Daycare obligation to notify other parents about illnesses

If our child is in a home daycare (total six kids) and one of the other children gets sick, shouldn’t the daycare provider notify the other parents to give everyone the heads up to keep an eye on their/our kids, etc. to help maintain a healthy environment? This home daycare serves kids who need care all day while parents work. Our child started going there a little over three weeks ago and has gotten a virus, a cold and now hand, foot and mouth disease. She is 8 months old. I know that this will build her immunities but it’s been a lot. She has stayed home until she has gotten well again each time. However there’s no information given about if other kids are sick, etc. and it does not seem that the daycare provider is letting other parents know about their kids exposure to our child…it just seems like there’s no protocol. Would like to hear from others your opinion or suggestions.

Thank you.

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Hand foot and mouth is super contagious and your daycare provider should be notifying you when another child in the program has it. They should also be heavily sanitizing everything if they know a child has gotten it…

I think your experience is normal - kids will get sick frequently especially in their first year or two of daycare. I think it's likely a combination of privacy and practicality that they do not notify you every time another child is sick. I'd imagine there is probably almost always someone sick, not to mention, would this change your behavior? In other words, if you knew another child was sick would you keep your child home? If not, then it's probably not actually that helpful. 

According to state law, they only have to notify about exposure to certain communicable diseases and what you mention is not on the list. It surprises me tho that they didn't tell you about HFM. They should have let the parents know about that one. Lice, pink eye, HFM - parents should get a notice, even tho it isn't required. Common cold? Definitely no notification. My kids were constantly sick in daycare and it was several years of hell - we would stay home with them and then we would get sick. Repeat cycle constantly for 3 years. It's just how it is with daycare. I wouldn't expect to be notified about every illness, but the major ones? We were always notified. 

The transition to daycare is really hard! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your daughter will probably be sick every few weeks for the next year, it’s just what happens. I don’t think daycare has an obligation to tell you when other kids have a regular cold - in fact, you should just assume that at any given time, at least one kid will have a runny nose. HFM is different, they should tell you about that asap. But also know that HFM is going around the entire country right now so unfortunately, it’s taking us all down. Good luck!

Hello! Just sending a virtual hug as I'm dealing with this, too. October brought HFM and COVID to our toddler, and it was brutal. My child also goes to a home-based daycare, and I think there is a wide variety in how programs deal with viruses. Mostly because it is just so tough. Last year, pre-COVID vaccines, many programs kept children home for runny noses. While helpful for virus control, this was extremely difficult for parents. At ours, we've been notified of the biggies (HFM and COVID), but children attend with--and frequently share--colds. It is really tough. My child has been sick A LOT and I'm very concerned about the rest of the winter. At the same time, outside of hiring a nanny and staying home for the next few months (not a financial option for us), I don't see how we can avoid exposure. It is all very difficult to navigate!

If you want them to tell you, they will tell you every day. There is NEVER not a sick kid at day care at that age. Literally you'd be getting an email every day.

I do agree that they should tell you about things like hand, foot and mouth. But a cold? Just expect that to be every single day.

Well, yes and no. It's typical for preschools and daycares to give notice of stuff like HFM (in case you see the rash and you're not familiar with it, you'll know what it is), but for cold and flu symptoms - I wouldn't think so. They would be telling you every day "someone has a runny nose". We're really in prime cough and cold season (and in fact, the worst one in years because of the pandemic, and the fact that all these kids stayed home and caught nothing for 2+ years, and now they're all making up for lost time). Our Children's Hospitals are at capacity (or near) with RSV and now Flu cases. What would you do differently if you knew your child's daycare-mate had a cold? Unless your child develops symptoms themselves, wouldn't you be sending them anyway? You're not going to quarantine at home. And unfortunately, these viruses (RSV, Flu A, Flu B, Paraflu, Rhinovirus, etc) are transmittable prior to the onset of symptoms, so you'll never really be able to avoid it altogether. I would just make sure your daycare provider is keeping best practices re: cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces, practicing good handwashing, and beyond that, know that this too shall pass. 

Our preschool only let's us know when one of the kids are sick if it is something on the exclusion list. We've had RSV and hand, foot, mouth in the past few weeks at our preschool and we did get emails about those. (However, it wasn't obvious is was RSV until it had already made many kids sick and there wasn't anything school wide sent out until kids started getting diagnosed with RSV/had to go to the hospital.) I think it is pretty common for schools/daycares to not report general sicknesses, so I wouldn't have expected to hear about the cold or virus but def would have expected to hear about HFM.

What you're describing is so so so so common when a little one starts daycare. And this fall is one of the hardest we've experienced illness-wise since my first started daycare in 2018. So many colds and viruses going around at the moment. Even if they reported every runny nose, it would be too late. Since it sounds like a small center, why do you suggest a whatsapp group or text chain with the parents to communicate health status yourself. We have a whatsapp group for the parents of the kids in my son's preschool class and we all sorta keep each other updated on if the kids are sick. It is so hard and frustrating when you rely on the center to be able to work, but I'm not sure the there's much the center could do to have made any difference here. Kids in daycare get sick. And this fall, they're getting sick a lot. (I've got two and one, if not both, have been home at least once a week since September.) 

From my personal experiences our in home based daycares wouldn’t really give parents a heads up if kids had colds. Certainly hand foot and mouth was more urgent and did shut my sons small home based daycare down for a couple days so that the owners could deep clean as multiple kids got sick. Kids this age starting daycare are frequently sick - it feels like they have a permanent runny nose and just when you think you’re finally over it, they come home with another cold/illness. I would check if they have a fever policy. I think that’s really important and can stop spread of illnesses. Precovid, the general rule was you had to stay home for a minimum of 24hrs post fever. Our daycare policy is back to that. Runny noses and coughs can last a couple weeks so it’s not really feasible to keep the kids home that long. But generally we were only informed about the really contagious illnesses. 

I have a 2.5 year old in preschool. She was previously at home with a nanny until starting preschool this September. She's had a cough and runny nose on and off for the last two months.  Our preschool has been diligent about reporting to the families when a student gets diagnosed with a specific communicable disease (hand foot mouth, rsv). I get the impression that they are required to do this by their licensing body. They don't report when folks have a "run of the mill" cold. Thankfully, they also understand that kids in group care at this age will frequently have cough and runny nose and do not exclude kids for this as long as they are well enough to participate. The couple times there's been an outbreak of something specific they've accepted her back after clearance from a doctor.  This is a relief for us as working parents, especially as kids are going to get recurring viral infections at this age and in this environment. It is inevitable and cannot be stopped.  For example, 100% of Americans will get RSV by the age of 3. Regardless, it's hard on families dealing with it and I wish you luck.