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The Blog

Sending a child to daycare when sick

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When deciding to send your child back to school or daycare, remember to follow your facility’s rules. I know it can be frustrating as a working parent, but they’re important.

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Do you send your kid to school or daycare even if they’re sick? I know people do this. I sometimes have parents in my office asking me to write a letter for their febrile child to go back to daycare/school.

This is tough because I know working parents have it rough when it comes to sick days, but it’s important to keep our kids home from daycare if they have a fever. Remember viral infections can spread even before we know we are sick so of course these recommendations don’t account for that. My hope is that if you are able, you try your hardest to keep your child home if they are sick.

If my child has a fever, when can they go back?

If your child has a fever, don’t medicate them and send them to school. These are guidelines outside of COVID, of course. Your child must be fever free for 24 hours and with no fever reducing meds. For example, if the last fever was Monday night at 8 p.m., but the last fever-reducing med was Tuesday afternoon at 12 p.m., it’s best they return on Thursday. A. Full 24 hours without medicine or fever would be at 12pm on Wednesday. Fever is anything over 100.4F.

What about cough and cold symptoms?

For this one, follow guidelines from your child’s childcare facility or school. If there are no guidelines, it’s important to keep them home if they have fever or if the symptoms are causing them to be unwell. Coughs and colds can linger, but if your child is irritable, not active, and not close to baseline, keep them home. If your child is in good spirits with you then it’s okay to send them to be with other kids. Because coughs can linger, a child doesn’t have to stay home for every cough, but should if it’s in the beginning of the illness and/or they have a fever.

What about COVID?

If you’re unsure if your child needs testing for COVID-19, speak to your child’s clinician. Children with COVID-19 can have no symptoms, a runny nose, or a fever and a cough. Unfortunately, anything can be COVID, so the need for testing is something to discuss with your local clinician. They will decide based on the clinical picture, if your child is in school or childcare, as well as local transmission rates, if testing is needed. If your child is sick, you need to follow your school or daycare’s return policy. Check out my blog on what to do if your child tests positive for COVID.

Practice grace!

Parents need to stop blaming other parents. For example, blaming someone at drop off with a runny nose for getting your child sick. No need to virus shame! Parents should do they best they can with the knowledge they have. The reality is that germs spread. Young children and toddlers put their hands in their mouths all the time and with that come germs. Let’s remember everyone is doing the best that they can in what feels like a never-ending pandemic! For more, check out my Instagram post on this!

Watch my full YouTube video on fevers here, and my cough and cold video here!


Dr. Mona Admin

Hi there!

I’m a Board Certified Pediatrician, IBCLC, and a mom of two.

I know the ups and downs of becoming a mom and raising kids.

I help moms ditch the worry and second-guessing so you can find more joy in motherhood.


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All information presented on this blog, my Instagram, and my podcast is for educational purposes and should not be taken as personal medical advice. These platforms are to educate and should not replace the medical judgment of a licensed healthcare provider who is evaluating a patient.

It is the responsibility of the guardian to seek appropriate medical attention when they are concerned about their child.

All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer or hospitals I may be affiliated with.