You asked

When should I keep my child home sick from school?

All parents at some point during the school year will be faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to send a sick child to school. Children more often than not will have caught a bug or flu from someone else at school.

Younger children are especially prone to catching an illness at school, particularly when they haven’t spent much time in pre-school where they would have been exposed to childhood illnesses.

This decision is particularly difficult when a working parent is faced with a child who claims to be sick, it's possible to wonder whether the child is genuinely sick, just looking for a duvet day, worried about something at school or actually coming down with an illness.

Here’s our guide to when you should keep your child home from school and when you can take a chance that he will be feeling better once he gets to school.

You should keep your child home from school in the following circumstances:
Conjunctivitis: This eye infection can quickly and easily spread from one child to another so it’s always best to keep your child home from school until the GP says he is no longer contagious.

Fever: This is one symptom that rules out school, no questions.

Diarrhoea: This could signify a viral infection, so it’s always advisable to keep your child home. It’s also crucial to keep him hydrated when he has diarrhoea.

Vomiting: Other than the fact that your child won’t be comfortable, it’s possible he could vomit again. You should keep him home until at least 24 hours have passed without throwing up.
Stomach-ache: This can be difficult; if there is no diarrhoea and he isn’t constipated, tummy trouble can be caused by any number of things from worry to food poisoning. You will need to use you own judgement. If the stomach pains are minor and he seems to be behaving normally, it might be worth risking sending him to school.

Cough: This will depend on how severe the cough is as it can spread infection to other students. As a very general rule, if your child has a serious wet cough, especially if it’s accompanied by breathing troubles, seek medical advice. But if it’s just a mild cough and there are no other symptoms, he should be ok to attend school.

Ear infection: If it’s just a mild ear pain, he is likely to be fine but if he is clearly terribly uncomfortable, he should be kept home. He should also be kept home if there are accompanying symptoms such as a fever.


More questions

Once you have established your toddler has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control
If your toddler has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control.
The average body temperature should be between 35°C and 37°C.
While a fever can be treated, it's important to keep in mind that fevers are usually the symptom of an illness and not the illness itself.
A body’s temperature is controlled by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
Getting norovirus cannot always be avoided, but good hygiene can help limit the spread of the virus...
All about how to deal with the winter vomiting bug...
All about how to treat the winter vomiting bug...
The first sign of norovirus is usually a abrupt feeling of nausea followed by sick feeling, followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea.
Norovirus is more commonly known as the winter vomiting bug.