by Patricia Hughes
Starting preschool or daycare can special time for kids. It is a time to meet new friends and share new and exciting experiences. It is also a time when kids are in close proximity and germs are spread. The recent swine flu scare is latest fear of parents, but there are always bugs going around where little children congregate. Fortunately, there are a few things care providers and parents can do to reduce the spread of sickness.
Some things need to be done by the staff of the daycare, such as proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques. Toys need to be disinfected on a regular basis, particularly in the rooms with younger children. This should be done daily for infants and toddlers.
Ask about daycare’s policy regarding sick children. Children should be required to stay home when sick. Some are more lenient than others. They find themselves in a sticky situation and need to balance the need for parents to work with best interests and health of all children in mind. Some will go too far in accommodating parents and don’t send kids home quickly enough. This spreads sickness. You decide if the policy is one you can live with.
Reciprocate by keeping your own child home when he is too sick for daycare. Following the policies of your daycare center is one the best things you can do to reduce sickness. Don’t be the mom feeding the child Tylenol and sneaking him into daycare in order to meet that work deadline. Switch sick time with your spouse, split the day or call reinforcements, such as grandma if too sick for school.
One thing parents can do is teach their children proper hand washing techniques. The Centers for Disease Control guidelines include washing with warm water, rubbing hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, washing both the front and backs of the hands. Rinse the hands thoroughly and dry with a paper towel. Kids can also be taught to use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. READ More on Preventing Sickness in Daycare and Preschool