19 answers

Not Sure How I Should Feel About This

I recently returned to work after a nearly 9 month leave of absence due to having my baby in February. During that time, he has been home with me and has one minor cold (runny nose/congestion) that lasted only 2 days.

My son has been in daycare now for 2 weeks. On the second day, he came home with a runny nose and the cold has progressively gotten worse. It started with a runny nose, then stuffy nose, congestion, hoarse, coughing, and now diarrhea (which has given him a nasty diaper rash even with frequent changes and layers of diaper rash cream). Despite our best efforts, along with Tylenol, humidifier, nightly steam showers, and extra fluids, he's still sick. We kept him out of day care today and probably will tomorrow too.

Here's my dilemma - just how upset about this should I be? I'm new to the whole concept of 'group child care' and this is also my first experience with a sick baby. Part of me completely acknowledges the fact that whenever kids are around each other germs spread like crazy, therefore it's no surprise kids tend to get more colds at daycare. I also realize it is cold and flu season. However, despite knowing that he'd get sick from being around kids I didn't expect that it would happen so soon. And, as a first time mom I'm surprised that he's been sick for 2 weeks - that seems so long to me.

Does any of this seem normal to you? Am I just being a first-time daycare mom who needs to calm down and expect this sort of thing? Or should I investigate a little more as to what is going on at the center to find out why he isn't recovering sooner?

Remember ladies - the question I am asking is "Is this normal?" not "Tell me why private daycares are better".

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to all of you who actually have children in daycare and could answer candidly and speak from experience. While I recognize the potential merits of a private in-home care, the daycare we have chosen is the most appropriate for our child's social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development and far superior to any in-home or simple babysitting option that was presented to us. We visited the pediatrician today and found out he has an ear infection, a sinus infection, and likely a viral infection, and he'll be sitting out of daycare for another 24-48 hours. I did ask her the same question I posed here and she said it was totally normal, and that unfortunately our son started daycare right in the midst of the cold, flu, and allergy season. We'll keep our fingers crossed and keep giving him the TLC he needs so hopefully he is on the road to recovery soon.

More Answers

Hi - I'm glad you asked your question directly (the last line you wrote in your question), so those moms who are always anxious to wag their tongue at questions like this can keep their tongues tied!!!!

I just begun my toddler in a full time daycare a month ago. She has been home babysat since she was born. But b/c my babysitter went out of town for 3 months, we had no choice.

She got her first cold the first week! Now, she's on her second cold. It's only been a month.

This place is very good about sanitizing, etc, but u can't help it when a bunch of toddlers are together, getting on each other. We see it as a way to build up her immunity.

So yes, this is normal, and gathering from the other responses I've read, I'm also relieved to know that others go through the same thing!!!

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I am sorry you had to go back to work after being home so long. That must be so hard.....

When a child goes to daycare (or preschool or school) for the first time he is being exposed to a lot more germs than he is used to. Since he hasn't been exposed to many things he has not yet build an immune system up for it. It is fairly normal for kids to get any and every bug that goes around. I really don't think you can blame your daycare for that.

I don't have much solutions for this other than private childcare in your home or becoming a stay- or work- at-home mom.

1 mom found this helpful

I'd go to doc and see if your baby doesn't need antibiodics. It could be just cold after cold hwoever. My son got sick nonstop for over 2 mo when he started daycare! good luck, sounds normal.

This is absolutely normal...I have an 8 year old that was never in daycare when she was little and I think that besides checkups I took her to the dr. probably twice for actually being sick..now I have a 15 month old son who has been in a daycare since he was six weeks old and is constantly getting a cold or something else. I take him actually to an in home daycare and I love and trust his two babysitters totally. They are always so clean but having so many little ones in the same place they are bound to pass things to one and other. I absolutely feel your frustration though because with my son just when I think he is over his cold only a week or so will go by and then another one will come...hope this helps, good luck!

Unfortunately, it seems to be the case and just with any place you bring a child to (gyms, daycares, parks, etc). Gotta love fall/winter. They say it helps build up immune systems but I was just reading that "building up immune systems" doesn't really happen. Who knows. I just started MOPS and it seems like since we started my kids have been constantly sick. My son was just diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday (if your childs cough hasn't subsided... you should have him checked out). But what else can you do... never bring the kids out? We can't do that either. It's hard. Hang in there! Maybe if you continue to experience issues you should try a different daycare or look into personalized daycare. Good luck.


Sorry to hear that your little one is sick. I am a SAHM and I have a 3 year old and what you described your little one having sounds like the smae thing mine is going through. She was on medication for 2 weekes only to end up back at the doctor. He then told me that she just has allgries. She has been on on clartin now since last wed and she does not seem better. She too has the same symptoms. I wish I could tell you that it was one or the other but I am also at a loss on this one. I just want her better and it seems everything I do does not help and we do not go to any group child care. So I also will be seeking advice here as well!

I sure hope your little one gets better soon!

Unfortunately, this sounds pretty typical. MOST kids I know who start daycare get sick the second week they're there. It's just the exposure to so many kids all in one place. I would check the daycare center's Parent Handbook and see what their policy about bringing in sick kids is. It should be clearly outlined and enforced. They should also have a policy about hand washing for staff and babies (especially once they're old enough for finger food). Assuming they have policies and the policies are actually followed, I think the place is probably OK if you feel OK about it.

My kids went to the same home daycare (about 7 kids are there each day, plus the owner's two) but started at different ages. My first child started when he was 3 months old, the second one at 11 months old. Long story short, as soon as they start daycare they get sick more often. If they stay at home with mom, they get sick in preschool or school more often. There's been a lot of little bugs going around (even at work where there are no kids!) this fall, so I say get your flu shots and hope for the best. As long as the daycare is following basic hygiene rules, I don't think that can be improved on all that much - kids who are together are exposed to more stuff. Their immune systems have to go through this at some point, it's just a matter of now or later.

I think it is normal I work in a daycare and when children first get there or if a new teacher starts working there they are introduced to many new viruses and get sick easy.Make sure they have a nightly cleaning process.In the daycare I work at we have to vacuum and mop every night.we clean none stop and make sure they wash the childrens hands after they get changed!!!!!!! maybe sneak in and check that one out its a big one!!!!!

I too was worried when I put my first son in daycare and was sick alot. It seemed like cold after cold after ear infection etc..I asked my doctor about it and she said that if he isn't exposed to it now he will be when he gets to Kindergarten and will be sick alot then. She said by getting sick he is building up his immune system and by the time he reaches Kindergarten his immune system will be built up. That was when he was under a year. He is 3 years old now and harldy ever is sick and is still @ kindercare loving every day of it.

The way it was explained to me was that when the kids are kept home they tend to get fewer colds and stuff like that but when they are exposed to daycare its an adjustment period and once their immune system is built up the colds and runny noses will subside. It's normal but completely understandable why it would be a worry - hang in there.

I have to say that daycare centers ARE clean and DO sanitize toys and play surfaces daily (and if yours isn't doing that, change centers). We have two children in daycare and I don't think they've been sick that much. Our youngest is 5 months old and just had his first cold, but it coincided with his shots so who knows if he got sick from daycare, the ped's office, us, his cousins, etc.

I would be concerned that he's not kicking it after two weeks -- could it really be allergies? Does he have his own crib at daycare or are they shared? Are they sanitizing the equipment daily and washing linens? Has he been in contact with other people who are sick? (Maybe he's had other exposures outside of daycare.)

Good luck!

Both of my boys were in home day care and group day care settings from 4months of age, and they experienced their share of colds and illnesses. I feel the experience boosts their immunity, and now my older son is in second grade and has not missed any school since Kindergarten because of illness, and my younger son has only missed one day of preschool because of an upset stomach. I don't know if the early exposure to the illnesses can account for their resistance now, but I certainly believe that it helped a lot.

For me this was normal. My daughter was with their grandparents till 5 months. 2 days into day care and she had high fever ..it went on for a week and half. Then had couple of cold and fever rounds.

Then we had to change day care as we moved and there was another round of sick doodle doo.

She is fine now, last 6 months (touchwood) no incident..thankfully..it gets better and you wont have to deal with this when your kid go to preschool. He would be strong as ever unlike the kids who go out in the 'group' for the first time.


This is totally normal. Your child is being exposed to a group setting where lots and lots of germs are spreading and for the first year he may get many more colds then your used to him having. I went through the same thing when my daughter started daycare. It will taper off though. You may feel like he's always sick for months and then all of a sudden he'll rarely get sick.

I think if he's been sick for 2 weeks then it's definitely time for him to get to the pediatrician. He may need an antibiotic to clear it up. Just don't be suprised if he's sick again in a month. It's hell the first few months but when he gets to school, he'll have less colds then those who never went to daycare and begin their first group settings with school. One of those pay now or pay later kind of things.

As for the center. You should definitely inquire about their rules for hygeine and their sick child policy. The providers should be washing their hands after every diaper change and every wipe of a snotty nose. The toys and center should be disinfected every evening and any naptime supplies or bedding should be changed and washed for healthy kids a minimum of once a week and daily for those that sick kids are using. They should also have a sick child policy in place that they enforce. Find out what all that is and do an unannounced drop in from time to time and watch the providers to see if they are following these guidelines. If they aren't you may want to find a different provider or a home child care setting.

Good luck!

This is normal. At least it was in my case. I assume your child goes to a center daycare environment? My son went to a center at 8 - 16 months and that whole time he was sick with something or another nearly the entire time he was there (winter, when they weren't going outside as much).

I have since switched to a home daycare where there are only 5 kids and the kids rarely get sick, and when they do - it makes its round and doesn't seem to come back as much as it did when there were more kids.

Seems to me that - at least where I sent my son that first time -- parents still send their kids in sick and basically it just keeps going around and around. Sorry your little one is sick!!!


In a nutshell, yes, it is very typical and unfortunatley this is the way things go in daycare. Even by good sanitizing efforts, kids cough and germs are airborn. I too at one time had my son in daycare and the first week he came home sick, I felt the same way you did but soon realized this is the reality and it's not really anyones fault. We just want the best for our kids and hate seeing them sick but take heart that the longer he/she is in daycare, the less it will occur as immunities build up.
Don't be too upset, just keep him at home while he is not feeling well and give him that TLC he needs right now.

M R,

I'm sorry to read that your little one (and you) are dealing with this. It stinks so bad when our kids are sick!

I'm a FT working mom and both of my sons are in daycare and have been since 8 weeks. My 1st son was sick ALL the time at the first center we were at and we moved him to a different center. He still got sick, but not nearly as often. So, yes, some centers can be A (not "the) cause of your child getting sick more often.

At the same time, we have him and our 12 week old in a center now and the 12 week old hasn't ever been sick (knock on wood). The center we go to IS very clean and they DO sanitize, wash their hands, etc often. I've come at all different times to pick up my sons with no notice to them and I've yet to find something that bothered me or a red flag with regard to cleanliness.

I can understand your frustration and probably some guilt, too. Heck, I still have guilt and I'm very happy with our center and have been using daycare for over 2 years. If your son hasn't been exposed to a lot of germs being home with you, then this was bound to happen. Unfortunately, this time of the year isn't the best, either.

I'd take your concerns to the center director - in a non-confrontational manner. Ask her what the sick policy is and how strictly they adhere to it. I'm sure as a new daycare Mom, she will be understanding. Sometimes, the problem isn't as much the CENTER as it is irresponsible parents who load their kids with Tylenol in the AM to hide a fever or cold and drop them off at daycare. Symptoms are hidden and by the time the Tylenol wears off and the parents are called, germs have been spread. It's frustrating. But, "bad" parents are going to be something we all deal with as time goes on. You know?

But, I have to say to those "anti-daycare" posters...Our group of friends is split about 50/50 with daycare and SAHM's. And, the SAHM kids are sick just as often as the center kids. My closest friend has had her son to the ER more than once for severe colds/croup/dehydration and he hasn't spent a night away from his mom yet. Kids are kids and they get sick. If it wasn't now at daycare, it would be in pre-school or kindergarden.

So, don't be too hard on it yet. I'd take a look around at the center when you are there, stop in at different times and see what goes on. Talk to the director and at this point, if you haven't already, a call to the peditrician may be a good idea.

Good luck.


that is the reason, well, that and cost, that i kept my daughter out of "professional" day cares. germs obviously are EVERYWHERE at those places. it's not like they wash toys and tables, etc down every day either. oh, not to mention that babies generally don't get the attention an infant needs at these day cares. (too much crib time, not enough crawl time, etc.)
my suggestion would be to try (and it is difficult) to find a private sitter until he's a bit older and has built up his immune system a bit. of course, it's good for kids to get sick once in a while for the strengthening of the immune system, but it seems so hard with a little tiny guy.
good luck to you!
if you decide to look for a sitter, try craigslist.org, babysitters.com, and maybe someone on mamasource might have some names/numbers.

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