Day care health risks
Children in day care centers are more likely to catch an infection than kids who do not attend day care. Children who go to day care are often around other kids who may be sick. However, being around the large number of germs in day care may actually improve your child's immune system in the long run.
Infection is spread most often by children putting dirty toys in their mouth. So, check your day care's cleaning practices. Teach your child to wash their hands before eating and after using the toilet. Keep your own children at home if they are sick.
INFECTIONS AND GERMS
Diarrhea and gastroenteritis are common at day care centers. These infections cause vomiting, diarrhea, or both.
Ear infections, colds, coughs, sore throats, and runny noses are common in all children, especially in the day care setting.
Children attending day care are at risk of getting hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.
You can do a number of things to keep your child safe from infections. One is to keep your child up-to-date with routine vaccines (immunizations) to prevent both common and serious infections:
Your child's day care center should have policies to help prevent the spread of germs and infections. Ask to see these policies before your child starts. Day care staff should be trained in how to follow these policies. In addition to proper hand washing, important policies include:
WHEN YOUR CHILD HAS A HEALTH PROBLEM
Staff may need to know:
You can help by creating an action plan with your provider and making sure your child's day care staff knows how to follow that plan.
Sosinsky LS, Gilliam WS. Childcare: how pediatricians can support children and families. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 17.
Waggoner-Fountain LA. Childcare and communicable diseases. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 174.
Review Date: 12/9/2016
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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