I arrived at my local kid class center a few minutes early. I was doing a makeup. I usually go to the class during the day. This was an early evening makeup, though. Immediately, I saw him: The little boy lying on the floor in the corner. His eyes glassy, his nose snotty. He was coughing. He kept coughing. And coughing. And coughing. I finally couldn’t help myself. “Does he have a cold,” I asked his mom. “Yes, he does,” she said with a smile. Then she corralled him into the gym with the rest of the 18 to 30-month-old kids. I went in with a bit of trepidation. Within five minutes, though, I was boiling mad, and on my way home. The kid did not stop coughing the entire time we were in there. Not even for a second. Cough, cough, cough without the benefit of a crooked elbow to stop the spread of germs.
That mom was a working mom, and that may be one of the reasons her kid was out in public with a hacking cough. Before you get upset or think I am bashing working moms, remember I am a working mom, too. I just have the benefit of in-home childcare. When my kids get sick, I take care of them or have my mom or husband here. That mom? I would bet anything that that mom brings her kid to a daycare center. She’s probably used to lots of drippy nosed, coughing little kids being around her kid, so she had no problem whatsoever exposing my little girl to her kid’s germs. It’s how she survives. If working moms had to stay home every time their kids got sick they would never get to go to work. They would be home all the time. And I am not saying anything negative about having your child in daycare, or choosing one daycare option over another. But back to my kid and that Typhoid Mark (or whatever his name is).
Lady, I get the fact that you can’t keep your kid home from daycare when he is sick. I do. I work full-time, too, but I can make my own hours. Most of these blog posts and probably 75 percent of my paid writing is done between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. You probably have a job that you need to be at, hence the kid in daycare issue. Trust me, I thank God every day that I don’t have that problem. But you can keep your kid home from an optional event like a class, playdate or family gathering without getting in trouble with your boss. And just to reiterate: It’s not just working moms who are guilty of this type of indiscretion. I’ve heard SAHMs say that yes, they should have stayed home from this event or that one, but they just couldn’t STAND to be home with their kid another minute. That they needed to get out, and it was really just a little sniffle anyway.
Well, whether you’re a SAHM or a working mom: If your kid has green boogies flowing out her nose, and she can’t stop coughing, she should be home. Sorry, I don’t care if you’re going stir crazy or you don’t feel like dealing with a sad, disappointed kid. Take her to a park. Take her for a walk. Bring her somewhere that she can’t infect someone else. Keep her away from my kid.
Not sure if you should keep your kid home? Here are some common sense guidelines. Pass them along to the mom or dad you know who has none (common sense, that is). These come to you courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association, which jointly published national illness exclusion guidelines in 1992, revising them in 2002. Kids should be free of these symptoms for a full 24 hours before mixing with other kids or until a doctor gives the okay.
- Fever over 100.5 Fahrenheit; children must be fever-free for a full 24 hours.
- Persistent diarrhea. (Meaning one or more loose stools and you should keep ‘em at home.)
- Two or more episodes of vomiting
- Any rash that has “open, weeping wounds.”
- Pink or red conjunctiva with white or yellow eye discharge, often with matted eyelids after sleep.
- Persistent, uncontrolled cough
- Lethargy that is more than expected tiredness
- Inexplicable irritability or persistent crying
- Difficult breathing
- Mouth sores with drooling
p.s. As of 11:54 a.m. ET: Some Facebook friends have said this post is especially harsh on working moms. As a child of a working mom (Dad died when I was six), I can remember going to school sick because my mom had no other choice. I have lived this. Of course I don’t think ALL working moms are thoughtless and careless, but some are. Some are, people. Just as some SAHMs are.
How do you deal with sick kids? Have you ever brought your sick kid somewhere that you shouldn’t have? What do you think of moms and dads who show such blatant disregard for other families? Enter the fray, people. Don’t be afraid…