31 answers

Sick Kid at a Party

We were invited to my mother-in-laws house to attend a joint birthday party for my father-in-law and my niece's child. While my neice, MIL and I we were out shopping for last minute stuff, we get a call from my sister-in-law that their son was sick and they may not make it to the party. The son had thrown up 3 times in a 2-3 hour period. He was being taken the to dr. to get checked out, so depending on what the dr. said, they may or may not make it to the party. Opinion in the car was that if the kid was sick, he should stay home, regardless of what the dr. said. There were about 20 other people with kids coming to the party, and the host didn't want to expose everyone else. As we get home, the SIL calls back to say that the dr. said that it was probably just something the kid ate; they were on their way to the party. When people in the house found out, everyone said that they'd prefer the kid stayed home. I called the SIL. I told her that the consensus in the house was that we preferred that the son be kept home. My BIL got on the phone and I repeated the request. His response was that he didn't care what the consensus was, they were coming. I said fine, but for me personally, if your son comes, me and my kids are leaving... Hubby found out and said that I overreacted. A short time later - about 2 hours since the last time the kid was sick - the family showed up with the son. So I gathered up my kids and left; hubby was grilling so he had to stay.

Hubby thinks I'm overreacting and should go back to the party.

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Thanks for the support ladies. Hubby came home a few hours later and said that everyone had been wondering where we had gone. The sick kid's Mom even asked if someone had done something to make me mad...I just hope that the kid stayed away from hubby and that he doesn't end up getting whatever it is and pass it on to us.

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SIL and BIL were the ones out of line... It is totally NOT OK to take an actively sick kid to a party with lots of people. (I would have left too)

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You did the right thing. There is no point in infecting everyone with a sick kid - especially with what is going around.... If the kid ate something funny, he should still stay home...

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I think they were unkind to the hosts, the guests, and their own child. Why drag him out feeling bad???? I think theat the only acceptable solution would be to bring him and tuck him in bed away from teh party guests with a movie. I think that you did the right thing. I don't know if I would hav ehad the guts to confront them on teh issue, but I would have taken my kids home and if asked told the truth. Hopefully the story got around and they were embarressed. Hopefully this doesn't make things bad for you. It's a touchy situation.

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Hi M.,
You are so not overreacting. I think that as parents our first priority is to our children and their wellbeing. We had a similiar situation over Memorial day when we attended a birthday party for a friend's child. The day went well although we noticed that one of her children, and her husband, seemed very low key. As we were leaving I mentioned that they seemed quiet and that I hoped all was well. She then dropped the 'oh, we've all had the flu all week and the husband was violently ill that morning'bomb! Within 36 hours my 2 year old was vomiting so badly and frequently that the Doc called in a script for Zofran - she was literally in the bed for five days. Which, for her is unheard of. This child is so energetic that she even stands when being read to! Of course, the flu ran through the house - even I was sick for four days, unable to 'maintain' food or fluids in my body.
I was/am so upset with the Mom that exposed all of us to such terrible virus - knowingly. Of about 18 people at the party, I think 11 became ill. What a great party favor ;O)
I realize that children get sick and that part of living in the world is that germs get passed around, but I feel that is our (parents) responsibility to try and keep it to a minimum: handwashing, keeping little ones home when running a fever, etc.
Personally, I would stand my ground. People sometimes put their own desires before the good of the ones around them but we can protect our own.
Good luck!

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You absolutely did the right thing! Nuff said :)

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You did the right thing. There is no point in infecting everyone with a sick kid - especially with what is going around.... If the kid ate something funny, he should still stay home...

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Nope I am with you I would have left too. It doesn't matter what the doctor said that child could spread anything to other chidren. I just recently last weekend to be exact had a party for my sons football team and I had a child who wanted to come and the mother said is it ok and I was like if he is sick keep him home she was not offended or anything. As a parent that is the right thing to do especially since their is so much going around. Pray your hubby doesn't come home with anything since he stayed and was exposed to the child.

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SIL and BIL were the ones out of line... It is totally NOT OK to take an actively sick kid to a party with lots of people. (I would have left too)

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Just my humble opinion. I just don't think 2 hours is a long enough wait. I would have left too. It takes a lot for a person to vomit and it should be taken seriously as a symptom.

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I'm going to disagree with all the other posts, and expain why. First, my son was sick earlier this week. The bathroom was cleaned about 7 times with cleaners and bleach. The rest of the house-doorknobs, furniture, toys, etc, were all cleaned. This is in addition to all the other cleaning I do every day. My daughter got sick about 3 days before her birthday party and I changed the party to a dinner 2 days after the party was scheduled at a different place. (Not my house.) So I totally understand the whole "keep the germs away" mentality. BUT, if my son starts getting sick after a meal, or it seems like his sickness is related to what he ate/drank, I don't have all of those problems. Food poisoning and allergies aren't contagious. If my child is feeling well, why should I punish him for having a food allergy or a stomach that just didn't like whatever he ate? He already had to throw up-am I really going to make him miss a party when there's no danger? At the same time, I don't think it's so much that you overreacted. You did what you felt was right, but she really believed her son was fine. She did what she felt was right. And as far as the whole "don't let your kids out when they don't feel good" we all know that that doesn't happen. Sometimes the kids don't know to tell us they don't feel good. Sometimes adults miss the sypmtoms too. They're a little tired, but they think they're fine. Next thing you know, they're saying they have the flu and it's passed around their office or a mom's group or their family. So it's good to remember that everyone makes mistakes and life is basically a bunch of judgement calls that we make. I'm sure most people do what they feel is best; most people don't try to hurt others. I don't think she tried to hurt you, or to hurt the other kids. I really think she probably thought her child was fine. And maybe the child was. Even if people get sick-it could have been from someone else carrying a different virus. There's not always a way to tell. And as far as the working mom thing, that doesn't make someone an authority on kids being sick (unless maybe they're a pediatrician). My SIL worked in a daycare and told me all about all the legislation they had to follow for cleaning, and when my son went to preschool, he was much sicker than he was before, or this year since I'm keeping him out. Those places can be cleaned daily, but again, parents probably don't know that their kid is sick. Chalk it up as inevitable that your child will get sick one day, probably from someone who doesn't even know that they're sick. You did what was right for you-good job! Don't feel guilty. But acknowlege that maybe there was no danger. It's okay to say "Maybe everything would have been fine, but I had to do what I felt was best." And leave it at that.

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Dear M.,
I don't think you overeacted. Even if the doctor said it was probably something the child ate and he was deemed 'safe'. It's always best to keep a child at home after antyhing like vomiting,diarhhea etc. And esp. feed the kid the BRAT diet(bananas, rice, applesauce, toast)and plenty of fluids . Why let them eat whatever kinds of foods found at a bbq. Plus the saying 'better safe than sorry' especially with H1N1 in this area now and cold season coming up. Plus with kids they aren't the best at remembering to wash their hands, right? I also just asked my hubby and he said you were not overreacting, its your job as a mom to protect your children. I'm sorry to hear that your husband stayed behind to grill. Hopefully you two didn't fight and if you did, already kissed and made up.

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You didn't overreact. Every time someone throws up the first suspect is "something you ate". That lasts right up until the next person starts throwing up too, then you realize that its something more like rotovirus and now everyone has it. Its gone through our family several times and caused us to miss parties too. Twice it happened right before Christmas. It stinks but everyone needs to take some responsibility for not spreading stuff around.

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If these were your inlaws and the MIL was physically with you while it was being discussed with the SIL, you should have had your mother in law tell those ADULT children that the SICK grandchild was not to come over. It is inappropriate to bring a SICK child to a party- not fun for the SICK child or the risk of spreading illness to TWENTY other children, or the adults. Your husband was WRONG to not support you.

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Good for you! I am so sick of other people not understanding the extent of damage/problem this can create for you and your children. I would stay home especially with the flu & swine flu issue.

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your first priority is to your kids, not what other people think.

the hostess of the party knew you were there and the guests of honor knew you were there in support, so people make an eairly exit. that is all it is.

if your inlaws have to be so selfasorbed that they cant see that you dont want to expose your kids to some thing (what ever it was)

explain it to your hubby like this, this sickness might be nothing it could be as bad as the start of N1H1,

you are the one who is going to be taking care of them when they are sick so if you can avoid it you should tell him you dont have time or the energy to take care of a sick kid if you could have of avoided it.

not to mention that all those people were thinking the same as you, you were the one who just had the guts to do some thing about it!


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I don't think you overreacted at all. With flu season here and the swine flu being here. The rule of "being without incident (vomiting, fever, etc) " should have been followed. It doesn't matter the doc thinks it was just something he ate. Could it be an allergy to something and it could happen again? They should have ruled on the side of caution and thought about everyone else who was going to be there not just themselves.

I work in a doctors office. I know my docs would have said stay home for 24 hours.

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I never ever understand why parents insist on taking their sick children out to a social gathering! I mean, can they NOT miss a party? Seriously, what do they care...their kid is already sick! This drives me nuts... especially as a working mom..please do not knowingly bring your child around if they are sick...makes everything more difficult. We have cousins that do this all of the time and our other cousins freak out about it and complain and then they bring their own kids around sick and say it is allergies...yeah, ok!

Good for you...wish I could have walked out with you. It is really the point...who wants their poor kid getting sick and if they are put the child in bed!!!

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I think you overreacted. Unless you have a child with a severe immune condition, you need to understand that germs are out there and the parents sounded like they were doing thier best. They wanted to attend, but they had the child checked first to be sure. If the DR said the child was fine, then you need to go with the parents opinion that the DR was correct. There have been times when my children had thrown up or had diareah and I knew they were OK. If this mom is consistantly exposing your kids to illnesses your reaction might have been reasonable. But it seems to me that if they ran right to the DR they are probably pretty responsible.

Sometimes kids just have sensitive stomachs and have a bad reaction to what they eat. My daughter has occasional
reflux after she eats - generally when she is excited. Do I pick up and leave or not go somewhere every time she throws up? No I clean it up, clean her up, and appologize. Do some parents probably assume that my child is sick even when I tell them its reflux? Sure, but I suppose they will be happily surprised when their kids don't get sick. If I wasn't sure it was reflux I might have done the same as your SIL - called to give you as much warning as I could and then waited it out. Sorry, but I think that your response was a bit rude and overprotective. I would have stuck it out, expressed concern and had my kids wash thier hands a lot.

Also realize that in any group of 20 kids I'm sure another one was sick so you were probably exposed to something anyway. Most illnesses are contagious before symptoms are seen, and many are no longer contageous after the onset of symptoms.

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No I dont think that you overreacted! This IS the flu season. The schools are even saying that If you are sick DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL. Why take the chance that your kids or you will get sick and have the cost of doctor's bills, lost of school, lost of work. You did right!

i think your sister in law has a problem, its called
YOUGOTNOMANNERS. you dont bring a child to a birthday party when they are puking... EWWWW. you were right to leave the party when typhiod child showed up.. with small children, you never know for certain whether it was something they ate, or whether it was a potential stomach flu. either way, small children love to spread their germs around... and they will not wash their hands, or cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze and when they are sick, thats when they want to almost hang on you, its kinda cute, when its your own little one, but its not cute when its someone elses kid trying to slime you, better to have the nephew sick without your kids around, then to have to deal with a puking nephew and your kids puking too
K. H.

I agree with Jeanna C.

i'm willing to bet the doctor didn't recommend going straight from the office to a party. you may or may not have overreacted, it would be hard to judge with just part of the story but i would have been pissed if someone came to a party with a puking child. especially after they were asked not to. as a parent that works outside the home, i have to burn up my leave every time some selfish parent takes their sick kid to daycare and my child contracts whatever the kid has or worse yet the teacher does. i'm in a good home care situation now but... arghhh!

does hubby take time off to stay with sick kids?

i think your SIL and BIL are unbelievably inconsiderate. dang!
but i wouldn't leave the party. the world is full of sick people and i never went to extraordinary lengths to avoid 'em. the best way to be a healthy person is to have plenty of natural anti-bodies, and the best way to do that (and i don't consider vaccines 'the best way') is to give them a reason to develop. you can always gently encourage your kids to stay out of the sick kid's vicinity.

I believe you over reacted too. One the Dr. said she believed it was a bug. If she said that it prob. was. BUT I would also ask if she said she thought it was a good idea to go to the party. If she said "Yes" I would be ok. Next this is a birthday party which won't be repeated again for a yr. Unless your child is under 1yr they will prob. get a sickness anyway so I wouldn't worry about small sicknesses. In short I would have gone anyway.


Sorry, I agree with your husband, you totally over reacted. I've not read the other posts, so I'm almost positive I'm in the minority, but here's my take:

1. If the child was NOT running a fever, then he wasn't contagious.
2. If the Dr. said it was something he ate, trust the doctor.


How rude of you to spoil a family gathering because one family member was honest enough to say - Johnny was throwing up, we're taking him to the Dr. Dr says "he's fine" yet - you don't care what a doctor says? Who are you to judge what a doctor says?

In my opinion you totally over reacted, you were rude and in my opinion, put a damper on a family gathering over nothing. Well, maybe it was better without you there. Because no one had to listen to you judging someone else for their honesty.

Best regards,


I'm with you! I suppose you could have been less vocal about leaving and just left, but I agree that the point needed to be made that they could be exposing all these other families to their son's potential illness. There could have been a pregnant woman there, a newborn there or at someone's home, someone with a compromised immune system, etc. -- it's just not good etiquette to knowingly bring your child to a party within 24 hours of vomiting, even if the doctor says it was "probably" something he ate. Yes, it's an awkward family situation, but protecting your kids comes first! Good for you. Hope hubby washed his hands!


I believe sometimes you need to choose your battles,and even more so with families. It seems like you need to do this more with the IN LAWS. Although it was very rude of the in laws to bring the sick kid, I dont think I would have packed up and left. Not good to put your husband in that situation. Your kid will be exposed to tons of stuff in schools that you cant control and would never even know about. Carry hand santitizer and teach your kid to wash up. Its that time of year. HAD IT BEEN THE SWINE FLU I AM SURE THEY WOULDNT HAVE BROUGHT HIM.

I think you were absolutely right putting your kids health first. What if that kid had swine flu? Then everyone else at the party would have been exposed to it. I know it's hard for a kid to miss a party, but parents have no right to knowingly endanger other peoples' kids. (They would send him home from school for vomiting once-much less three times. What does that tell you?) Bravo for taking a stand and protecting your kids instead of doing the popular thing! PS. It takes 5-7 days to come down with symptoms after you've been exposed to the flu. That whole time you can be passing those germs to others. Everyone at that party could be sick right now and not know it yet.

I didn't get this till today - but in my opinion, I guess you can't be too safe. Lots of times doctors just give an easy answer, but there's no guarantee that it isn't contagious. You're the one that would probably have to stay home with sick kids any way, right? Who wants to change throw-up bedding in the middle of the night? Any one? I'm not sure if I would have left - maybe just tell the kids not to play or touch the sick one...but I can understand you doing it out of principle because you had already told them every one's wishes and they still came...they could have politely stayed home and told their child 'next time.' Did you and hubby make up?

Yes, you overreacted. Would you pull your children out of school because one child is sick. The doctor knows best. You could have stayed, and if you observe the sick child to be coughing, sneezing, etc., then you could have made a decission. I am sure there were other children around your children could have played with, better yet, I am sure the sick child knows how to cough, wash his/her hands. Probably you need to teach your children how to protect themselves against germs. You probably spoilt your children's fun and also your husband.

Hi M.,

I just got this this morning, so am weighing in a little late. Anyway, I think the mother should have curbed her own good time and stayed home. I am the mommy of 2 now pre-schoolers. They are in a large learning center and I swear to you that one or the other is ALWAYS sick with something. I feel like I am raising the Typhoid sisters, but they are getting this stuff from kids sent to school sick, then pass it back and forth because - YES - they are 3 and 4 and don't wash their hands unless we are there (often don't even flush the toilet unless we ask if they forgot to do so), are learning to cover their mouths when they cough with prompting then immediately go back and wipe thier hands on the toys...you get the picture. Both my husband and I have had to miss A LOT of work to take care of the children that we pay A LOT of money for them to be taught and cared for every weekday.

On the flip-side, I also have the amazing vomiting child. She was born very premie and weak gag reflex does not begin to describe it. She used to vomit at the dinner table on a regular basis, now it is only when she is ACTUALLY sick, or has a cold and coughs too hard. We had to stop keeping her home for anything other than actually being sick. Here is hoping to a healthier winter than we had this summer or last winter. Our house needs a break...

I think they were unkind to the hosts, the guests, and their own child. Why drag him out feeling bad???? I think theat the only acceptable solution would be to bring him and tuck him in bed away from teh party guests with a movie. I think that you did the right thing. I don't know if I would hav ehad the guts to confront them on teh issue, but I would have taken my kids home and if asked told the truth. Hopefully the story got around and they were embarressed. Hopefully this doesn't make things bad for you. It's a touchy situation.

I absolutely agree with you, with all the nasty things going around the last thing you want to do is infect your kids with something. As a parent with a sick child at the moment, i don't want my daughter getting others sick, she's miserable and i don't want other kids to be that way because i was being stubborn and wanted her to be at a party or around family. doctors are wrong sometimes, and throwing up could just be a symptom to something alot worse, some times it takes longer for other things to come up. don't feel bad for being a good mom!

I don't think you overreacted and honestly some of the posts are down right rude. Only you can judge what is best for your kids. With all of the nasty bugs going around now, I'm not sure I would have stayed either, though my husband would have had the same reaction. A cold is a cold, but vomitting can be much more. You did the right thing by doing what you thought was right for your kids. Don't let anyone get you down about that! Go you for being a great mommy!

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