When Are Kids Too Sick to Attend Daycare?

Child care centers, in their wonderful efforts to protect children, often exclude sick children unnecessarily. Dr. Greene explores.

“I’m sorry, but your child can’t come back to daycare until she starts antibiotics.” Statements like this led to a study that was published in the February 2000 issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The report concluded that directors of child care centers, in their wonderful efforts to protect children, often exclude sick children unnecessarily, refer children to physicians inappropriately and request antibiotic therapy for children who would be better off without them.

The great majority of daycare directors, for instance, believe that antibiotics should be given to children with bronchitis, and that excluding kids with cough and green nasal discharge will decrease the spread of colds. Childcare workers deserve better education about the basics of dealing with children who have common respiratory infections.

Published on: February 17, 2000
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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