Skip to main content

An Open Letter To Parents of Small Children

I'm not really quite sure what I want to accomplish by this "open letter," other than to blow off some steam and possibly (read: highly unlikely) change a few people's minds (probably after pissing them off), but let me preface it with the following statement: My blog posts are, in general, not bitchy, judgmental or negative in nature, nor do I like to have those aforementioned adjectives be a part of my life either, so this topic has been brewing for quite some time. And I'm usually quite a nice and polite person.

Here's the topic: PARENTS: Stop knowingly bringing your sick and contagious child around mine!!!!! 

Now, I'm writing this from the standpoint of a parent of a youngin' but also as a provider (speech therapist) to many MANY young children. I'm also writing this with full acknowledgment that it may be misconstrued as rude, unthoughtful, snotty, and cocky. For that, I will only say that is not my intention, but DAMN. 

I feel like I can't so much as take my kid to daycare/nursery at church/birthday parties/WHATEVER without having hell to pay for anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks in the form of a resulting illness. Yes, I know. I KNOW. Kids get sick. Kids are, by definition, little germ collectors. Seriously, I looked "kid" up in the dictionary and that is what it said... (I kid).

So, I know that we sometimes don't know our little angels are shedding an "Exorcist"- style puking virus until it's too late and the whole daycare goes down with them. I myself have unknowingly taken my daughter to daycare when she was in the early stages of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease and all but two kids from the daycare got it. So, I understand accidents happen, and I'm not talking about you guys!!!

I'm talking about the parents who ignore their better conscience for WHATEVER reason (job responsibilities, selfishness, ignorance) and take their fever-ridden, rash-covered, diarrhea-having little angel around other kiddos so they can all share germs. And, yes, if you can't tell, that makes me ANGRY! 

I have heard all the excuses in the world: 

"Well, he was up all night puking, but this morning he seems to be acting just fine." 
(My response: if it hasn't been 24 hours AT LEAST symptom-free, I care not.) 

"I can't miss any more days at work, or I will get fired." 
(My response: Oh, well it's certainly ok for you to get my kid sick so I have to miss work then though, right?)

and, one of my personal favorites: 
"Well he's ok if I give him tylenol." 
(My response: BECAUSE THAT'S A FEVER REDUCER.)

.....or maybe you just don't want to deal with your snotty, poopy, crabby kid while they are sick. (Yea.... I said it.)

Side note: To those parents who think "Well kids get sick, and that's what happens when they go to daycare/the park/school/McDonald's, so it's going to happen anyways, therefore we aren't going to change our plans because Little Johnny is sick." Please don't make decisions for me. PLEASE. 

See, the problem with kids who are sick (and their healthy counterparts) is this: they don't really understand "universal precautions." They don't see any problem at all with sticking their fingers in other kid's orifices. Snot on a ball? No problem! Half-eaten goldfish on the ground? MINE! Sippy cup of unknown origin on floor? I'm THIRSTY! 

And, therefore, little Tommy who puked 13 times last night, but sure as hell is running around like a monster right now, has contaminated everyone in Sunday school class.

We can't expect our children to tell us as parents that maybe they shouldn't go to school today since they aren't feeling well. It is up to us as parents to use our noggins and rub some brain cells together. Now, contagious periods for some typical children's illnesses are super vague. I read that the Hand Foot and Mouth virus can stay in poop for MONTHS. So, sometimes that isn't very helpful. 

But there are some general precautions you can take as a parent if you care about not getting a bunch of other children sick.

- Get a doctor's note. Most pediatricians will be pretty straight up about how long your kid is contagious. 
- 24 HOURS SYMPTOM FREE- as a GENERAL rule, as in a MINIMUM. If Little Sarah had fever (not talking low-grade but over like 100-101 degrees) at 3pm today, she should probably stay home tomorrow. If Little Ashley woke up in a bunch of her own puke this morning, she should probably sit daycare out today. My personal opinion on this is that runny nose and/or mild cough need not apply to this rule. Everyone has a cold from November-March in Chicago, and virtually every little kid I come into contact with has a snotty nose at least 80% of the time. I'm talking vomit, diarrhea, fever, pink eye, etc. 
- Do look up the contagious periods for common diagnosis. I wrote up a handy blog post on this topic last time I felt the need to express myself about this, which can be found here. But if you found this blog, you can find your way to Google and find out information for yourself on whatever specific ailment. Just make sure you are going to a reliable source, like the CDC. 
- Do err on the side of caution. Please. Some of these "contagious periods" are about as clear as mud, and if the parameters are like 2-14 days or something crazy, maybe you could at least limit exposure to other kids for 7-10 days, instead of trucking the kid to so-and-so's birthday party after it's been 48 hours on the dot. 
- Wash hands frequently. Soap and water, people. The antibacterial stuff is good too if you can't access soap and water, but wash their little hands (and yours too) frequently. 

Although this letter is addressed to parents of these little cherubs, I'm also extending this notice out to volunteers, daycare providers, teachers, babysitters, WHOEVER is in the business or position to take care of several kids at once. Have an illness policy. Stick to it. More than just a sign on the Sunday school door that says "Don't drop your kid off if they are sick." Have an illness policy that everyone has to sign that clearly states what your expectation is of them when it comes to children attending. Now, more informally, say for a play date or a birthday party, be that Nazi parent. Include a statement that says please be 24-hour illness free. Confront a parent who has their rash-covered angel in the bounce house with all the other kids. I think some people think that "Oh surely parents know that." But I'm here to tell you, as a speech therapist of many children who see many many parents, they surely do NOT. 


There are many, many things that I am a pretty laid-back parent about. But when we can't even go to church without my kid getting Hand Foot and Mouth disease or a 2-week long stomach virus from HELL, it starts to rub me the wrong way. 






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How to be a Housewife (Without Feeling Like a Slave)

Now, don't get the wrong idea here... I'm not sending a passive aggressive message out there to men (do men even read blogs?) that women hate doing house duties. We love it - right, ladies??? (wink, wink) And I'm not complaining either. (Although I do despise laundry, I love a clean house; so it's a double-edged sword.) One thing I'm BIG on is positive thinking. Sometimes, it is hard to be positive if you are feeling overwhelmed with dishes, laundry, cleaning, cooking... oh yeah... LIVING IN and maintaining a home. So, I thought sharing my thoughts on this topic could maybe help some disgruntled wifeys out there.



1) Don't hate, delegate- I'm a huge fan of starting young with manageable tasks around the home. There are a bunch of lists floating around the interwebs of chore lists for kiddos, and a lot of them are pretty dang silly (one suggests letting a 2-3 year old put dishes away, um no!)  -- but my favorite one is fromKids Activities Blog. 

2) Be thankful

Tips on Survival with a Sick Baby

Any parent can tell you that life can be turned upside by a sick child. Sleepless nights, lots of crying (you and the baby!), routines are thrown out the window... it's just for the birds. And to make it even worse, you as a parent are playing a guessing game of what is ailing your child specifically in some instances.

So, I don't know about y'all, but this winter season has been a real fun one for Boo. We have had 4 ear infections, a stomach bug, and RSV. I don't even know how to quantify the runny noses, because it has been constant. I know that I am lucky that she is otherwise healthy, so I will go knock on a million pieces of wood now.

I have learned from experience (at least 5 trips to the emergency room and 2 hospital stays unfortunately) that earaches/throw up/fever hits in the middle of the night 9 out of 10 times, and at least the first time, you are GROSSLY unprepared. I hope this blog post can change the second part for some new parents out there.

(Editor…

Airport Travel: Diaper Bag Do's and Don't's

So, many of you know that in just two short days I will be traveling solo to Santa Fe, NM, from our home in Chicago. And with me, I am bringing my little bambina Beulah, all of her stuff, and a lot of prayers. Packing for this trip is like packing Madonna up for the zombie apocalypse. Beulah has A LOT OF STUFF.

We have done two big trips with her over the last almost 7 months. The first was a plane ride to Texas in October, when she was about 4 months old. I was with my husband. She promptly had blow-out diapers as soon as the plane took off both there and back. But, overall, it wasn't bad. We were headed to Texas (the best place EVER); we could have arrived covered head to toe in Beulah spit-up/poop/pee/whatever, and I wouldn't have cared!!!!! But I still packed a bunch of crap that I really didn't need for the plane ride. The second trip was a cross-country 15-ish hour drive from Chicago to Pennsylvania to see her big brother. Frequent stops for coffee and bottle water …