Monday, 8 August 2011

Please keep your germs to yourself

Don't get me wrong. I get how hard it is to be a working Mum. I struggle into the office three times a week.

My kids trip the light fantastic with their long day care teachers.

We juggle the drop offs and pick ups and the crazy scheduling.

We deal with the tantrums that result from looooong days out of the house. And dinner at 6.30pm. And the hurried race to the bath. And the rush through the stories and homework and everything else that needs doing before we can tuck our precious bundles into bed.

And it is because of this that I am so annoyed. I am pissed with parents who only think of their own needs. I am referring to parents who send their children to daycare when they are sick.

I am not talking about a cold (would any of us get out of the house in winter?), I am talking about fevers. Chesty coughs. Conjunctivitis. Hand, foot and mouth and the plethora of other viruses my kids have contracted from going to daycare.

If your child is sick, keep them home. It is as simple as that.

I know it sucks being unreliable at work. I know how hard it is to shuffle meetings and appointments and priorities. I know what it is like to be on a deadline and not be able to meet it. It is embarrassing and frustrating. I know. I have to have days off to attend to my sick children.

But I can't help but think that if more parents put their children's needs ahead of their own and kept their kids at home when they are sick, that fewer others would be impacted. If parents followed the rules.

It is not good enough to say "They had a vomit this morning but they seem fine now". Sorry parent. Leave it 24 hours. It is not good enough to mask the effect of a fever by dosing your child with paracetamol. They could be infectious. Please leave them at home for 24 hours.

The Minx and Dew Drop have been seriously ill for the past two weeks with a virus that I suspect they got from daycare.  To the person who thought it was a good idea to 'share the love', I want to throttle you. If only you knew the pain you have caused. If only.

Please keep your germs to yourself.

Is your daycare strict on infection control? What are your thoughts on people who don't play by the rules?


Chantel said...

Having worked on hospital wards and seeing how quickly bugs spread, I totally agree. I also get my knickers in a knot when people drag themselves into the workplace unwell - being martyrs. We get that you are sick, you don't need to come to work for everyone to see that you are, go home and don't spread your germs. I particularly got pissed at this when the swine flu was going around and people were still attending work with symptoms. Being newly pregnant and having not told work, I got so angry at people coming in to work knowing they were likely to have it. We have sick days for this reason!

1000 Homes of Happiness said...

I sooooo have a post like this brewing! Here, here I say.

Oh and I have overheard a parent comment, 'it's just mucky eyes, they are not catchy'. Says mother with a child with lashes glued together in green goop.


ClaireyH said...

I hear you!

Conjunctivitis was my worst enemy last winter.

Melissa Jane said...

I hate walking my daughter into school and hearing that horrible chesty cough. Or worse still, to jump on Facebook to hear a whole household has gastro, but I saw the kids at school. There are some things where it is not cool to share.

Mama of 2 boys said...

Oh how much I agree with you on this post! I am a newbie to the daycare system, BUT I feel very strongly about the sick children cause. Just 3 weeks into my return to work I had to take time off with my one year old... and he only had a cold, but I still couldn't bear the thought of leaving him when he wasn't well OR burdening the poor carers, who already have their hands full when the children are well. I would feel so incredibly guilty if my child infected another child. It's just not worth it. I will actually go as far as to say I don't appreciate when parents bring their sick children to birthday parties or play dates either. I might be seen as overly protective, but there are seriously too many bad viruses out there to take the chance. I do hope your little minx and dew drop get better real soon xo

Miss Pink said...

I'm with you!
A former childcare worker, and yep, it is disgusting.
I try to be sympathetic that people need to work and this is where they need to send their kids while they work, but it's not fair on those healthy kids and it's not fair on those parents who do the right thing and keep their kid home and inform the centre of any diseases that may have been spread (lice, Hand foot and mouth, chicken pox).

You know if your child vomits you're supposed to keep them home until they are 24hours vomit free?
A temp of 38 means a centre MUST call you. I assume so you can pick them up, otherwise why else would they call you?

Danger Boy said...

I really do hate the Petri Dish phenomenon of even short term daycare. Little Danger has picked up several fun and wonderful things from 1 hour stays at the local gym daycare. I find myself in total agreement with you.

Lea said...

i just stumbled across this post and HAD to comment! Thank you thank you! As a mama to a child with Cystic Fibrosis I feel sooo strongly about this. So many ppl have said to me things like 'oohhh itll build up her immune system' gosh it hits a nerve. anyway thank you for this post-it makes me feel a little less neurotic knowing that others feel it is not cool to share their germs:)

Victoria said...

My Monkey doesn't start daycare until January, but this is something that I'm seriously worried about. I think the exact same thing when children come to school sick as well.

Eloise said...

Yep, its up there with the 'nit' scenario. There was a period last year where i was doing my kids every 2 weeks only for them to come home a week later with a new lot from some kid who's mother either can't read (we all get notices sent home) or just doesn't care. Grrrr.

Quadmama said...

When a bug hits our house, it hits hard. The first year of preschool was miserable. My girls were sick all the time... because kids kept going to school sick. Yes, it stinks to have to tell work you're not coming in or to find alternate care, but what's the point of sending a sick kid to school? You're just dragging out the illness in your own child. I will say, though, that with multiples, I no longer keep all of them home if one is sick. Their immune systems are different and they don't all necessarily get sick just because one is. This past year one of my girls had a stomach bug for two days. She stayed home, the others went to school and none of the others caught the bug. Still, when one of them came down with conjunctivitis (from a classmate, of course) I kept everyone home. That stuff is nasty and so easily spread. We haven't had to deal with lice yet.

Cecilia @ Parenting Controversy said...

If I had a dollar for every time a working mother grumbled about this issue to me, I'd be able to buy Eloise (above) and every other family at her day care centre a lifetime supply of nit shampoo.

I agree that it is quite a selfish thing to do, not to mention unfair to their own sick child, but I do understand why parents do it - mostly because they need the money and/or don't want to put their job in jeopardy by taking too many days off. It really is a tough one!

My bigger gripe was the parents that didn't take any action on the head lice. I ended up hair spraying my daughters hair back into a bun every day so that the suckers couldn't get in!

Kate said...

I totally, whole-heartedly agree. My littlest son has been soooo ill this year...infection after infection....all from daycare (and he only attends two afternoons a week) His tonsils are so huge now he has sleep apnea and we have been waiting for 8 months to have then taken out. NHS waiting list times for tonsilectomy's in the UK are horrendous!

Hope M & DD get well very soon

sascedar said...

ugh. my head is itchy reading these comments. kids are home sick from school now and mummy's going a bit mad! i do know how tough it is when you are working casual days with no leave entitelements. i especially hate grown-ups who are 'too important' at work to stay home sick. healthy vibes for the small ones!

Anonymous said...

I used to get so annoyed when I would walk into the infant room when E was in daycare and I'd see these other kids drowning in snot or sounding like they had the equivalent of kennel cough. Of course, lo and behold, a day or two later that was my kid and I'd be working from home again.
so yes, I totally get what you mean and totally agree.
On the upside, having been a petri dish during those early year, now he hardly ever gets sick. (know on wood)

Diminishing Lucy said...

I totally agree. And I do play by the rules, always. (And am grateful that I've always been able to juggle.)

Now I am very close to the end of an seven year day care era I can comment and say this: there IS a positive to all this...

Olivia and Charlie and Lexie started catching other peoples germs from the minute they started child care - they all started when they were around 12 months old.

I drove round & round in frustrated circles from home to child care to office and back again. I felt like the minute I got to work, I had to go collect a sick child. And I did wonder whether the part time in the office work was ever worth it.

We have had chicken pox, slapped cheek, foot and mouth and a plethora of coughs, colds, fevers and vomits.

BUT here's the thing: 7 years on - their immune system is now as robust as an adults. They now just do not get sick. All three of them have strong constitutions.

Olivia is in the middle of year two and has had zero sick days from school. Because she has not been sick. Not even a cold.

Charlie has had one day off in the past year - for a bashed nose. But has not had a cold or a virus or a vomit for over a year.

Lexie is shaping up to be the same.

SO I realise now that the early years of child care germs mean that we get that era of catching everything in sight over early.

Instead of missing chunks of school in junior primary, and the associated chunks of learning, they are fighting fit already, and robust and ready to go...

So, I agree. But there is a silver lining.

When Lexie starts full time in October, I honestly believe I will be able to drive to the office and actually stay there...


Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Hear, hear! I have two kids at home today, while I'm trying to work, move house and edit a book. It's bloody inconvenient. Yes, I am my own boss, so I don't have to explain the sick days, but still. I think it's important for working parents to remember that if you're both working, you both have sick leave you can use. Sometimes Dad has to stay home with the sick kids. Team effort. And then the rest of the world doesn't suffer quite so much.

Anonymous said...

So very very true!! And especially painful when the illness lasts and lasts and you rack up doctor appointments and sick days and poor little kiddos who have NO IDEA why they feel so horrible.

My only wish is that there were a fool-proof indicator when something is more serious than a little cold. A flashing sign above the head saying "I'm sick, really bloody sick. Make me stay home!" ??

Mel said...

Oh yes! Thankfully our daycare is pretty good - if they have a temperature or are showing any other signs of illness (throwing up, diarrhoea, etc) they have to have at lest 24hrs off and for severe cases, require a doctors certificate to say that the child is OK to return.

Its frustrating when my daughter gets a temperature because she's teething rather than being sick, but I would much prefer to take the day off and look after her when she's obviously going through pain than send her and have her miserable and missing her Mummy and Daddy.

I wish my colleagues would think like this as well - coming to work and coughing over everyone and getting everyone else sick is not fair - I'm a contractor so I only get paid when I work - I don't get paid leave, but they do - use it for goodness sake! I need to save my days off for when my kids are sick and need me.

Maxabella said...

Grrrr... this really gets me wired. I think it's the most irresponsible thing. And while they're at it, they can keep themselves home from work as well. I'm sick of people who won't be sick! x

Shelly - Tropical Mum said...

This is a huge pet peeve of mine also. One of my close friends does it ALL the time. Drives me barmy. Wrote a blog post about it hoping she'd take the hint, but no such luck.

The other day, our coach made his son play in the soccer game despite a fever of 40C and then made him shake hands with all the kids of the opposing team. Grrr.

Anonymous said...

Having worked in childcare for years, I can't tell you how many nasty conversations and phone calls I've had with parents over this. No matter how politely you explain that not only is their own child unwell, they are risking the health of all the others in their environment, some parents just don't get it. Makes me stabby. Really.

Rhonda said...

I hate this! I never sent my son to daycare with a fever or if he'd thrown up. The pre-school that he attended (after several trials of other less than satisfactory places) had a strict policy. Fever free for 24 hours, throw up/diahrea free for 24 hours, no green/yellow snot, absolutely zero eye infections, no lice, etc.

We did have a local hospital that had a "sick" child daycare. It was drop in and RN's ran it. A lovely alternative for those that absolutely could not miss work.

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

Oh, please let me stand up on my little rant box, and adjust my collar. *ahem* this drives me crazy!! I don't have daycare but I do have a little boy who has a tendancy to be sick rather a lot. Not tiddly sniffles, but really, really sick. Some times an easy whole week out of each and every month, and way too many hospital visits for a little person to have had. Friends who come over and say, ah yes, T was projectile vomiting this morning but he seems fine now. Or H has had diarrohea all week, and still hasn't got rid of it.... PLEASE!! stay at home and don't share the love.
ok, big breath, I'll step down now.

Melissa said...

I overheard a mum at kidder telling another mum that her precious one was sick but she wasn't going to keep her at home (from sessional kinder!! the mum wasn't even going to work). This was the day I was bringing my son back to kinder after he was sick with a virus ... not impressed.

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