When to keep your sick kids home from school

HOUSTON – On average, children get eight viruses a year, and every year American kids are missing millions of school days.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is actually very mindful that kids get sick and parents have to work. So, their guidelines on when to keep a child home from school are actually a little less strict than you may think.

AAP Child Care Recommendations for Exclusion:
The primary reasons for exclusion from child care or school are that the condition:
•    Prevents the child from participating comfortably in activities
•    Results in a need for care that is greater than staff members can provide without compromising the health and safety of other children
•    Poses a risk of spread of harmful disease to others 

Kids need to be free from a fever for 24 hours without medication before returning to school.

However, illnesses like diarrhea may not come with a fever and are still be a reason to stay home from school, according to Kelsey-Seybold pediatrician Dr. Jessica Lanerie.

“If they have major behavior changes, they're not eating, not drinking, complaining of severe pains to where they're going to be uncomfortable during the school day, parents want to keep them home,” Lanerie said.

Lanerie said it's important to be mindful of other families.

“There's kiddos at school who may have underlying medical problems and what just causes a cold or runny nose in one child, for a kid that has another underlying problem it could cause a very severe illness where they wind up in the hospital or worse. So we really need to think about and protect those kiddos as well,” she said.