The child care business has it problems with illness. How do you deal with it? Do you have a set policy? Here are some thoughts.
As a rule, most child care businesses do not care for sick children and have policies stating that if the child becomes sick while at the center they must be picked up within a certain period of time. The circumstances that lead to a sick child being picked up are difficult at the least. The parent is not available to pick up the child, or you are unable to reach either parent, or you cannot reach the backup for the parents or guardian. It is important that indicate this possibility in your policies and procedures and also in your agreement with the parents and guardian.
Because infections can spread very quickly among children it is very important that you acknowledge any symptoms of illness and remove the sick child from the others immediately. Depending on what you observe will be your reaction in how you proceed. If a child is experiencing difficulty breathing, is unable to respond to you or has a convulsion you should dial 911 immediately. For children that are running fever, have sore throats, vomiting, have diarrhea, have body rash, severe cough and any other conditions where the child is in distress the child should be moved to a comfortable location that is isolated from the other children and the parent or guardian should be contacted to pick them up. It is important to note that the decision on the status of the child is your call and you should have language in your agreement with your parents and guardians that explicitly states that the decision to have the parent or guardian pick up the child or should you need to call 911 is up to you and your staff. Have each parent and/or guardian initial or sign the agreement under this category so there is no question in the event of a disagreement.
This is a challenging topic and can lead to stress when requiring a parent to pick up their sick child but even more importantly is the number one cause of negligence claims filed against child care business owners by parents and guardians. Make certain that there is no ambiguity in your policies, procedures and your parent / guardian agreement. Your staff should be fully trained to make the same decisions should you not be available.
For more information contact Chris Raders at 805-238-1818. Ted Hamm Insurance is happy to provide information to make your business run smoothly.