Illness policy — when children can’t come to the Centre

 

Drawing of spots by a child at St Mary's childcare centre.

Our illness policy aims to protect the health and safety of all children in our childcare centre. If a child has an infectious illness, they will need to stay away from the Centre until they are no longer infectious.

Where we get our advice

We take advice from Regional Public Health, Ministry of Health, and the Early Childhood Council about children’s illness and follow their guidelines.

When a child’s illness is infectious

Infection can spread rapidly when groups of people share the same living space. Children pick up infections very easily as they tend to have closer contact with each other and be less aware of hygiene.

Deciding whether illness is infectious

An ‘infectious person’ is defined by the Early Childhood Council as “any person, who may come into contact with children, and who have a disease or condition (that is likely to have a detrimental effect) and which is capable of being passed on to children”.

We use the Ministry of Health’s list of infectious diseases to help us decide whether a child needs to stay away from the Centre.

Infectious Diseases (on the Ministry of Health’s HealthEd website) gives this list.

What happens if the illness is infectious

If your child has an illness listed in the Infectious Diseases list, we will ask you to keep them away from the Centre until they are no longer infectious.

In some cases, we may also ask children who are likely to develop the illness to stay away, to protect them from the illness and prevent its spread.

Contacting parents

If we are told that a child at the Centre has an infectious illness, we will take advice from Regional Public Health and follow their instructions. This could involve contacting all families of children attending our childcare centre.

Diarrhoea

Children should not attend the Centre if they have diarrhoea. They should have at least 1 normal bowel motion before returning to the Centre.

If a child has other symptoms as well as diarrhoea (such as a fever, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting,  or a headache), they are likely to have a gastrointestinal infection. They should stay away from the Centre until at least 48 hours after their first normal bowel motion.

Vomiting

Repeated vomiting (ie vomiting 2 or more times in the previous 24 hours) suggests infection. The child should be taken to the doctor and kept away from the Centre for at least 48 hours after the last vomit. The only exception is where the vomiting is caused by a condition that is not infectious and the child is not in danger of dehydration.

Conjunctivitis

Children must not return to the Centre until the discharge caused by conjunctivitis has stopped.

If a child becomes ill at the Centre

If a child becomes ill while at the Centre, we will do the following:

  1. Staff will tell the Head Teacher that the child is or seems unwell.
  2. Centre staff will use Ministry of Health and Regional Public Health resources (including the Infectious Diseases list) to decide what to do.
  3. The child will be isolated from other children to reduce the risk of further infection, but will be cared for by staff at all times.
  4. Staff will inform the child’s parents or caregivers about the illness.
  5. The Head Teacher and the child’s parents or caregivers will discuss and decide what action needs to be taken. For example, they will decide whether the child needs to leave the Centre immediately and/or whether the child should see a doctor to identify or confirm the illness.
  6. The Centre’s first aid form will be filled out with the date, time, child’s name, illness observed (eg vomited, diarrhoea, high temperature, spots etc), and the action taken by staff. This form will be signed by the staff member involved and the child’s parent or caregiver when they come to collect the child from the Centre.
  7. If  a parent, caregiver, or emergency contact cannot be contacted or cannot pick up the ill child immediately, the Centre will care for the child until they arrive. Staff may also want to talk about the child’s condition with a doctor if they feel that the illness needs medical advice.

 

Policy details

Applies to:  All staff and children

Enquiries to:  Head Teacher

Last updated:  July 2013