Sick Day: Plan for One Now

We’ve all had it happen. Our child wakes up sick, setting off a chain of events that could keep your child home and you out of work.

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By planning ahead, you can decrease the number of sick days needed for both you and your child.

According to a recent study by the University of Michigan, more than two-thirds of parents with young children reported their child missed at least one day of daycare in the past year because of illness, and more than one-third say their child missed three or more days during the year.

Count me among the later. And, with the winter upon us, runny noses and fevers are bound to sprout up at daycare. So what steps should you take now to make sure they have a minimum impact on you and your work schedule later?

Have a back-up sitter. Independent sitters are often too expensive on a day-to-day basis, but shelling out some extra bucks from time-to-time will help you preserve money in your paycheck that you might miss from days out of the office.

Ask your pediatrician the average wait for a sick visit. According to the same University of Michigan study, 8 percent of parents with kids in child care say taking their sick child to the emergency room is more convenient than seeing a primary care doctor.

For the record, I always receive an appointment the same day I call my daughter’s pediatrician for a sick visit. That gets her on the mend and us both back to business quicker. Find a doctor who can promise that convenience.

Check the standards of the daycare you use. My niece attended a day care that would send her home if she had the sniffles.  Not surprisingly, my sister nearly lost her job with all the absences she had to take. That facility’s standards didn’t make sense when you consider the science behind a cold. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, not every child with a runny nose or cold needs to be sent home.  Typically, colds are spread before a child has symptoms, so exclusion does not necessarily reduce the spread of illness.

Ask about the daycare’s exclusion policy and needle into how they decide to send a child home.

To find a pediatrician with the hours you and your child require, use the Vitals Doctor Finder (

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