Child Care: When to Keep Your Child at Home

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Child Care: When to Keep Your Child at Home

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Your child should not attend child care if he or she is too ill to participate in the regular program activities or requires more care than staff members are able to provide. Talk to your doctor before allowing your child who has been ill to attend group care. Get assurance that the condition is not contagious or serious.

Keep your child at home when he or she has the following symptoms or conditions:1, 2

  • Fever, irritability, lack of energy, trouble breathing, persistent crying, rash with fever or behavioural change, or other signs of severe illness
  • Diarrhea or stools that contain blood or mucus
  • Belly pain for 2 or more hours
  • Vomiting two or more times within the past 24 hours (unless it is from a non-contagious disease and the child is not at risk for dehydration)
  • Mouth sores (until they are crusted and dry)

Keep a child who has been diagnosed with any of the following diseases out of group care until a doctor tells you it is safe:1, 2

Immunizing your child can help prevent some of these diseases as well as others not listed.

Related Information



  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Children in out-of-home child care. In LK Pickering et al., eds., Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 28th ed., pp. 124–140. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
  2. Community Paediatric Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society (2009). Health implications of children in child care centres. Part B: Injuries and infections. Paediatrics and Child Health, 14(1): 40–43. Also available online:


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised November 22, 2010

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