Problem with the Sitter

Updated on May 07, 2010
J.L. asks from Wheeling, IL
15 answers

I had a problem with my sitter. My child recently had a supposly had runny nose. When I dropped her off at the provider, she felt sad because she had never been without me -- and yet was completely joyful. The whole weekend, she appeared and felt fine. Ten minutes after I dropped her off, however, I received a call from the provider telling me my child had a runny nose which had to be wiped every few seconds. The provider then asked if my child had been to a doctor -- to which I replied no. The doctor, after all, would just say it was a cold and would likely go away in a few days. She responded by saying I should give my child over-the-counter medicine. Why should I do that when the cold will go away on its own? She said my child would need to be quarantined and wouldn't be allowed to play with the other kids. On top of it, she complained that she would have to clean everything afterwards -- which would take three hours. From my side, I was shocked. The provider hadn't provided a handbook and mentioned no rules involving sickness. Moreover, I had never signed a contract detailing what was expected. I feel deeply offended and will not bring my kids to her anymore. My son's last day was today -- and when I picked her up, I was told by the provider that he had given her grandson a sore throat. This despite the fact my son's nose had cleared and he seemed completely fine. As a final note, I do not appreciate the provider going onto craiglist and her blog and informing everyone about the situation. For her part, she has been a daycare provider for twenty years and yet does not even offer parents a handbook as to her policies. She aslo on her blog saying my husband and I are bad parent and we overreacting the problem. She aslo is making up stories about my husband about what he said over the phone. I'm over reacting? Should I warn other parents about her?

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So What Happened?

I decided just ignor her comments and move on.

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answers from San Francisco on


You were wrong and you day care provider is wrong.

I know of very few home care providers that issue a handbook. There is usually a form that establishes start/end time, days, cost of care, and an emergency contact card which contains the names and phone numbers of parents, family, friends, doctors, dentists, etc., who would be contacted.

It is generally understood if your child is sick, he/she should not be sent to school or day care. If a parent does elect to send a child to school or day care, it is the right and responsibility of the provider or school to contact the parent and advise that the child is ill or not feeling well.

Your provider did not ask that you leave work and pick your child up. She said that she would keep your child away from the other children. It is her job to consider the health of all the children in her care. To my knowledge there is no such thing as a “supposedly” runny nose, especially on a little child.

Only you, your husband and your former provider know what he said to her over the phone. Judging from the tone of your post, I suspect it was less then polite or professional.

The provider had no right to post anything negative about your family or your parenting style or ability. If it was slanderous and can be proven, should you elect to escalate the situation, there might be cause for a lawsuit. If you feel her day care business is not up to code, you could file a complaint. I recommend neither because it could prove costly for all involved.

While there are plenty of attorneys out there willing to take your money, once something like this gets to court (if it ever gets to court); judges find frivolous law suits very irritating.

This seems like a blown out of proportion situation on “BOTH” sides and an apology is due from “BOTH” sides.

The question is:

Who will be the bigger person?


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sounds like you may have a non licensed sitter. That could explain there being no contract or handbook. However, I had a similar experience when I babysat daily for a friend. Her child was "fine" until she came to my house. I was told she doesn't have a cold, it's just a runny nose. Well, for some reason, her runny nose always left my child ill for several days and me with a sore throat. That's more than a runny nose going on with the child and I finally had to tell her, AFTER THE 3RD TIME OF THIS HAPPENING, don't bring your child when she has a runny nose. At that point, I wasn't concerned about offending her because I honestly felt she wasn't being honest with what her child truly had. (However, I didn't go blogging about it either.) I had not contract, rules, handbook either. I had a sick child of my own that kept me up at night and that was enough to lay down a rule!

Sorry you are offended but if there's other kids in that home, she has every right to do what's possible to keep them all healthy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

Try looking at the situation from the sitters point of view. If she allows people to constantly come to her house with colds, then she gets the blame for spreading illness. If your child's nose is running nonstop, then chances are he or she is getting germs, from what ever he or she has, all over everything that is touched. It is a hard job trying to keep a group of kids healthy. Her other clients rely on her to do her best to make sure the other children are kept well. If an illness enters the daycare, it is best that she tells the other parents their children have been exposed to an illness. You would want to know if your child was exposed to one.

I don't condone her lies about people. She needs to state the facts. Such as, "A child came to the daycare with a runny nose."

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Use another provider and ignore her. Don't play into her madness. It will only make you look guilty. Make your statement with your feet (walk away!) and with your wallet (pay someone else!).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Little Rock on

OMG are you serious?!? First of all, not every runny nose is a cold or a virus! Me and my children both end up with runny noses during this time of year as the allergens are super high. I can't tell you how many times my kids and I have had allergy flare ups and our noses are the first thing that start! It doesn't mean we are SICK or contagious at all. Some children even cough when their allergies flare up! If she has been a daycare provider for 20 yrs then she should know a clear runny nose IS NOT a sick child! Now if it was green or yellow then yeah it most likely isn't an allergy. Good for you for taking your son out. How childish of this lady to bash you and your family on craigslist and her blog. Seriously? Are we in elementary school? If it was me I would probably give her an earfull before I left for the last time. Make your case so that SHE looks bad. I can't believe an adult would behave that way! CRAZY!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I do feel that you should have kept your kids at home if they were sick, even if it was just a cold. though she did not give you a handbook stating this most doctors will tell you to keep them from daycares if they are sick. now it is your business how you choose to treat the cold. And i must admit she does have a right to her opinion and however she chose to "voice" it is her decesion. was it tacky, yeah. but just like you are venting here on this site she chose to do it on craigslist. if someone asks you about her services tell them your opinion and your experiences but don't be spitefull like she was and add lies to it. don't stoop to her made the right decision by pulling your children if you were not happy with the way she ran her daycare. hopefully your provider will step up to the plate and your expectations and you all will be happy. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I find it odd that she complained about having to clean everything. Um, doesn't she clean everything daily anyway? I fully expect my child's day care or Parents Day Out to clean the toys and facility daily, whether or not any kids seem to be ill. You never know who might be sick/on the verge of getting sick without presenting any symptoms yet. Even the adults could be carrying something! I know that PDO is already cleaning when I get there to pick him up.

And no, I don't clean my own house daily, but I'm also not taking responsibility (and money) for keeping other people's children healthy. I do clean toys and common areas before and after play dates.

As for the runny nose, our ped has repeatedly told us, if it's clear, and there are no other symptoms like fever, lethargy, rash, etc., he is free to attend any activities with other kids. Could be a cold, could be allergies, could simply be a runny nose caused by dry air (we both wake up with them a lot). No day care or PDO has ever called me or sent him home because of it. I do mention it when I drop him off and they always say he is welcome to stay.

Sounds like pulling your children out was the right thing to do. She seems combative, childish and even a little lazy. Her suggestion of an OTC med was odd as well. Who knows what her supervision or environment was really like.

You are within your right to tell other parents your experience (I also had a bad in-home day care experience) if the situation is appropriate. Perhaps not by calling them up just to vent unless they are your friends or ask your opinion of her care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Listen to your intuition. My kids sometimes get a clear runny nose and it's fine. If it were yellow turning green, that's a different story.

I also have a different philosophy than most people, but then again I take personal responsibility for everything rather than blaming people. If my kids get sick, it's because their immune systems are down....and that's my fault - bad diet, not enough sleep, stress, etc. If the immune system is strong, no matter how sick someone is, you can't contract it from them. I am around sick people daily and I haven't been sick in over 2 years....and the last time I was, it was 3 days and I was done.

I have never given my kids antibiotics, over the counter cold medicines, etc. I use natural things, but like I said, that's me. (So this last recall didn't phase me a bit. ;)

Don't be offended, just move on and be grateful that your "lesson" was quick and it's clear by what you have written, she is unprofessional. Take your child out, take the high road and let it go. It's not worth taking any of your energy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

All you can do is tell other parents the truth if they contact you for a reference. I don't think you are over reacting. If she doesn't let you know her policies, then she does not sound very business like. I have been to several babysitters and they always go over their sick policy before I started using the daycare. Usually it is if your child has a fever they can not be in daycare. They have to be fever free for 24 hours before returning. Over the counter cold medicines do not cure the common cold. They only help the symptoms, and I agree with you for not taking your child to the doctor. There is nothing they can do, and it is a waste of money in my opinion.

From this point on I would break all ties from this woman. I would find another sitter and ignore whatever she is saying on her blog. She sounds very immature to be doing these things.

Best of luck to you

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

We have been at a few different daycares with our children, and NONE of them have provided a handbook on policies..and honestly, if they did....would you really read through it thoroughly and keep it handy when these things come up? About writing on her Blog...that is HER blog and she has the right to blog about anything she wants. Our daycare provider uses a blog and she NEVER names the children (besides her own family) or their parents. I enjoy reading the blog and finding out what she is experiencing with other parents as well as my own children (not to mention I love seeing the pictures of my children...who always seem happy and are enjoying themselves while in her care).

If you were using this provider as a full-time care, you should have asked about the sick policy. And if you are using them as a drop in should NEVER drop them off if they are even the slightest bit sick. The provider has other families and children (not to mention her own) to think about and ensure that their health is considered. I don't think she was out of place in suggesting that you try cold medicine or take you child to the doctor, was just a suggestion! I take all suggestiong that our provider gives into consideration because she sees my child more during the day that I probably do and can see those illnesses (not to mention she has way more experience being around children).

Anyways, these are my opinions. And as someone else are on here complaining about her posting comments on her blog and craigslist...but are you not doing the same on here???

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

People make some interesting arguments that I had not considered, a lot for you think about I guess! I would just like to add that I think you should take the high road and not do anything about her (very rude!) blogging and various other slander. I think you should just move on and continue in finding a new place for your child, but you really don't want to get in a "war" over this. If someone asks your opinion, give it, but don't jump on the "hate" bandwagon!


answers from Kansas City on

Assuming this provider did not use your name or provide identifying information about you in HER blog, she had every right to blog about this issue that all providers face constantly. As for Craigslist, it's true that there is a request for copies of other providers illness policies that was placed on there recently. Anyone can go and see for themselves that no parents name or identifying remarks was used. The question in fact was whether or not the licensing standards in Missouri changed over the years. In the late 80's and early 90's, no child was EVER allowed to attend a licensed facility of any kind in Missouri with a green runny nose. I know for a fact that my licensing rep repeatedly told me that she would discipline me if she ever found a child with a green runny nose when she visited.

The following are just a few written policies or statements made by daycare owners and parents from around the net about this stressful issue.

From a Daycamp Owner
My goal is to provide the safest, healthiest environment possible so your child can be healthy, happy and alert. It is vital that we are all diligent in making sure our kids are healthy for preschool each day. Whenever you are in doubt, please err on the side of caution and keep your child at home.

Common colds are often treated very casually and providers are often expected to care for children with a runny nose. Many parents believe a runny nose is harmless and not a reason to keep a child out of school.

A clear runny nose in most cases is an active cold*. According to the CDC, “When germs that cause colds first infect the nose and sinuses, the nose makes clear mucus”.

A cold virus can develop into other respiratory illness such as bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections. Every child's immune system is different and will respond in different ways to a cold. Please make sure your child stays home when he or she has a cold so that other children do not get exposed and so your child's immune system will have proper time to recover fully before being exposed to new illnesses in his or her everyday environment.

From a Church Daycare
We desire to have a healthy and safe environment for our children and volunteers. In order to help us stay healthy and save, please keep your child home if he is experiencing (or has experienced in the last 24 hours) any of the following:
- fever
- green or yellow runny nose
- diarrhea
- vomiting
- pink eye

From a Parent
I go with the criteria our daycare uses (which is what licensing uses). Green runny nose, productive cough, vomitting, diarrheah (sp?), fever over 38C = sick and can't go to daycare. Clear runny nose, dry cough == ok to go to daycare. The only time I'm more strict is if we are going to be around a new baby, then everyone has to be in perfect health or we cancel.

From a Doctor
I grew up hearing that a clear runny nose means a virus and a green or yellow nose means a bacterial infection, so it no surprise to me that others have heard it too. The only problem is that it is simply not true. I only wish it were that easy. The truth is that an antibiotic will never treat/cure a virus, and most colds are caused by viruses.

As far as the cleaning issue, it's true that all daycares should be cleaned DAILY. I know that I do clean my door knobs daily, wash my floors daily, wipe down the chairs daily, and use a light bleach/water/spray solution on the toys daily. However, there are other things not so easily washed for instance... Couches, the side nettings on cribs, stuffed animals, and BOOKS, computer keyboards, and electronic toys. These take much more time to care for because of the electronic parts that may not be sprayed or dunked. Also, lysol spray can not be used in a space with chemically sensitive people and there are several of those in my house/daycare. You tell me how to wash the snot off of books?!

Every provider and parent has to decide exactly what they want their children to be exposed to. It's true that parents would lose their jobs if they were to have to stay home for every single runny nose. However, I can only say that in my own daycare, I can not accept sick children with colds on an occasional drop in basis. There's just no reason to expose the other children to a cold for a child that isn't enrolled on a regular basis and for work purposes.

It sounds to me you might have been a little bit overly sensitive. I'm sure that your provider didn't intend to make you feel bad.



answers from New York on

is there a way to click reply on her blog? btw, great on taking your son out. usually daycare policies are related to fever (over 99.9) the child is not to be brought in. runny nose is a part of life. strep throat-keep at home. just what you would do with a child at home, if they're sick give lots of TLC. but if she's running her mouth on you i'd make her aware that you know she has been doing that and that it has to stop or you will notify other parents about the treatment you're getting from her.



answers from Jacksonville on

You should quarantine your child if you know he is sick, the provider should also not go on craig list to blog that kind of should be a private matter. You are right to take the child out of the daycare due to that alone. The provider was wrong for recommending medicine..that's your choice, but even though you know it's just a runny nose that will go away, it would not be nice to know someone else's child was making your child you should play it safe.



answers from Orlando on

You can't keep your kid out of school / daycare just because of a runny nose. If there is no fever and it's clear ... then what are you supposed to do?? I'm completely on your side. I'm glad you took your kids out of her home. Sounds like she just didn't handle the situation well. I wouldn't even respond to her, I'd just forget about her and cut all ties. Who cares what she says about you on her blog - if you are friends with any of the other parents who take your kids there and care what they think then I would probably talk to them about it and tell them your side. If you're not friends with them ... I wouldn't worry about it.

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