This Survey Uncovered Why Parents Send Sick Kids to School


The poll’s national survey of 1,442 parents of kids ages 6 to 18 released Monday found that the top factors in a decision to keep a child home are concerns that the illness will get worse or spread to classmates at school, NPR‘s Katherine Hobson summarized.

Also, the study found that parents are more likely to keep a child home with diarrhea, vomiting or fever, but send a child to school with a cough or runny nose.

When deciding whether to send a child to school, 2 in 5 parents of high schoolers view missing tests or instruction as a very important consideration, researchers discovered.

Interestingly enough, missing work was a “very important” concern of just 11 percent of those surveyed.

The University of Michigan’s Child Health Evaluation and Research Center published the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

Parents of older kids were also more likely to worry than parents of younger children about students missing tests or class time when making the stay-home-or-go-to-school decision.

“A lot of this is a judgment call,” says  Gary Freed, a pediatrician and co-director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

The decision may not be up to the parent, but the policy of the school. Freed’s colleague at the University of Michigan, pediatrician and pediatric emergency medicine physician Andrew Hashikawa, studies child care exclusion policies and says they vary from center to center, county to county and state to state.

He has found, for example, that even in a state that endorses the American Academy of Pediatricsguidelines for child care illness exclusions, day care policies didn’t reflect those guidelines.

If a child vomits two or more times within 24 hours, they should be kept home; and also for a rash only if it is  accompanied by behavior change, fever or drainage. Short-lived fevers are not reasons to call a parent or the doctor either given how common all of these symptoms are among very small children. They are not necessarily cause for concern. For older kids, yes.

Get more of the study HERE!

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