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When Should You Keep Your Child Home From Preschool?

Preschool isn’t an option for some parents — it’s a necessity. Whether you’re a single parent or you and your spouse both work, preschool is a place that educates, cares for, and supervises your child when you’re away.

But when an illness or an injury strikes, you start to question whether sending them to school for the day is the right way to go. Take a look at the most common reasons to keep your young child home from preschool.

Missing Immunizations

Immunizations help to keep your child healthy, reducing the risk of developing some of the most infectious diseases. More than 72 percent of young children receive the recommended combined seven-vaccine series, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If your child isn’t current on their vaccinations, or can’t have an immunization for medical reasons, a sudden preschool outbreak can pose a serious hazard for them.

A child who comes to school with whooping cough, measles, mumps, or chicken pox can put any unvaccinated student at risk. If your child isn’t vaccinated and the school alerts you to the presence of one of these (or similar) illnesses, keep them home until the threat has passed.

Flu Symptoms

According to the CDC, the 2017–2018 flu season saw record-breaking numbers of illnesses and hospitalizations. Along with vaccination, staying home during an active illness is a primary way to reduce the spread of the virus.

If your preschooler has a fever, body aches, sore throat, cough, runny nose, and extreme fatigue, they may have the flu. The sooner they see a doctor, the better chance they have at correct diagnosis and a quick recovery. Never attempt to diagnose the flu yourself. While it may seem like the common cold, the flu is often much more severe and is potentially life-threatening.

Along with helping your child to feel more comfortable while they heal, skipping school can keep everyone at preschool safe. Your child needs rest and your care, not a day of preschool play.

High Fever

The flu isn’t the only fever-inducing illness. Other viruses and bacterial infections, such as strep throat, can also cause a high fever. Children who have a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit should stay home from preschool.

Keeping your child home while their fever is active gives them time to heal and isolates them away from other students who they could potentially infect. Some preschool programs have a sick policy that states the minimum number of hours (typically 24) that a child must be fever-free before returning.

Stomach Symptoms

Nausea on its own or a stomachache are typically not reasons to keep a child home. But vomiting or diarrhea are. These symptoms may indicate food poisoning or a new sensitivity/allergy. These aren’t contagious illnesses and pose little risk to the other preschool students. But they do make your child uncomfortable and create a potentially messy situation for the school staff to clean up.

Vomiting or diarrhea that’s caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite can spread quickly in the close preschool environment. Given the high likelihood of infecting other children, it’s best to keep your child home until they have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours.

Head Lice

This parasitic insect infection affects the scalp, causing irritation and itchiness. Lice are extremely contagious and rapidly travel from child to child in a daycare or preschool setting — especially if the children share dress-up clothes or nap-time linens.

Signs of lice include head scratching and the presence of nits (small yellowish or tan eggs that are on the scalp or on the hair near the scalp). If you suspect that your child has head lice, a doctor can diagnose the condition and prescribe a medicated shampoo.

You’ll also need to wash all clothes, towels, linens, and other fabrics that your child has used in hot water that’s above 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully vacuum your carpets and all upholstery at home to reduce the risk of a re-infestation. In most cases, the child can return to preschool following successful treatment with the medicated shampoo.

Are you searching for a new preschool program? Contact Advantage Learning Center for more information.