Mom Speaks Out: “Keep Your Sick Kid Home!”

If you’ve been a parent during cold and flu season, then you’ve probably met “that mom”. The one who shows up to the party/play group/kid gathering with their coughing/sneezing/all-too-recently flu-ridden child. The mom who set all the other parent eyes rolling at the inconsideration of bringing their infectious petri dish to spread germs to everyone else.

Well, recently, Imgur user LauraCorreadaSilva got up the nerve to say what a great many of us have secretly wanted to say to all “those” parents when she shared a photo of her toddler daughter Chloe in the intensive care unit along alongside a written warning to all parents,

“Please, If your child has a cold, or a flu, or an upper respiratory infection, please keep them home and take care of them.”

According to Silva, Chloe was hospitalized after being exposed to a lung infection from her young cousin at their family’s Christmas dinner. Silva’s brother told her that his daughter had a lung infection, but that it wasn’t contagious. This turned out not to be the case, and because 3-year-old Chloe is already an asthma sufferer, the RSV infection her cousin passed along was accelerated in her little lungs (RSV can be incredibly dangerous for little ones with a pre-existing lung condition).

Laura wanted to share their story “as a warning that even though you may think your kid isn’t contagious this can be the outcome.”

While it is unlikely that most children with a cough or a cold would be a catalyst for a situation of this extent, it is certainly possible. But, what I think it really comes down to is common sense and basic courtesy for other parents and their little ones.

My kids are perfectly healthy, so I don’t typically worry about a runny nose or a little cough, because with three kids there is quite literally always someone with some degree of illness or another in our household and if I let every case of the sniffles keep us home we would never leave. That said, it is something I always make sure to mention if we have a play date or outing scheduled with friends. Usually, most people aren’t too concerned about a case of the common cold, but there is the rare occasion when a friend has an immunocompromised child or perhaps they have something coming up and can’t afford to risk any illness. Whatever the case, I always prefer to give them the option of rescheduling and avoiding germs. It’s not rocket science…just a page from Human Decency 101.

Of course it is terribly inconvenient rearranging schedules and missing out on plans, but it’s just another part of being a parent. If your kid is sick, use your best judgement (staying home to let them rest if at all possible) and always disclose any illness to other people you’ll be around. It’s just that simple.