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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Child Care And Disease

Let's face it. There are more germs in this world than we know what to do with and none of us lives in a bubble. So the threat of disease is always there no matter where we go. Unfortunately, this is an even worse problem at a daycare center for a number of reasons.

To start with, the number of things a child can run into at a daycare center are astronomical. A short list includes diarrhea, diphtheria, foodborne diseases, mumps, measles, chicken pox, and the list goes on and on. Just pick up a medical dictionary. At a daycare center your child has a good chance of getting it.

The question is why?

The answer is compounded by several factors. For starters, most children who go to daycare come from 'not so rich' families where both parents have to work, or even single parent homes. These families don't have the funds or the medical coverage to get their children properly immunized against certain childhood diseases. Others simply don't have the money or time to take their child to the doctor when they catch a cold. Left untreated, these mild problems soon become more serious problems. With all these children exposed to each other, the chance of someone passing along a nasty bug to your kid is pretty great. Many times you will hear of epidemics breaking out in these centers because of this very problem.

Another factor is that most children who go to daycare don't get the proper nutrition that they need. This lowers their resistance to disease because their immune systems aren't as strong as they should be. Again, this all goes back to the parent not having the funds needed to properly feed their child.

And finally, the last factor is the daycare center itself. Many are poorly heated because of funding problems. Also, because of low salaries it is hard to find qualified caregivers. Most of these people are working for minimum wage and need the money. So if they get sick, because many of these places don't have benefits, they have to come to work or they don't get paid. These workers end up passing along whatever it is they have to your child.

Unfortunately, there is not really a lot you can do to protect your child against getting sick while in the care of a daycare center. The best advice anyone can give is common sense advice. Feed your child as well as possible given your budget. Make sure your child at least has had all the standard vaccinations. If your child gets sick, bring him to the doctor right away. Don't wait until things get worse.

As far as the daycare center itself, try to find one that has a good track record. Ones that are sufficiently funded have a better chance of keeping your child well because their workers will have sick benefits and won't have to come in when not well and the environment itself will be better since most likely it will at least be properly heated.

No, we don't live in a bubble. But by taking some common sense measures we can at least give our child the best chance of not coming home from daycare with some terrible illness.

my 2 cents...

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