Frequent Colds at Daycare/Preschool

Archived Q&A and Reviews


How can I reduce the numner of colds from daycare?

March 2010

My daughter has been attending a daycare with a 4-5:1 ratio of adults to children since October. The kids are 2-6 years old and my daughter is 2. I've been happy with everything about the daycare except for the fact that my daughter and I have had colds and flus for the entire season (I rarely got sick last year or the year before.) There are also some kids who come afterschool (who I suspect bring viruses home from OUSD.) Am I crazy to think that I might not be so sick if there was a higher ratio of adults:children to help enforce the handwashing and cleaning the toys at night and keep an eye on the little ones. Or are the persistent seasonal colds inevitable? What experience do other BPN community members have with their children in preschool or daycare? Would our exposure to germs be reduced if she attended a preschool with no after school program? My husband tells me that I'm crazy and that she'd just pick up the germs elsewhere (YMCA, playground, Habitot.) Becoming a germophobe

Every human being has to build an immunity system. Kids in daycare have the (to my mind) distinct advantage of doing it early. Yes, they come down with everything and bring all of it home, and their grown-ups catch whatever they bring home. It is a drag. On the other hand, the kids in my daughter's preschool and kindergarten who were home with nannies during the daycare and/or preschool years got to go through the whole immunity-building process at a later age.

At my daughter's daycare they kept everything scrupulously clean, washed hands, etc. Same at her preschool. This is just something to live through. Glad we built her immune system early

My children are now 3, 5, and 7, and have been in nanny shares, preschools, and now OUSD. What I have observed is two things: First, this has been a particularly difficult cold/flu season relative to years past, with our whole family more sick than usual - my daughter had pneumonia over the holidays and my son is just finishing up his third ear infection in as many months. In prior years, they have had just one cold each, if at all. Second, I have observed that absent a cold/flu season like we've had this year, the frequency of colds abates over time as the kids are exposed to germs and develop their immunities. Since my kids started early in nanny shares (4 months old), they started getting exposure right away. Yes, there were colds when they started preschool, and again in OUSD kindergarten, but I did notice that they were not as sick as kids who were just entering ''group'' environments for the first time in each of those scenarios. So, I don't think having a higher ratio of teachers is going to change this issue dramatically. I just hope that next year is a little milder! Mother of 3

The ratio at your child's school is very good. I think your husband is right when he says your child could pick up germs from just about any place. I am a mother of two older children and have worked in preschool for over 20 years. My experience is that some children are more prone than others to getting sick the first years of school. In my opinion and from experience, it is ''better'' in a way that they get sick in the early years while in preschool than when they are older, attending elementary school. My first child never went to preschool therefore she was sick a lot from k through 2nd grade which affected his education somewhat for having to miss school so much. In the other hand my younger child was practically born in a daycare and has been hardly sick since kindergarten. She got her immune system built up at the early age after getting all the colds and flus she was exposed to. I's a trade off. mother of two

My son started day care (private home, 14 kids, 3 ''teachers'') when he was 6-months-old and within the first WEEK got his first of only 2 fevers he's ever had (and he's 6 now). That first year in day care, he was sick all the time and I got them too: the worst colds I had ever had. I felt incredibly guilty and wondered the same thing.

But, first, it's impossible for any day care or preschool to control germ spreading totally. They slobber and crawl around and touch each other. It's natural.

In the long run, after that first year, the colds reduced and by the time he got to preschool, he was rarely sick and this year in kindergarten he has NEVER been sick.

I think the colds are good for building immunity. Just work through it and you'll build resistance as well (I am rarely sick as well...and I got sicker more often when i worked in an office because the grown ups never took sick leave when they were contagious).

I'd say just be careful and try to avoid ear infections or bronchitis. Keep your baby home if they run a fever or are vomiting and follow the day care rules and just work through it and hopefully you'll emerge with you and your baby having a killer immune system.

My kids are both rarely sick and they run around barefoot, never really had a sterile environment. I think they're better off. They eat sugar sometimes. Watch tv. Are very active. I also didn't breast feed or do any of the things that supposedly boost the immune system so if you look at me on paper, my kid should be a developmentally delayed diabetic kid with lots of ear infections. He's none of those and neither is my daughter. antibodies of steel

A higher ratio of adults won't do a thing (and that's a pretty good ratio to start). What's their policy for kids who come after school? Are the kids required to wash their hands? I'd just keep asking about those policies, and if they can't keep up on it, you might want to switch away from what sounds like a family day care to a real preschool, where hand washing is almost a religion. That said, there's a good chance you're just getting used to all the viruses out there... (did you and your baby get your swine flu and regular flu shots?)

I hear your frustration. It's terrible being sick all the time! Really takes a toll. This is so common. Daycares are germ factories, there's no way around it. This is your first year, right? It will be MUCH better next year, I promise. You'll all have much better immunities. We were going crazy last year with my daughter's daycare. We were sick all the time and I was like you becoming germophobic, prohibiting my husband from sharing food with my daughter, wiping her hands as soon as I picked her up. All to no avail. This year, it's night and day. We've hardly been sick at all compared to last year. So arm yourself with plenty of kleenex, hand sanitizer, motrin, soup and tea. In fact, I put all our sickness supplies in a paper bag labeled The Sick Bag. It's ready to go when anyone starts feeling bad. No running to the store at the last minute. Hang in there! anon

My daughter (now 2-1/2) and I get sick over and over. This is the sickest year of my life. She is part of 4 populations: part-time daycare, Saturday play group, Sunday Church daycare and weekly language class. We both have had a slight lingering cough for several months. I don't feel that sanitation is the issue. we cover our coughts and wash a lot. Hope our immune systems catch up! There seems to be this conventional wisdom that it takes 2 years to adapt to lots of people/kid exposure. We'll see. Hang in there. Take good care of yourself! Sick for 2 years?

The adult/child ratio that your cay care has is quite exceptional (for kids over 2, the state mandates something like 12 to 1), so I don't think that you are going to find a better ratio.

Fact is, kids get sick. I am not sure that it is possible to get the flu multiple times in one season -- perhaps you are just getting lots of really depends on the kid. My 7-year-old never gets colds (she sucks her thumb!), but my 5-year-old gets multiple colds per season.

In my mind, colds and other stuff aren't a big deal -- it is the cleanliness stuff (hand and foot, uti, etc) that are of far greater concern. a mom

My 2.5-year-old son has been in part-time preschool since summer, and I found we've had a lot more colds during this fall/winter season than ever before. It seems like once we all recovered from one cough-and-cold episode, the next one is already upon us. I've been writing it off as unavoidable cost of having a toddler in daycare, but then friends with kids at home also reported constant sicknesses this season. So, perhaps it's just a bad season this year.

I do not blame our preschool because I know they do everything right - washing hands, removing toys that got into a child's mouth, but you really cannot stop physical contact between kids... of course they touch their runny noses and then friends' faces... no amount of adult supervision can prevent that. And, since colds/flus are often contagious for a day or two before symptoms even show up, you have to expect virus transmission in a social setting like preschool/daycare. On the plus side, I think my son is building up some immunity, since he doesn't tend to come down with anything after visiting places like Habitot. Colds happen...

Our daughter started at a small daycare with a similar ratio in January '09. That first winter was awful for everybody. Our whole family was pretty much continuously sick with horrible colds from January through mid-April (and my husband and I never used to get sick). I am happy to say that this fall/winter we have all had only one or two minor colds so it does get better. Unless you do a nanny share with only one or two kids I think this is just something you have to go through. Rebecca

Toddler has been sick 10 times in 7 months

Jan 2010

What is normal? My daughter has been going to daycare for about 7 months (started when she was about 4 months old). Since then, she's been sick about ten times including a UTI, Roseola, stomach illness, and bronchitis in the last 3 months alone. Question: Is this to be expected in a daycare setting given the winter season and that her immune system is still developing? Of course mom and dad are also sicker than ever before. Not sure if we should shop around for a smaller place or whether we'd find the same elsewhere. Transitioning is never easy... - Sick-as-a-dog moma

My first born started daycare at 6 months and he and I were sick nearly the entire time. He had colds constantly and so did I--and colds that I had never experienced. He also ran one of his three fevers in his six years of existence. Eventually, we built up immmunity because now both of us (and my 3 year old daughter) are rarely sick and if we get colds, they are so minor.

Every kid is different, but the other things you describe have me a bit concerned. Not sure if those are day care issues or not.

But, you toss them into a big germ pool and you need to work it out. I don't believe in being a complete freak about the sterile stuff. Babies crawl and touch each other and even the best day care can't prevent it. You could make sure that they are following a good sick policy (sending babies who have fever home, etc.) and clean the toys and floors regularly.

Good luck, but your you and your baby will be build resistance. anon

My guess is that you've just had a string of bad luck. My son had six colds in his first four months of child care--and this was at the best-practices based center at our university. You could not ask for better care there. They follow all the rules for handwashing, spray the diaper-changing area with bleach solution after each use, give the kids lots of fresh air and outdoor time even in the winter to reduce transmission of viruses. But even they cannot beat all germs. This fall my son had several colds and hand-foot-and-mouth disease. It's just the way it goes. Certainly you can ask them about their practices to prevent spread of illness. If they don't make handwashing, changing-station cleaning, etc. part of their regular practices, that would be a problem. But even if they do--your kid will still get sick. It is indeed part of building an immune system. Getting over a cold as I type this

The first winter in daycare is just awful, unfortunately, but 10 episodes in 3 months seems like a little much. The UTI is also worrisome - it might be a sign that her diaper isn't getting changed often enough. How big is your daycare? I have my 1-year-old in a home daycare with 5 other kids - it cuts down on the number of potentially sick kids she's exposed to, and the kids get a lot of attention and frequent diaper changes. good luck!

Hi there -- I know how you're feeling; my son also started daycare at 4 1/2 months and up until about age 1, I felt like he was sick every other week. It's hard on everyone -- the baby, of course, but also you and your partner. You get at least half of the illnesses that he gets, sometimes you feel a lot worse, and you can't afford any more time off, because you already took so many sick days to care for your child. But have faith, you're almost done with the worst of it! For us, there was a huge drop-off in the number of illnesses (and the severity) after around 10 - 12 months. My theory (no evidence to back this up) is that the day care has a group of viruses that circulate and once the kiddos get exposed to most of them, they get a lot less sick. One thing we DO have evidence for: all kids get these illnesses. Kids in day care get them earlier; other kids get them in pre-school or primary school. Some of the illnesses are worse in infants, but a lot are actually worse in older kids. Kids who were in daycare have less absentee-ism in primary school because they were exposed to everything earlier. So, it's hard, but unless you have other concerns about your daycare, I'd urge you to stick it out, because I bet you're about to turn a corner and it will be MUCH better! Handwashing mama

I can only tell you that I really regret leaving my son in a daycare where he similarly got a UTI and constant colds, one of which developed into pneumonia. His pediatrician told me that my son probably got the UTI because he was left unchanged. The daycare was legendary and I felt (and was often told) that I was so lucky to have secured a spot, and so I kept my son long past the time when my misgivings told me to leave. I knew that the provider wasn't sterilizing spoons and forks each time they were used, for example; she just washed them in the sink and recirculated them. I tried bringing my son his own plates and cutlery and they just disappeared into the mix.

My son had something like 14 colds that year; his younger sibling, whom I put in a nanny share, had two. He had to take antibiotics multiple times, including for the UTI and the pneumonia, and I suspect that the effect of the antibiotics on his digestive system may have had something to do with his constipation for years afterwards. He also had pneumonia two times more in pre- school,which is very unusual, and I was told by a nurse that the thing is that if you have it once, your lungs are weaker for several years afterward. So these serious illnesses, like your child's bronchitis, are not good.

My sister's father in law is a doctor and he would get very upset when his grandson was given antibiotics as an infant because he said it would compromise the immune system for years to come. You're right to question whether to keep your child in a situation where he is constantly exposed to other kids' illnesses.

If you can, I would find a nanny share or babysitting arrangement asap. A child so young doesn't really need the social interaction with multiple kids yet. And if your child is sick less he can attend more. When my son was sick home again for the umpteenth time, keeping us from going to work, my husband used to say, we're playing roulette and the daycare is the house. another mom

When my son was small, I was told by a nurse-practitioner that, when a child entered daycare and was around significant numbers of other kids, the parent should expect about 2 years of the child getting sick all the time. This was a time when the child would catch all of the common illnesses and build the immunity to them. It didn't matter when the kid started (i.e. this could start as an infant in daycare, could start in preschool, could start in kindergarten), it would still last two years, and the severity of illnesses wouldn't really change.

In my case, the NP was spot on. My son started a family daycare at 15 months (a small daycare, about 8 kids total). We had RSV, we had the flu, we had hand foot and mouth twice, we had cold after cold after cold. When he started in preschool at just over 3, he suddenly stopped getting sick so often (more like one fever-producing illness and several barely-noticeable colds each winter).

This winter, I don't even think he's had a cold yet. Hasn't missed a day of school due to illness (knock on wood). Last winter, he missed a total of four days. When he gets a cold, the only way I know is he coughs a little and nose runs. So not a big deal.

Summary: what you're going through is normal, it will probably last about two years (i.e. two cold/flu seasons), and you might as well get it over with. Another, smaller daycare probably won't help. It's hard while it's happening, but it ends. Karen

That sounds like an awful lot of illness! Of course it's good for the immune system, but I understand - you just want your kid to be well for a while! Makes sense. I would recommend switching to a nanny share - the cost is probably not much more than daycare (normally around $10/hour) and the exposure to other kids and their germs is (obviously) much more limited. We loved our nanny shares, and they are very easy to find now - lots of openings and lots of flexibility. I'm sure you can find a great one.

Or you can stick with daycare and hope that spring and summer will bring fewer illnesses... Good luck!

I would not say that is normal. My daughter started daycare this past fall at 3 months and she has had a total of 2 colds. That's all. She hasn't had to stay home any days from care b/c the colds did not have an accompanying fever.

She is in a group setting with 9 babies (her and 8 other babies - none of them older than 18 months). I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect babies to share germs and I appreciate the strengthening her immune system is getting. But I would not be happy if she came down with the list of illnesses you describe.

I don't think you need a smaller setting, I think you need a setting that does a better job keeping little ones from sharing germs and enforcing sending kids home when they are very sick. It can work in a large setting

I think it might be unavoidable unless you're a stay-at- home parent. My son started daycare at a very clean place when he was eight months and he got sick the first week, then stayed sick for months (colds, fevers, ear infections, eye gunk etc). All the kids had runny noses constantly. My daughter just started there and she's been sick twice in a month. Grr. I've heard from others that it's normal. Anon

Absolutely normal for many kids! My daughter went to an excellent, very hygienic childcare that in retrospect was probably too big (for her). She had some sort of respiratory virus, literally, for a YEAR-only a few weeks the entire time w/o a cough, ear infection or cold. It wasn't some horrible illness as I suspected, just one thing after another. What mystified me is that her friend in the same center was never sick. At 2 the illnesses stopped-and she wasn't sick again until age 6! Went a whole year in K-when all the other kids were passing all the bugs around-& didn't catch a thing. Between 6 & 8 she's been sick 3 times-a regular amount. So, I guess that's just the way her immune system developed. Much later, I read medical advice that made a lot of sense-children under 1 should be exposed regularly in childcare to no more than 6 kids to minimize their illness exposure. It was hellish at the time...but it didn't last forever. anon

3-year-old is constantly sick

March 2009

My almost four-year-old son has been constantly sick for the past few months, I mean really sick. I have been unhappy with the traditional medical doctors (Kaiser) explanation of: children get sick and they can catch a different virus after the other. I'm just not buying this anymore. He had a cough, fever and then developed pneumonia, which was treated with antibiotics and inhalers. I sent him back to preschool, and then four days later, he has another fever and cough. I've tried to eliminate dairy from his diet, with the exception of goat milk products. He is on the thin side, but at a normal weight. He has missed almost two months of school, but I am more concerned with his health. I'm looking for alternative treatments, suggestions, altering his diet, any homeopathic assistance. Please help!

I think what you experience is fairly normal, unfortunately. ABs help you get better in the short run but weaken the immune system in the long. Not sure about the dairy decision, in fact during and after a course of AB you need to take yogurt because it helps restore the normal flora in the stomach which has been killed by the AB. After pneumonia the immune system is normally compromised and you catch viruses easier so you need to be watchful for your kid. But I know how it is - daycare=lots of sick time at home. He will get better soon. Z

Your message made me wonder about something at the preschool causing the illness. Particularly the reoccurance just four days back to school. While viruses from other kids might be an issue I wondered also about the environment and mold in particular. Is the preschool well ventilated? Is the heating system properly maintained-moldy filters changed regularly? Are other children sick there? There is a pediatrician at Kaiser Oakland named Katrina Saba who we like and trust for occaisional childhood mysteries if you are Kaiser members. There is also a senior pediatrician at kaiser Walnut Creek named Dr. Cavalier who is really good (or as good as it gets at Kaiser). You might try keeping him out of preschool for awhile after he is healthy and then see if he again becomes ill soon after a return. I am thinking an airborne problem not diet since it is respiratory. If all else fails and he is healthy at home perhaps that is best for this remaining school year. anon

New baby and viruses coming home from preschool

Nov 2006

I'm about to give birth to an approximately 7lbs baby. My older child is going to preschool for about two months now and truly loves it. Many told me that kids at this age bring home a lot of viruses and I should consider stopping my older child from school for couple of months. What is your advice on this and if you were in a similar position and had decided to keep your child at shcool, what measures did you take to minimize the risks. Thank you anon

I wouldn't worry so much about your preschooler bringing home diseases! Just teach you child to wash his hands a lot during the day. Talk with the preschool staff about your concerns and ask if they can help him wash his hands a few more times a day, if possible (the preschool should have the kids washing before snack and lunch, anyway).

Have him wash his hands as soon as he gets home from school and frequently at home.

And, if you are breastfeeding, then you pass your antibodies on to your infant and protect the infant in this way--which is the best thing about breastfeeding!

Many younger siblings have survived older sibling's germs and are better for it.

1)wash hands 2)breastfeed 3)enjoy your kids
happy mom of almost 3

Don't keep your older child home from a school that s/he loves! All kids get sick, all kids get exposed to germs, there's not much you can do about it short of sealing off your doors and windows and never leaving your house. My older son definitely brought germs home from school, and my younger son definitely got more sick in his first year, but what can you do? My advice is to just go with the flow and breastfeed as much as you can. Jill

Presuming your child is born healthy (not immune compromised and not premature) don't stop preschool because of a newborn. You need the break from the toddler during the day, and the toddler deserves the opportunity to be a ''big kid'' and have fun outside of the house. I would practice good handwashing, and other than that, hope for the best. Your toddler and baby will both get sick a few times this winter, and they'll both have strong immune systems as a result. My son was born last November, and got several colds, roseola, and influenza in his first year (possibly because his sister was in preschool and possibly not). It was fine. mom of two

I would not take my older child out of preschool (and it did not even occur to me several years ago when I had my kids). A new baby is going to be a big change for your older child, and spending time at the preschool he loves and doing ''big kid things'' will help him adjust. Time alone with the new baby will help you and him or her relax and adjust to each other, and become very special to you. Baby's have been getting colds from their older siblings and others since the dawn of time. Unless your new baby has a medical problem affecting it's immune system, and a doctor has advised you to do this, I wouldn't consider it. Best of luck with the new little one! anne

Pulling your kid from preschool to avoid getting the baby sick really doesn't make sense or sound feasible. You would also have to keep your older child away from all parks where other children play, away from play dates, etc., etc. and live in a bubble in your home. You and your child will go bonkers. Instead, start talking with your child now about not touching the baby's face but that he/she can touch the baby's arms, legs, etc., about washing their hands more often and especially before touching the baby, etc., etc.

All of my friends kept their preschoolers in school when the 2nd came around. Some of the babies got sick occasionally, some didn't. Another friend when she had her first basically didn't allow the nanny to take the child out of the house for MONTHS, and they themselves only took her out several times. Yet she got sicker than any other baby I know, including a serious bout of RSV. I think it all depends on the baby. anon

I am both pediatrician and mother of young kids, and I would definitely vote to leave the older kid in preschool.Life is full of risk-benefit analyses,but for myself, having uninterrupted time to bond with baby,get breastfeeding going, recover, etc, definitely trumped preschool infection concerns.

Also, I think my older child could have become bored and resentful staying home, as my attention would be on baby.From pediatric standpoint, the most important thing to protect baby from infections is to breastfeed and maintain smoke-free environment. Baby will also arrive with many maternal antibodies passed on transplacentally (assuming baby is term), which will protect baby somewhat during first few months (these gradually decline and will be replaced with antibodies baby either makes itself and/or gets from breast milk). Of course it makes sense to keep a young baby away from obviously sick people, and I personally would keep one out of crowds, but I wouldn't keep baby away from sibling as long as he/she seems healthy. Handwashing definitely helps cut down on germ transmission, so that would be one thing you could encourage your older child to do as much as possible.In my mind, the most important reason to keep your healthy young infant infection- free is not because they can't handle a minor cold, but because if a baby under 3 months gets a high fever, the doctor will typically feel compelled to do a rather comprehensive workup (possibly including lumbar puncture and urine catheterization) just to make sure the fever isn't due to some potentially deadly germ left over from the birth process or obscure congenital defect. Almost always, fevers in young infants are in fact due to benign viral infections, but as they don't offer many clues at that age and the consequences of missing a more serious bacterial infection can be great,the evaluation typically goes forward... Older infants are easier to evaluate and the chances of such a problem decline, so less intervention usually occurs. But let's not throw out the baby with the bath water :)-- if your kids seem healthy and you are breastfeeding, I would say just enjoy this special time for your family and don't worry TOO much about germs. pediatrician mama

Relax! Your first child has his/her place in preschool, which is perfect when the new baby comes along. Why take your eldest away from this?

Yes, your newborn will get sick a lot, but that's the way it is. By pulling your child away from school and his much needed friends (tough times when a new baby comes along) your just delaying the inevitable sickness.

My 2nd child got everything my 1st son brought home from school. It's natural, it's building immunity and that's just the way it is. Now at 4 years old, my 2nd one hardly gets sick anymore (he's had it all)!

For your sanity do not take your 1st out of pre-school, it will give you much needed time with the baby to have one at school. My 1st child was SO happy to go to school and escape(if only for a few hours) his crying brother! Anon

Constant Daycare Sickness

October 2006

My son began going to daycare in June 2 days a week, then we bumped him up to full time in August. Since August, he has had a constant runny nose, on and off cough and progressively worse respiratory illnesses. Just this week, his doc recommended we begin using a nebulizer- even though he's not been diagnosed as having athsma! Consequesntly, I have been getting sick often, as well. Our family has never been illness prone, as we've always tried to be very preventative. Now our old preventative ways aren't doing any good. Does anyone have advice on a good kids' wellness formula or other preventative stuff? Will this crazy cycle of getting sick subside soon??? Feeling Yucky

When my daughter first started daycare, she was constantly sick. For the first several months, my entire household had one cold and ear infection after another. Now that she's been in daycare for awhile, she is NEVER sick. She hasn't been sick at all this year, even tho I have had several colds. She now has an immune system of steal. Been There

My kids had the same problem. They were simply allergic to the dust mites. Nebulaizer is a temporarily solution and condition will worsen if it is an allergy and your son constantly exposed to it. You can ask doctor to give referral to allergist.I asked my doctor to perform blood test on 127 allergens by groups. They took about 3 or 4 big vials which is a lot by baby standards but it worth doing. Allergists don't like to do it because it is cheap and accurate. They prefer torture children by exposing them to each allergen one at a time, (more visits, more money) and after first 3 or 4 tests next one is always positive even if your child doesn't have any allergy. It happens because immune system is tired of fighting. If you do the blood test, in a few days you will have a complete list of foods, chemicals, pets your child allergic to. My daughter is 13 now and she is still can not spend more than 2 hours in a dirty carpeted area without asthma attack. We removed carpets long time ago in our house and replaced heating system. Some time air ducts which carrying air from under the house also carrying mold spores which can be deadly in some cases. But I would think it is unlikely during the summer. Check your child care for carpets and heating system. If you are unsatisfied with the house condition you can consider my house, clean environmentally for your child. My house has radiant heat which reduces dust and allergens for sensitive kids. Vicky

This happened to us when we put our son in day care when he was six months old. both he and i suffered constant colds and stomach viruses (the latter I NEVER got before). We also were urged to use a nebulizer or an inhaler for him. After that first year, we have been sick rarely so I say just tough it out and you'll build up your resistance. Follow the rules for a sick kid (fever, vomiting--keep him home until he's clear for 24 hours) and even err on the side of caution. Go get him if he's not feelign well and needs a parent for comfort. I think all that helps. I will add that we have never gotten flu shots, nor did either of us get the flu. We just got plain old colds and plain old stomach viruses anon

Yes, this madness will end, but not for a while. You didn't say how old your child is but the bottom line is that he is going to be sick a lot for the first several months. And then you'll have the winter/New Year holidays off and he'll get all better again, and then he'll come down with a raging fever the first week back in school. I know it's such a pain - I went through this with 3 kids. Even now that they're in elementary school they still get sick on and off for the first couple of months when they go back in the fall - Nurse Mommy

Colds and Daycare - change to smaller daycare?

March 2006

Our 16 month old boy Alex recently had two very scary febrile seizures due to high fever caused by ear infection. The pediatrician told us that the ear infection was caused by stuffy nose which is a direct result of common cold and we should try to minimize Alex's exposure to common cold virus.

Alex has been with a large day care center with over 40 children in the past 3 months. Before he was at home with grandparents and never had any medical problems. We have noticed that there are always 1 or 2 kids absent from sign-in sheet in Alex's class (with 8 kids) in the past 3 weeks or so, most likely due to the similar common cold. So we are really wondering if we should switch to a smaller family-based daycare with fewer children. It seems intuitive that this should reduce Alex's chances of getting another cold.

Could someone please comment on this and make some suggestions on selection of daycare? Thanks a lot!

Really scared parents.

We have our daughter at a 4-child home daycare. She has had a cold and two minor ear infections (not bad enough for antibiotics) since she started six weeks ago. The children, 6, 7, 9, and 16 months, all share toys and breathe on each other. Her MD seems to think that a moderate amount of sickness is unavoidable at daycare, especially at this time of year, but that it hopefully will clear up in April. Apparently, when they first go to daycare, they get *everything*. She explained to us that it's either get sick now or get sick in kindergarden... So we kept our daughter in her school. You might have to consider a nanny if you don't want the baby to get germs... Or have a conversation with the care provider, and make sure that they're washing toys every day, keeping children from sharing pacifiers, etc. Good luck! anon

My first thought is, don't change day care if you and your child are happy there. Germs are everywhere and your child will continue to get ill in a smaller day care too. The fear of another siezure is strong and I can only speak from my one personal experience with a child who siezured at the day care where I worked - He was about 1 year or so and after that one occurance - it never happened again. It was a big daycare, he continued to get colds as they came through the program. One thing you might hear is that even if you ''protect'' your child from illness in preschool, it will rear it's ugly head once they start elementary school and some parents think it is harder to cope then than when the children are younger. Your call, but you won't escape it forever! Daycare provider for 20+ years

Our daughter (now 8) attended a daycare that had about 12 or 15 kids, and she still got plenty of colds and ear infections. We never had the scary febrile seizure experience you have had, but for a while she was ill almost constantly. I think it may reduce exposure a little if you switched to a smaller daycare, but probably not enough.

What I would recommend is chiropractic. We mentioned to our chiropractor that our (still infant) daughter got lots of ear infections, and he suggested that the next time she was congested or runny we bring her in right away. We did, and he adjusted her neck, allowing the fluids to drain rather than pool. No ear infection. In fact, since then she has had exactly one ear infection and one sinus infection - both times, we neglected to bring her to the chiropractor at the first sign of congestion. (With the ear infection, the chiropractic adjustment cleared up the infection without antibiotics).

I know the idea of adjusting a baby is scary, especially if you don't go to a chiropractor yourself. But I can tell you that in our daughter's case, it was and is the only thing that has worked consistently. Good Luck! Lisa

When my older son transitioned to preschool from a home based day care he suddenly started getting many colds. At one of the urgent care visits to check for an ear infection our pediatrician said that it was common once you put a kid into a care situation with more than four kids. But I can also tell you that after the first winter my kids stopped catching every cold that ran through day care and now in first grade my son has only missed school once despite the huge number of illnesses that seem to spread through the class. I remember a few years ago there was some news story about how kids in childcare catch more colds when young, but fewer absences in grade school. a mom

I'm surprised your child's ped. told you to minimize his exposure to the common cold. Yeah right, like that is possible!

It really won't matter if you move your child from a large daycare to a small one, colds still make the rounds. There is no way you can avoid your child getting sick. And it's actually GOOD for your child to build immunity when they are young.

As for the fibrile seizures, you can try to avoid those. Our child had 2 that we know of. One was so severe we had to call the ambulance. From then on, we were hyper vigilant about fevers. We made sure to give him advil consistenly as well as liquids to avoid his fever spiking and setting off another seizure. If he got too hot, we quickly put him in a luke warm bath to bring his body temp down. All worked well and he never had another seizure

So relax about the getting sick thing - that is inevitable. Concentrate on keeping the fever down instead. been there

My daughter was in a large daycare like yours from 4 months of age on. She was CONSTANTLY sick (colds, ear infections, bronchiolitis, etc.) for about a year-she caught absolutely everything, but we loved the daycare and at the time I didn't make the connection between its size and the number of times she caught something. Later I read (can't remember where) advice suggesting that children under 1 yr. should ideally not be in care with more than 5 other children in order to minimize the number of ''bugs'' they're exposed to. On a positive note, my daughter is 3 1/2 and has had no actual illnesses (just a couple of colds that didn't make her ''sick'') since age 2! I guess her immune system was strengthened early. You might want to find a smaller care environment that also had fairly strict policies on children not attending care while sick. Julie

8 month old keeps getting colds

Feb 2006

any suggestions for preventing or alleviating colds in my 8 month old son? like, things i could eat, herbs i could take (i'm breastfeeding), things we could do? he IS in group childcare but he just started and had lots of colds before this. we did do the flu shot. There is no indication that he is more succeptible than any other kid, just seems like a year with lots of bad colds. thanks. anon

It makes me so sad to frequently hear of infants/children getting repeatedly sick after getting their shots.

Best thing you can do at this point is make sure to eat lots of yogurt or kefir, balanced, healthy meals, get plenty of sleep, reduce your stress, and try to maintain a stable, consistent schedule. Also, at your child's age, he can take yogurt or kefir directly, in small quantities (I can't remember if it's 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup per day), to allow the good bacteria to colonize his gut, and fight the bad bacteria. anon

We put our son in daycare when he was 6 months old. He's now 23 months. Within one week of being in day care, he got sick and proceeded to get a cold and/or ear infection until he was about 16 months old or so. It was pretty horrible and I felt guilty because I blamed it on daycare and being exposed to more germs. However, summer came and he's had only two colds since then (he actually has a cold now). I read on the Berkeley parents a while back that getting sick seems to come and go so you'll go through times when he's never sick and times when he gets sick a lot in a season.

We opted out of the flu shot, tho I debated it. But, so far, he hasn't gotten the flu and it seems like this year's flu season turned out to be pretty minor. I personally have never been diagosed with the flu. I always think I have it but it turns out i just have a bad cold. Many people think the flu is a cold, but it's not.

Anyway, good luck. We treat the colds by giving him the pediacare multi symptom night stuff but try and not give him drugs during the day unless he's really stuffed up. Give them plenty of liquids. All that stuff. Colds happen, I'm afraid. anon

Wash your and your little ones hands anytime you get a chance and antibacterial soapless wash (like purell). You will be amazed how much it will help cut down on the colds! :)

I'm in the same boat w/my 6 month old, though he's not in daycare. I'm trying to take comfort in the rumor that if we all suffer now, when he's older he'll have greater resistance to the bug of the moment. Also, this just seems to be a particularly nasty cold season. He and his 2 1/2 year old brother (and their parents!) have had one cold after another for weeks now w/coughs that linger. We feel your pain! Caroline

I think that if your baby is 8 mos. old, you no longer transmit antibodies through breast milk, unfortunately ... Since you already opted for a flu shot, I'm not sure what you can do at this age, other than cutting down on daycare.(Which, for most, is probably not an option!)

If it's any consolation, I have a 27-month-old who had a terrible time in the 2004-2005 cold season, but is not getting sick much at all this winter. So, sometimes you really can just have a bad year.

At least in my experience, certain people just seem more susceptible to colds, no matter what they do. My brother's kids are a good example: the 5-year-old gets sick maybe once a year, while the 3-year-old is otherwise healthy, but still manages to catch 6-7 colds a year, no matter how his parents clean the house, force him to wash his hands, take vitamins, etc.

Here's hoping you have a healthier spring! E in Oakland

I don't know what stage of foods your feeding him so I can't tell you what to give him other than rest and liquids. As for yourself and bf-ing, it might help to increase your nutrients: vitamin c, green tea, green veggies, ginger, and garlic; less sugar and junk food. Wash your hands frequently and his too. We just got through a harsh cold in our family and the above foods really helped us. good luck!

All the kissing at daycare - contributing to frequent colds?

June 2004

Ever since I put my toddler in daycare 9 months ago, my toddler and her infant sibling (who stays home) have been sick 100% of the time, and their father and I have been sick very frequently. My child's daycare center is a large home- based one (~12-14 children) in which the caregivers kiss each child on the lips several times a day. I know that children generally get sick a lot in their first year of group care, but after this grueling time period during which I looked after my sick children while being sick myself * without let-up* , I began to wonder if all that kissing on the lips is contributing to the spreading of germs. My poor infant has never known a day in his life when he hasn't been coughing and congested, often severely so. Common sense tells me that kissing on the lips is not a good hygienic practice in a group setting. On the other hand, would my children be just as sick without the kissing, with one being in any group care setting? I feel somewhat hesitant about asking the two caregivers not to kiss my toddler on the lips, as I believe it's culturally motivated (At the risk of sounding horribly politically incorrect, the two caregivers are of a middle-Eastern culture in which I think a lot more kissing goes on in social settings than in the U.S.), and it's of course an expression of their love for my child. Also, how would my child feel when she sees that she's the only one not being kissed on the lips? But even on an experimental basis, I'm ready to try anything to end this misery of non-stop illness. What do you think? anon

Hi, We ran into the same thing even though there was not a lot of kissing on the lips at my son's daycare. Unfortunately, I think this is part of the experience for the first few years of life. Children need to build their immune systems, and are not able to ward off infection very well. For about a year and half my son was sick, on average, every month. We had colds, and lots of the stomach flu stuff. And of course my husband and I were exhusted and normally had the joy of sharing each illness with our son. He is older now, and fortunately is not sick nearly as much. We just had to suffer through that year and a half of hell. Basically I think if you are happy with the care your son is receiving, I would just stick out the sickness. Changing daycars might not improve the situation at all. I hope it ends for you soon! I know how frustrating it can be to have everyone sick all the time. Good luck. Lisa

Probably your child would be sick anyway. Watch what the kids do: they all put toys in their mouths, and where my child is, they wash the toys every day, but you still can't stop everything. Plus one kid will have a runny nose, sneezing, wiping hands all over everything, pick up toys, kiss other kids... That said, I'd still would talk to the providers, because kissing on the lips probably does facilitate transfer of germs & viruses. I personally don't think it's appropriate. one thing I WISH my daycare providers would do is wash hands BEFORE eating as well as after. They say they do, but I've seen that they don't. What can you do? You mgiht also check out how clean things are generally, and whether they allow sick kids to stay. If you're happy with everything as is, then don't worry about it. But if you're not, try nicely to request that they change (e.g., ''I love that you're affectionate with my baby, but the poor thing has been so sick, and we've been so sick, I'd really like to do everything possible to reduce it. Can you avoid kissing him on the lips for now? And maybe wash his hands before he eats?....'' etc.) anon

Well, kissing on the lips is a little weird, but my guess is the bulk of the germ sharing comes from snotty noses and sneezes getting on the toys, which are then transfered to your child's mouth. I would suggest that your daycare provider wash down the toys everyday with a bleach solution to clean them, and wash hands frequently throughout the day, especially before eating anything (and no sharing of food between the children). This is really the only way to slow the spread of germs. Even if the kissing stops, the germs will still be on the toys and such, right? Also, it is sometimes hard for daycare providers to keep strict guidelines as to when a child is allowed to come and when they are not in terms of illness. Make sure your daycare provider has an illness policy that everyone respects and adheres to! Finally, no matter how clean a place is, it is pretty common for children to get sick a lot when they enter daycare situations. The bright side is maybe your child won't get sick at all in kindergarten! Our children were sick a lot in preschool, but extremely healthy by the time they went to kindergarten. Been there, too!

from what i've read about bacteria in the mouth, i would definitely think little kids should not be kissed on the mouth or share spoons, etc. however, this may in the long run help them to build up an amazing immune system? i would gently ask the caregiver to kiss on both cheeks. radicchio

You asked whether you and your family might be sick less if your child'd daycare prividers didn't kiss the kids on the lips. My guess is: Nope! When my child was in a daycare licensed for 14 for a year, she and I were sick all the time; the place was pretty clean and there was no kissing on the lips. Now she's 3, and we switched to a preschool in April. She got one little cold right after she started, but except for that, we've been cold-free for, gosh, 6-8 weeks! It's a preschool with an after-school care program so it's just older kids, with the exception of two kids under age 2 (the providers' children). I really suspect it's just a matter of her being a little older and hanging out with older kids rather than younger ones. I know it's frustrating, depressing, heck, it's maddening, to always be sick. I still brace myself for a snotty mess every time my daughter sneezes, but it just hasn't been happening. I really think, cross fingers and knock on wood, that we may be past that now. Hang in there! Here's a link in the archives that you may find strangely comforting -- I did. It's a long, long string of messages - you are not alone: --boy have we been there

Always sick since we started daycare

July 2003

My 14-month old daughter started daycare about a month ago and ever since she's been sick. She's been coughing and having a runny nose. Just last week she had a temp. of almost 104. I've taken her to the doctor's about 4-5 times this month just to make sure her lungs and ears are ok. Anyway, she hasn't finished a full week yet (5 days). It seems like over the weekend when she's home with me, she'll recover a little bit and feel better (cough less and nose less runny) and when I take her in Monday, by Tuesday morning it starts all over again. I'm wondering if anyone out there has gone through this and if you'd have any advice for me. For the month of July, I'm going to try just bringing her 3 days a week to see if she'll do better. Many people have told me that it builds their immunity and if kids don't get sick now in daycare they will get sick when they go to pre-school or kindergarten, but I just feel like it's making her so unhealthy. What should I do?? Jane

I would advise you to read this months issue of ''MOTHERING MAGAZINE'' (find it at picadelly circus on university, and probably wholefoods and berkeley bowl, or at http// ) It has an article writen especially about this issue and should answer ALL of your questions and concerns with expert advice. Jessica

I noticed at the daycare my daughter was in for a few months (she ended up not being ready to continue) was that they washed the children's hands before they ate meals, but not AFTER. That always struck me as odd since the children had just put their hands all over their mouths and then they went out to play with toys and on the structures. Had I continued taking my daughter to the daycare I would have suggested that they be as consistant with washing hands before and after meals. You may want to find out what your child's school practices. am

Just a hunch, but any possibility there is something in the daycare setting that your baby is allergic to? Emily

I feel your pain. This sounds like exactly what's happening at our house. We started part time day care in early May and there were a series of small colds with about 1 - 2 days between them. My son is now in care full time and he seems a bit healthier, actually. I really think it's a matter of waiting for their immune systems to catch up. My advice is to give lots of fluids, us a vaporizer, have plenty of time for the morning routine when they're feeling poorly, and take yin chiao (adults only) so you yourself don't get sick. I'll be curious if there's anything more I'm missing. Mama of another sick one

My kids were very very sick in child care for their first year. We were in and out of the Dr. office all the time. It's just the way it goes I'm afraid. However, I have to say that my kids were always in a good mood despite the constant runny noses and coughs. If your child is miserable then you might want to reduce the amount of time she spends at school or give her a week off to recover her defenses.

I just read an intersting article in the July/August edition of Mothering Magazine about childhood illness and how it is a natural part of growing up. It focused on illness as a necessary part of childhood and one that should not be routinely suppressed with medications because that supresses the body's own natural methods for healing itself which can lead to chronic adult illness. It said that childhood illnesses peak around age 6 and then taper off after age 7. It made me feel a bit better about the non-stop colds that my twins have been having since they started pre-school because it explained that all the runny noses, coughs, diarreah etc... they have been having means that their bodies are actually strong enough to fight off all these illnesses and are naturally ridding themselves of toxins. It explained that there is still a time and a place for more drastic action- such as when your child just appears to be getting worse and worse and NOT able to fight of the illness, but I will definatlely look at their next bought of colds differently and not run to the medicine cabinet so quickly. mama doc

This past winter and spring, one of my daughters was sick almost constantly. Even the preschool teachers became concerned. But nearly every bug she had, I heard of other children experiencing the same symptons (strep, or a high-fever bug, or the croupy cough bug...)And this was her 2nd year of preschool, not her first. Another preschool mom went back to having her son take naps and found that improved his apparent immunity. I decided that maybe I was sending my daughter back to school too soon and so began keeping her home an extra day (altho she was only in school 2 days a week!). I also asked that the school wipe down their toys during their spring cleaning week in June (why else would we all be getting the same things?) Maybe it's the summer weather, but we've been healthy for 3 weeks now and counting. Except I just had the flu... Best Wishes, Lori

In my children's preschool they showed me an article about preventing the spread of illness by increased hand washing, enforced for both teachers and children. They instituted a policy of frequent handwashing (many times per day) and did reduce markedly the number of sicknesses that got passed around. Mary

5-month-old baby keeps getting sick

April 2003

I would love to hear from other parents who have had a young baby who got sick very often. My baby is just five months. We brought him to the ER last night and doc said he has Croup. About a month and a half ago he was admitted through the ER with RSV. In between these illnesses, and before the RSV, he has had several colds. I have talked to moms with babies the same age who have not even gotten one cold yet! My baby goes to daycare fulltime and started at 2 1/2 months. Could this be the reason? Are there other reasons? Is it just bad luck??? I feel discouraged and very stressed out about all these illnesses! I worry so much about him. lola

My now 15 mo. old is always sick it seems with a cold. She is a second child, and her big sister is in preschool. It started at the tender age of 4 weeks or so, and she was constantly with a cold the first four or so months of her life (she was born on the first day of winter!). I too sometimes think something is ''wrong with her''. But it is never anything more than a cold or virus (if she was immune compromised, it would be alot worse things she'd be getting), and it IS starting to lessen. Its the scourge of the second child. Since yours is a first child, I'm sure its the daycare (my firstborn was with a nanny until two, then once she went in daycare she was sick for months!). I too get lots of colds, and there is the possibility that she is just more suspecptible. But I know she is fine and that it will lessen. By the time she's four, she'll rarely get sick I'll wager! Hilary

Your guess that the reason your baby gets sick so much is because he goes to daycare is probably right. It depends somewhat on how careful the staff of the daycare is, but even at the best places, it's pretty much impossible to wash and sanitize every surface all the time. If one of the kids in the daycare, or even one of their family members, gets sick, it's pretty likely that most of the kids there will have it eventually. I read somewhere that whenever your child starts interacting with a number of other kids, whether it's daycare, preschool, or kindergarten, he will probably spend at least the next two years getting sick all the time, until he's caught and built an immunity to most of the common stuff -- after that, I hear it tapers off (we're not there yet...). On the plus side, there is at least a tiny bit of benefit for all of this sickness. As long as it's nothing terribly serious, having colds and such may actually benefit the immune system. For example, kids who've had at least one cold before their first birthday are less likely to develop asthma. Karen

I have to say, this has been a bad year for illnesses. My kid's preschool has been hit very hard (some days 1/3 of the class is home sick), and we've been sick with some type of cold all winter long. It happens. However, when my son was a baby, we lived in a horrible basement apartment that flooded and was never properly cleaned. Hence, we had a HUGE mold problem. Both my son and my husband battled colds for months until finally my husband was hospitalized with pneumonia. We moved out immediately and VOILA the illnesses stopped. Do you live in the Village? I know that they have had mold problems in the past. Even if you don't, you might want to get your home checked out. Good luck. Laurel

My daughter has been in daycare since she was three months old, and although she hasn't had croup or rsv (as far as I can tell -- supposedly most kids are exposed to it by age 2) she has had back-to-back colds often, some resulting in breathing emergencies (for which we keep albuterol on hand). She had six ear infections in the first 1 and a half of her life (probably due to a tube defect in her right ear). Kids in daycare do get sick a lot. I missed a lot of work the first year, and had many scares (high fevers, breathing issues, dehydration...) Now she's two and her health seems more robust.They say they get less sick as they get older and are exposed to more bugs.

At one point my doctor said that if she got one more ear infection, it might be time to take her out of daycare. (So you may want to ask your provider what he or she thinks) Thankfully, we didn't get to that point. I think any time your kids are going to be around other kids, the chance to pick up a bug is there. I have seen colds and flu go around our mother's group, too. Or around the nieces and nephews in our family.

What is your daycare's policy? It should be 24-hours fever, diarrhea and vomit free. Wash your hands(and your child's hands) before you leave daycare.

Best of luck. You are not alone! Paula

My younger son (now almost 8 ) got sick a lot as a baby. He would start getting sniffles and it would progress into a cold and cough...croupy, then dry cough till it got more productive and it would almost get totally better and then it would start all over again.

This went on for about a year or so..we tried homoeopathy, antibiotics, acupuncture. Nothing seemed to change anything untill I took him off of dairy. Voila!!! He got better I'm not saying your child has a dairy allergy, but dairy is one of the most likely allergies in kids (wheat also). We use goats milk in our house which he's not sensitive to so it was a matter of getting him off of cheese, switching to non dairy desserts, etc. The difference was quite amazing. Now he can eat dairy sometimes without any problem but if he eats it all the time he's in trouble. If you are big on milk you might try goat's milk. Meyenberg is a brand that doesn't taste too ''goaty'' as opposed to the raw goat milks. We're so used to it that cows milk tastes wierd to me and my kids now.

I was also told by the pediatrician that sometimes kids get a virus that stays in the body and if they have a weak immune system the virus does it's thing more often, so strengthening the immune system would be something you could look at. Good luck. I know it's frustrating...been there. June

What I found helps quite a bit with curbing illnesses with my infants and children is to wipe their hands off before eating and when I pick them up from childcare. People always like to hold the hands of young infants, so when folks would come up, I would poke my fingers into my baby's hands so his hands were not readily available to them. I would tell children to gently pat his head or hold his foot. You might check on the cleanliness of the toys at the childcare. I remember reading here about having hard toys wiped down daily and rotating the stuffed animals so they had a day or two to let the slobber dry and the bacteria to die. I found that focussing on these things without obsessesing over them helps keep my children much healthier. eve

I feel like I could write a book (but I'll try to be concise)! I can completely empathize with you - our baby was (is) the same way. She is also in daycare, started at 4 months (is now 17 mo.s), and there is no question that daycare is a primary factor. She had croup twice last year (ER visit required the first time), along with countless colds and infections, and in the ER with RSV this past January. Since she started daycare she's had a near constant rotation of respiratiry infections, and we have to nebulize her daily. We got a little break from the nebulizing from August through October, when the cold viruses seemed to be on vacation, but started up again with her first cold in November, kept it up all winter and are still at it. I'm alarmed at how many times this child has been given antibiotics (ear infections, secondary respiratory infections) in her short life so far! Our doctor told us point blank that if we don't want her to be sick so often, keep her out of daycare,and if that wasn't an option for us, then try to find a daycare situation where it's always the same kids every day (this is supposed to help a little). Our only option was my company's daycare. But after January we finally decided to bite the bullet, and now keep her home with a nanny 2 days a week, at great financial strain. So even though she still has 3 days to be exposed to all the germs at school, at least for 2 more days a week she gets no exposure, and good long naps (which never happens at daycare, and which I believe lowers her resistance). It seems to have helped. It also helps that she's just getting older and stronger, and hopefully developing resistance.

Hang in there, your baby will get stronger. But in the meantime, I highly recommend using that Purell alcohol-type stuff (on his hands as well as yours, if your doc says it's ok), and making sure that all the daycare staff are using it religiously, that they monitor the children's toys and remove toys from rotation that have been chewed on, that they are vigilant about nose-wiping and strict about parents not bringing in kids with green runny noses. This might make you feel like one of those annoying new parents, like I fear I was (I think I was secretly called the Nose Nazi!), but this is your child! You have every right to be vigilant! You are the one who has to spend countless nights awake and terrified by your baby's raspy labored breathing or choking coughs that make him throw up! (Well I don't know if that's happened to you but it has us, on several occasions!)

At home, we keep her room EXTRA clean, we bought a good quality air purifier, we keep the cat OUT and put an extra filter in the heat duct - can't say for sure this helps but it seems to, and it sure can't hurt. We also put a (very firm) pillow in her crib so she can sleep at an incline, which definitely helps.

And finally, do whatever you can to ensure that he gets good, long naps. Sleep is crucial and healing and helps resistance. If naps are a problem at daycare, maybe you can visit at lunch to hold him for a nap...

Sorry this is so long, but your situation is soooo familiar to me I couldn't help myself! Best of luck! Been there, still there

I really sympathize with your situation. My advice is to hang in there because there's a good chance the streak of illnesses will end shortly when the weather warms up, and next winter will be better. My daughter was in daycare full time from age five months and was sick seemingly constantly during her first winter -- chicken pox (which she did not get at daycare), croup, ear infections (about a dozen -- then we got the ear tubes, but that's another story), eye infections, allergic reaction to penicillin used to treat the ear infections -- you name it. We were at the doctor every week from about October through March (thank goodness for Kaiser). It was really hard to see her sick so much, and we missed a huge amount of work because she could not go to daycare. Then the weather warmed up and she was fine for several months. Her second winter was easier. This winter, her third, she has only missed about three days of preschool due to illness!

It may or may not be daycare. They certainly are exposed to a lot of illnesses when they're with other kids. During my daughter's first winter, many people, including her pediatrician, told us that kids just get sick a lot when they're first in a group setting, whether that's infant care or kindergarten or sometime in between, so if she was missing a lot of infant care she'd be healthy when she started kindergarten. That was cold comfort when we had a sick little baby, but I am starting to feel that we did get it over with. On the other hand, my niece started full-time daycare at three months, and she's practically never been sick, and has never had an ear infection, which were the bane of my daughter's infancy, so perhaps it depends on the kid's constitution whether she ever goes through this at any age. Good luck -- spring is coming! Teresa