Could Your Child Get a Disease from Day Care?

The University of Michigan Division of General Pediatrics conducted a national survey about parents’ views of daycare policies and vaccines. The sample of American parents of children ages 0-5 indicated that most parents think that daycare providers should know and review the immunization status of the children in their care, and should require that the immunizations be up-to-date.

Here are some interesting statistics from the survey:

  • Three-quarters of parents think daycare providers should check vaccination records every year.
  • Two-thirds of parents think they should be informed of the number of children at the daycare center who are not up-to date on vaccines.
  • 41% of parents support a policy to exclude under-vaccinated kids from daycare until they become up-to-date.

If you have a child in a daycare, you know that your child will get sick at some point. But what if the sickness brought to the daycare by another child is whooping cough? Or the measles? Even if your child is vaccinated, he or she could bring those germs home to others in your household, perhaps a family member with cancer or a relative who is pregnant.

Another point brought up in the survey report is that younger children in the daycare who are too young to receive all their vaccines may be compromised by older children who are under-vaccinated.

When my children were preschool age, I honestly never thought about it. I was vigilant about making sure they were up-to-date on their own vaccines, but didn’t consider the danger of them being exposed to children who weren’t. I would want to know if my children were going into a situation every day where other children were not up-to-date on their vaccines.

One point that the report makes is that even though most parents support requirements that children have up-to-date vaccines, some states only require them when the children enter daycare, so records may not be checked after that. “Poll results show that three-quarters of parents feel daycares should check vaccination records every year; in practice, this may not be done consistently.”

The poll also showed that parents wanted to know how many children in their child’s daycare were up-to-date on vaccines. While they didn’t want to know that names of individual children, they wanted the information so that they could move their child to a different daycare situation if they felt it was warranted.

I weigh in on the side of the majority of parents. I would want to know what kinds of preventable diseases my children were being exposed to because other parents chose not to have their children vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and whooping cough – potentially deadly illnesses – are on the rise because some parents are choosing not to have their children immunized. These are preventable diseases that immunizations have virtually erased in the U.S. Now they are on the rise. Why should my children or others in my home be put at risk because others choose to take a big risk with their own children by not having them vaccinated?

What do you think? Should all children in daycares be vaccinated? Should they be checked yearly? Does your daycare check vaccination records? How often? Should kids who are not vaccinated or who are under-vaccinated be removed from daycare? Read the full report here


Categories: Editor’s Blog