Daycare: Not All Sick Kids Need to Go Home

MILWAUKEE, April 20 (UPI) — U.S. researchers suggest mildly ill children should be allowed to stay in daycare and need not be sent home.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found childcare center directors overall exclude 57 percent of children with mild illnesses.

The researchers said responses ranged from 8 percent of directors excluding a child with a cold to 84 percent excluding a child with tinea capitis — a scalp infection. However, larger center directors, or those with more experience, made fewer unnecessary exclusion decisions.

“This high rate of inappropriate exclusions persists despite state endorsement of the national American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association guidelines,” Dr. Andrew Hashikawa of Milwaukee’s Medical College said in a statement. “Children who are excluded from daycare place a significant economic burden on parents, businesses and healthcare resources.”

Hashikawa and colleagues surveyed 305 child care centers in metropolitan Milwaukee to find how closely directors followed the guidelines. They presented five scenarios — a cold, a fever, an eye infection, tinea capitis and gastroenteritis or stomach flu — and asked which of these would be sufficient cause to send a child home immediately. The guidelines advise none of the scenarios warrant exclusion.

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