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When Can You Not Take Your Toddler to Preschool?

by Rebekah Richards

Toddlers' immune systems are still developing, so it's not surprising if your child frequently experiences colds, coughs, a sore throat or other ailments. For example, children who attend school or daycare have as many as eight to 12 colds a year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' HealthyChildren.org website. Although your child may be able to attend preschool with a runny nose or other minor symptoms, more serious symptoms, such as a high fever or diarrhea, usually require your child to stay home.

How Your Toddler Feels

If your toddler is too sick to participate in activities or be comfortable at preschool, she should stay home. For example, if she feels nauseous, experiences persistent pain, seems lethargic or is persistently crying, don't take her to preschool and consider calling her pediatrician. On the other hand, if she just has the sniffles or feels a little congested but still has an appetite and seems energetic, she might be able to attend school, according to the KidsHealth.org website.

Preventing Infectious Disease

How your child feels shouldn't be the only factor you consider; it's also important to prevent your child from spreading bacteria and viruses to other children. If your child has diarrhea, a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more than one episode of vomiting, he may have a contagious disease and should not attend preschool, according to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. A widespread rash or reddened eye may also indicate an infectious disease, such as chickenpox or pinkeye. Unfortunately, children are often contagious before they have symptoms, so a sick child may have already infected others.

School Requirements

Most schools and daycare facilities have specific guidelines that stipulate when children are too sick to attend. For example, some schools won't let children return to school unless their fever has disappeared without the help of medication for at least 24 hours. Other schools and daycare facilities have specific areas for children who aren't feeling well. If you're not sure about your school's guidelines, call your child's teacher or the school nurse before taking her to school. You can also call your pediatrician to determine whether your child's symptoms are serious enough to keep her out of school.

Staying in Touch

If you decide your toddler is well enough to attend preschool, ensure you are available during the day in case she needs to go home or go to the doctor. The school should have several ways to contact you, including your cell phone and work number, and you should have a plan in case she needs to be picked up during the day.

About the Author

Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.

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