Advice on having last-minute care for my kids in daycare

I need some help/advice on how to handle working full-time and having kids in daycare - when you receive the unexpected call that you need to pick them up because they may be sick. Or even if you realize one morning that they have a fever and can't take them in that day! What should I/can I do to get last-minute care to help pick them up and watch them until I return? Any advice is greatly appreciated.



Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Besides having a long roster of back up sitters with flexible schedules, one thing I have used a few times in the past is the site Trusted. It's an app/nanny service. They can help you find someone last minute even. In terms of pick up and nanny service there is Kango ( but I haven't personally tried that. 

My kids go to daycare & school in Oakland & I work in San Francisco.  I get those calls.  I think most daycare places get that it's going to take you some time to physically get from point A to point B and should reasonably be willing to keep your kid there as long as you are communicative & in transit - even if, for example, in my case it's probably going to take 45 minutes to get to them. It is what it is. I even have family in the East Bay, but it would still take them probably 45 minutes to get the kids too so that doesn't really make a difference.

My other thought would be: do you have any close neighbors (presumably also by your daycare) that are maybe retired and would be willing to pick them up and watch them temporarily if you gave them a key? Is your daycare walking distance so you wouldn't have to worry about car seats in cars?  Even that wouldn't be a guarantee they would be around, but may offer peace of mind. Of course, if your kid was SUPER sick and contagious the neighbor probably wouldn't want to be exposed...

If your question is more: how can I get someone to watch my child when they're sick so I can still go to work? a) Does your employer offer Bright Horizons back-up care as a benefit? It is great, they will send someone to your house with fairly short notice for a reasonable fee, even if your kid has a "mild" fever (they won't administer medicine though, so it has to be pretty mild). I believe your employer has to offer this though I don't think you as a consumer can just randomly use it.... my work didn't, but I suggested it, and we now have it (it took about a year to get them to go through all the hoops though).  b) Otherwise, you just have to call in sick and/or leave mid day. Stressful at the time, & in the moment feels like a big deal - but most people get it.  It probably feels like a much bigger deal to you than it does to your boss or anyone around you.

This is tough.  We work full time too and have kids in daycare and school, so dealing with random daycare or school closure days, or kids' sick days have been tough.  If the kid is mildly sick we are lucky enough to have grandma nearby who comes over and watches the child and often is able to go and pick up the kid from daycare and watch him at home until we arrive.  If the kid is seriously sick (high fever, concerning rash, or an injury) I leave work early to pick up myself so I can assess during the day and possibly take my son to the doctor.  Without family nearby who can help out, your options are having several babysitters your kid knows that you can call to see if they happen to be available, taking a PTO day, or working from home (if your employer is ok with it).  When grandma cannot help, my husband and I take turns staying home with sick kids and alternate days, or sometimes I just stay home for the duration of the illness and work from home.  There are some drop off daycares that take mildly ill kids, but I never felt comfortable using them since the other kids are sick too and I don't want my child exposed to something worse when his immune system is already fighting a slight cold. It is tough, but as your kid gets older and immune system strengthens, the sick days will become much rarer. 

We use Swiss Cheese Childcare for this. It's a local service that gives you access to a pool of on-call sitters for a flat placement fee. The sitters we've had have varied from solid to exceptional, and the owner tries hard to help with last minute requests.

Having several babysitters for back up care. You can put a notice in the bulletin board of your local collage looking for babysitters