Sharon's Giving Tree Family Dayhome

ABC's and Apple Trees -- Loving and thoughtful care for your child

Children get sick more often than we want them to - that is part of building a healthy immune system. It is ok to bring children to dayhome if they have a mild cold or are recovering from something more serious, like an ear infection or strep throat, as long as they are taking antibiotics for these conditions and are feeling well enough to attend.

You should not bring your child to dayhome under the following circumstances:

  • Fever over 100 degrees Farhenheit/ 37.8 degrees Celsius 
  • Any discharge from the eyes or ears (especially pinkeye) until after successful treatment
  • Head lice, until after successful treatment.  I understand that sometimes several treatments can be required to totally cure a case of head lice and will work with you to make sure that there is no opportunity for reinfection at dayhome or for one child to infect another at dayhome. 
  • Undiagnosed rash
  • Severe cough
  • Vomiting until 24 hours after symptoms have passed. Gastrointestinal bugs like a norovirus are highly contagious and can live on hard surfaces for up to 12 hours and on cloth or carpeted surfaces for up to 12 days.  I cannot look after other children and clean up after and care for a truly sick child at the same time.  If your child throws up in the night, it is your responsibility to keep her/him home that day.  If I become ill with a gastrointestinal bug after caring for a sick child, then following the guidelines of the Health Link program, my dayhome will be closed for at least two days to prevent me infecting the children:
  • Diarrhea that has multiple episodes and/or cannot be contained by a diaper until 24 hours after symptoms have stopped.  This delay is to ensure that the illness has truly passed. 
  • Oozing sores that cannot be kept safely covered with a bandaid-- these may already be infected and should be checked by a doctor anyway.
  • Communicable/notifiable diseases unless/until permitted by public health authorities in Alberta.
  • Any condition that makes a child too sick to participate in regular dayhome activities, or to go outside as usual. There is a difference between a child who is a bit cranky as they get over an illness and one who is lethargic and truly ill.

 If a child is too ill to participate in regular dayhome activities or becomes ill during the day I will contact you and we will decide what to do.  Any of the above conditions require an immediate pickup.

If you discover that your child has pinkeye or head lice on a weekend, it is very important that you phone to let me know as soon as possible.  These conditions are highly contagious and I will need to check other children and myself for infection and to do extra cleaning and handwashing at my home to prevent your child being reinfected.

This is not an issue much anymore, as my children are older, but if my own family members or school-age children are ill, and I feel that they are recovering enough for me to be able to care for and other children as well, I will isolate the sick child as much as possible and dayhome will remain open.  I will inform you of the facts and you can make a decision about whether you want to bring your own children. Unfortunately, many conditions are contagious before children even start to show symptoms and it is therefore very hard to limit their spread to other children in the home.  


Heath and Wellness

As a parent who has had a child in a daycare, I do know how frustrating and inconvenient it can be to have to miss work when your child is ill. It does get easier when one's children are older, but that is little consiolation.

Here are my best suggestions to help parents keep their children healthy and avoid the frustration of sick days:

  • You can make sure that the children's hands are washed before and after meals, after toileting and diaper changes, and after messy activities, after arriving home after outings, or after sharing toys with others. Good hand cream is a must!
  • You can make sure that your children eat properly and get enough rest, especially when they are under the weather to start with. This can be hard to do when families are so busy these days!
  • You can consider avoiding large gatherings of children during the winter months when colds, influenza and gastrointestinal illnesses are going around, especially if your children are young enough to still put everything in their mouths. 
  • If you vaccinate, you can get flu shots for your whole family and keep your child's immunizations up to date.
  • If you have a nursing baby, you can continue to nurse as long as possible - even part-time - to keep up the extra immune system benefits that breastmilk provides.
  • There are no guarantees, but children often seem to have fewer illnesses in the small group situation of dayhomes than they do in daycares.  I have certainly found this to be true with my own.
  • You can start your chils in dayhome or daycare a few weeks before you need to go back to work to give your child's immune system time to adjust.  My own daughter was sick for most of the first six weeks she was in daycare, but then the situation improved and lost time due to illness was much reduced.
  • A good naturopath can give you some great ideas for managing and preventing illness in your child.
  • You can plan for how to manage care for a sick child BEFORE your child gets sick and have a backup child care plan in place BEFORE the morning you get that phone call that your dayhome provider is sick. Even daycares can close due to unexpected staff illnesses or shortages.

My top priority as a dayhome provider is the health and safety of the children in my care, as well as of my own family.  I follow proper sanitary procedures for diaper changing and food preparation at all times, and teach the children about handwashing, proper nutrition, and safety rules.  These practices are summed up in this Alberta Government publication on healthy childcare:

Medication Policy

As a dayhome provider, I can NOT administer medications to children unless they have been provided by the parents, are contained in an original container with that child's name on it, and EACH DOSE is signed for in advance by the parents. My agency provides medication forms for this purpose.

Too many children have become injured or have died through accidental poisoning. All medications in my home must be locked up, and this includes medications and ointments left in purses or diaper bags. Medications that must be refrigerated can be locked up in our basement pantry room fridge!

It is the parents' responsibility to inform me at the time of drop-off of any medications contained in their child's diaper bag so that I can store them safely.

If parents are administering new medications, herbals or homeopathics to their children prior to coming to the dayhome, parents must provide written notice of this to enable the provider to watch for any unusual effects.  A text or notation in the margin of the sign-in sheet can suffice.