When to Keep Your Child Home from School

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child be kept home from child care or school if any of the following conditions exist…

  • A child with any signs of severe illness, including fever, irritability, difficulty breathing, crying that does not stop with the usual comforting, or extreme sleepiness should not be sent to child care or school.
  • A child with diarrhea or stools that contain blood or mucus should not attend child care or school.
  • A child who vomits two or more times in 24 hours should not attend child care or school, unless a physician feels the cause of vomiting is not an infectious disease and the child is in no danger of becoming dehydrated.
  • A child with mouth sores and drooling should not attend child care or school, unless a physician or the local health department authority does not feel the condition is infectious.
  • A child with fever or rash or a change in behavior should not attend school or child care, unless a physician has determined that the problem is not caused by an infectious disease.
  • A child with diarrhea caused by E-coli 0157:H7 or shigella that has been diagnosed by a physician should not attend child care or school. The child may not return to day care or school until two stool cultures (collected 24 hours apart) are negative for the organisms and the child no longer has diarrhea. For shigella, the child may return if treated with an appropriate antibiotic for five days and if the child no longer has diarrhea.
  • A child with conjunctivitis or “pinkeye” may not attend day care or school without being examined, treated, and approved for readmission by a physician.
  • A child with impetigo may not attend school or day care until 24 hours after beginning antibiotic treatment and until the child no longer has a fever. Be sure to cover any lesions.
  • A child with strep throat may not attend school or day care until 24 hours after beginning antibiotic treatment.
  • A child with head lice may not attend day care or school until the first treatment has been given.
  • A child with scabies may not attend day care or school until after treatment has been completed.
  • A child with chickenpox must remain out of day care or school until all lesions are dried and crusted, which is usually after about six days.
  • A child with pertussis (whooping cough) must remain out of school or day care until five days of antibiotic treatment have been completed. (Treatment is to continue for a total of 14 days.)
  • A child with mumps may not return to school or day care until nine days after the swelling begins.
  • A child with measles must remain out of school or child care until four days after the rash begins.
  • A child with hepatitis A must remain out of school or child care until one week after the child develops jaundice (yellow skin color) or becomes ill.
  • A child with tuberculosis must remain out of school or child care until the child’s physician or local health department authority feels the child’s condition is no longer infectious.
  • A child with an illness that prevents the child from feeling well enough to participate in the usual activities and routines should not be sent to school or child care. For child care only: A child whose illness requires more care than the child care staff can provide without putting the health and safety of other children at risk should not be sent to child care.