How Long Do You Keeep Sick Kids Home from School or Day Care???

Updated on February 23, 2010
L.O. asks from Sterling Heights, MI
18 answers

I have 2 kids... 2 and 4... and a part time job.. I work 2 or3 days a week.. the days are flexible... I can go when I want and leave when I want.. but there is a lot of work to do.. and it needs to get done as fast as I can..(the job that I am doing used to be full time) I usually work M W F

my older child had a cough and fever on monday.. so I stayed home with her...Today was a snow day.. so I made arrangements to take the kids to day care tomorrow so I could work 1 day this week..

but now my younger child has a cough and fever..It seems like a bad cold...
Should I give him some advil and send him on to school so I can get to work one ay this week.?

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answers from Detroit on

I may be one of the bad moms, but if my kids have a slight fever 100-100.4 i give kids motrin and send them on their way. and they are fine throughout the day. now my daughter is puking and i am home with her today.

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answers from New York on

24 hrs after the fever has broken. imagine you an adult having to go to work when you have a fever and cough. uhhh hurts to think. that's one, two, not fair to other parents to expose them to what your child has. arrange for someone to watch your kids at home if you have to work but don't send your child to daycare.
when my children have fevers, they stay home, then when the fever stops, i keep them one more day from school.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Unless you want other parents bringing their sick children to daycare and infecting your children, keep your kids home. 24 hours with no fever and no medication is the rule for daycare. Do everyone a favor, including your child, and keep him home.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

You should check (in general with your Day care/school) to see what their rules are.

In some cases, we are required to provide a doctor's note that our kids are OK to return (ours are both in day care). In other cases, they take our word that the child has been fever free for 24 hours and do not require documentation.

Fevers usually indicate some level of being contagious. 24 hours without fever is usually the gold standard.

FYI - Advil is an anti-inflammation medication/fever reducer. It does not suspend the virus, it alleviates the symptoms to help you function better.

All parents need to keep in mind, too, though that in most cases your child is contagious well before symptoms occur. Our of courtesy, you should want to keep them home (and hope other parents operate with the same sentiment) until they no longer are symptomatic. Calling your pediatrician and speaking with a triage nurse is always a great way to gauge what's going around and to determine approximately how long you might be affected.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

As an owner or a childcare center I do not allow sick children to return until they are 24 hours symptom free. That means from fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Runny noses, and coughing (as long as it is not excessive) is questionable. Most kids have runny noses all year so that is a tough call. Usually if it is a clear runny nose I am okay with it. It really is the right thing to keep them home, after all most mom's are in the same boat as you so sending your child to school sick is only putting their children at risk.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Daycare has rules. 24 hours without a fever. Then they can typically return.

Advil will not stop his cold. It will not necessarily suspend the "fever"... but he is still sick. Advil does NOT cure a cold. Just masks it at most. Daycare could very well just call you and have you take him home. (I didn't know Advil made "kids" Advil?)

Daycare/schools do NOT like kids going to school when sick and obviously so. It will make other kids sick and a whole vicious cycle occurs. With the class getting sick and spreading germs. And I for one, do not like when an obviously sick child is in class. Other kids may have other health issues too which if they get sick, can mean a lot more serious consequences.

I know, in reality, lots of working parents send their child to school or Daycare sick. They have no one to care for the child as a back-up. And they cannot take off of work themselves.

But, keep in mind that the school/daycare can just send your child back home. Especially if he is actively sick and presenting symptoms and is not feeling well and/or has a fever.

Perhaps ask your Daycare provider, what they think.

All the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Benton Harbor on

My question to you would be. Do you want other parents sending their child to school sick? To expose your son or daughter to what ever they have, so that your child could get sick. If you keep your child at home when they are sick hopefully it can brake the vicious cycle.


answers from Kansas City on

if there is a fever you should not send them. that's the basic rule of thumb for school or the sitters.



answers from Detroit on

Sorry is this is a repeat, didn't read the other answers..
NO! Do not send him to school! Giving him advil is only "masking" the fever. ITs still there, just masked by the ibuprofin! Kids should not return to school/daycare until the fever has been gone (WITHOUT any fever reducers) for at least 24 hours. Its not fair to the other kids to send your child, you are going to get them sick too. Unfortunately this is going around and it could last a while, good luck.



answers from Detroit on

I agree! Keep sick kids at home, why expose other children to germs!!!


answers from Dallas on

Most schools and daycares, even Sunday schools follow the policy of waiting 24 hours after a fever, because doctors say that is when they are no longer contagious. If you give them a fever reducer, you are exposing the other children to the illness. And, children need to rest at home when they are sick, maybe even longer that 24 hours after the fever.



answers from Detroit on

Generally, a child should be fever free (without medication) for 24 hour before returning to school. Obviously, it's very hard not to spread illness it daycare and school settings, but if a child is running a fever they are likely contagious (unless it's an ear infection or something like that). Plus, they probabaly just don't feel well enough to go.

Some local public health deparments have helpful references about common child illnesses and how long kids should avoid exposing others. Here's some from Washtenaw County Public Health: Look for "common diseases in childcare settings," and "when should a child be sent home."



answers from Detroit on

Also, if the Advil/Motrin wears off and the fever comes back and your child shows symptoms, most daycare centers (at least ours) require the child to be picked up. It's better to just keep them home until they are fever free for 24 hours (which I appreciate when other parents do so my daughter doesn't get sick).


answers from Detroit on

It depends on your daycare? I run a daycare in our home and sick children are permitted unless they are throwing up, excessive diarhhea or high fever. I only have 6 children so illness usually isn't that common.



answers from Detroit on

I think the rule of thumb is keep them home until 24 hrs no fever (without meds)



answers from Lansing on

Been there done that. At daycare they need to be fever free as is listed below. You also need to know your own kids. At these ages they get everything and with the flu season still going, you may need to work at home, find another person to come to your home or just realize that until they are older, you need to be there.



answers from Washington DC on

The rule here is that the kid has to be fever free for 24 hours before they can go to school or daycare.



answers from Detroit on

I completely agree with the other parents. Kids need to be fever/symptom-free for 24 hours ~ both for daycare and once they're in school. They are still contagious. Kids are exposed to so much at school when we don't know (when someone gets sick while at school, or before they really show any signs), that they don't need parents sending them in when you know they're sick.
When you're sick and running a fever, how well do you think? or act? You just want to rest, not run around. I'm not saying that you keep them home for every little sniffle, but use some common sense (sorry if I sound mean, I'm not meaning to, but this is kind of a pet peeve).
This is one of the hazards of working and having kids, unfortunately. Been there/done that. I was a single parent for 12 years. If my son was sick and needed to miss daycare or school, I had to make arrangements for someone to take care of him while I was in school myself. After I graduated college I started working midnight shift, so I was always home if he was sick, but would end up having to go to work with less sleep than normal (also one of the hazards).
See if you have a neighbor or family member who can sit for you, or maybe your husband can take a day off to help out.

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