Childcare Conundrums, Solved

Sending Kids Home

I have to get him when he's really not sick.


Kate Miller

Ann Douglas, author of Choosing Childcare for Dummies (Wiley), remembers scrambling to find a sub to cover a college course she was teaching so she could pick up her 3-year-old son, Josh, when he threw up after eating a yellow crayon. "He wasn't sick," she groans. In fact, when she arrived on the scene, "he was actually dancing around in circles, happy as could be." Now Douglas supplies caregivers with a helpful checklist to read before asking her to leave work ("How to Know When Josh Is Really Ill").

What the experts say

Caregivers should know the basics of first aid, but sometimes they need to make judgment calls, so a symptom checklist can be helpful, Rigney-Hill says. And if there are still questions, a phone call will help them determine if they're really dealing with a sick child or if something else is going on. "You want that personalized attention when necessary," Rigney-Hill says. Still, some centers have a no-vomit policy, meaning if your child throws up, she goes home. But if your kid tends to vomit when she has a tantrum or she sees someone else throw up, tell the caregiver, who could try to avert such situations.

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