be cleaned every day, preferably with natural cleaning products.
Tip #6: Teach Your Child Good Hygiene
When the child is old enough to understand, begin teaching good hygiene practices at home. Talk with the child about maintaining these habits while at daycare and school. For example, you can encourage your child to wash their hands often, especially before eating and after using the bathroom.
Also, help the child understand that they shouldn’t share cups, food, or anything else that goes in their mouth. Young toddlers don’t have the understanding to know that they shouldn’t drink from another person’s cup. But they can learn these important skills with time. One way to help your child is by using a distinct bottle or cup that they take to daycare every day. Choose bright colors and put the child’s name on the side so they can find their drink easily.
Tip #7: Schedule a Wellness Check with a Local Doctor
It can be helpful to have regular appointments with a doctor to monitor the child’s health. A medical expert might be able to diagnose potential problems in the early stages, helping your child avoid poor health in the future. Don’t hesitate to reach out of your child is sick, or you have concerns about their health.
Our staff at iCare ER and Urgent Care are here to help if you or a family member needs medical services. We have a qualified, board-certified medical team available to help with a range of health conditions. We accept walk-ins and also encourage patients to schedule appointments in advance when possible. Call us to learn more about available medical services: (214) 407-8668.