Children in day care centers are more likely to catch an infection than kids who do not attend day care. Children who go to day care are often around other kids who may be sick. However, being around the large number of germs in day care may actually improve your child's immune system in the long run.
Infection is spread most often by children putting dirty toys in their mouth, so check your day care's cleaning practices. Teach your child to wash his or her hands before eating and after using the toilet. Keep your own children home if they are sick.
INFECTIONS AND GERMS
Diarrhea and gastroenteritis are common at day care centers. These infections cause vomiting, diarrhea, or both.
Ear infections, colds, coughs, sore throats, and runny noses are common in all children, especially in the day care setting.
Children attending day care are at a higher risk of getting hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.
Head lice and scabies are other common health problems that occur in day care centers.
You can do a number of things to keep your child safe from infections. One is to keep your child up-to-date with routine shots to prevent both common and serious infections.
Your child's day care center should have policies to help prevent the spread of germs and infections. Ask to see these policies before your child starts. Day care staff should be trained in how to follow these policies. In addition to proper hand washing, important policies include:
WHEN YOUR CHILD HAS A HEALTH PROBLEM
Staff may need to know:
You can help by creating an action plan with your health care provider and making sure your child's day care staff knows how to follow that plan.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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