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Day Care Centers Too Quick to Send Mildly Ill Kids Home
Date:4/19/2010

d care center directors in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The five different symptoms or illnesses included in the scenarios were a cold, fever, ringworm on the scalp, pink eye and a stomach illness (gastroenteritis).

In each of these cases, the child shouldn't have been immediately excluded from day care. One exception, said Hashikawa, is if a child has diarrhea. When children have watery stools, they should be sent home, he said.

The AAP advises keeping a child with pink eye at home if there is discharge from the eye, however, even if he or she is taking antibiotic drops.

Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of the directors surveyed had never heard of the AAP/APHA guidelines, reported the study.

There researchers found variability between centers. Day care centers that had more than 10 percent of children receiving state-assisted tuition and those with a greater percentage of female heads of household were less likely to send kids home for minor illnesses, according to the study.

"This study highlights the need for ongoing training," said Hashikawa. "I think child care directors need more support and ongoing education."

Brian Crowe, executive director of the National Association of Child Care Providers, agreed. "Education is everything. If the directors of child care facilities and centers are well-educated and understand the recommended guidelines, then it's fairly clear which children should stay and which should go home."

Crowe said it's helpful to have a good understanding of what your child's day care center's policies are ahead of time. And, when your child starts attending a day care, "you need to invest in that relationship, and be sure to communicate," he advised. That way, if your child has a condition like allergies, your day care center probably won't send him or her home at the first sign of a runny nose if no other symptoms are present.

Hashikawa said one of the easiest ways to fi
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