Kids Home > When to Keep Your Sick Child Home From School

One of the tricky decisions parents face is whether to send a sick child to school. Many parents follow the general rule of thumb of keeping their child home if they are vomiting, have diarrhea, or are too exhausted to learn. If you are still in doubt, however, you can call your child's pediatrician for advice.

How to Know?

It can sometimes be difficult to determine if you should send your child to school when they wake up complaining of symptoms of an illness. Although it may be tough to know whether a little cough or tummy ache is reason enough to keep your little one home, there are some general guidelines that may help in making your decision.
 

What Do the Experts Recommend?

In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends sending your child to school if he or she is well enough to learn. During cold and flu season, if your child is not significantly ill, then the best place for them is in school, where they have obviously already been exposed to the germs.
 
However, you are the best judge of how your child may be feeling. If his or her symptoms are not likely to disrupt the ability to concentrate in class, then sending him to school is a good choice. But if your child will be miserable or disruptive, then a sick day (or two) may be appropriate.
 
For example, if your child is too sleepy or has vomiting or diarrhea, it may be difficult for them to sit in class all day. Also, if your child has a severe cough that would disrupt the class, then it may be a good idea to have at least a day to rest.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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