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15 Smart Ways to Protect Your Kids from Daycare Germs

When a few coughing kids are together in a room, you cannot stop germs from spreading. Children who are in daycare or preschool are quite susceptible to respiratory, intestinal, and other infections. Children also go through a stage where they seem to be ill all the time. Kids who are placed in daycare tend to contract infections early on, but they also have the advantage of building up immunity before they start public school, while those who are put straight to school might fall sick very often in the first few years. It's just a phase that kids need to go through while their immune systems are building.

Apart from getting a private babysitter at home, there is not much you can do about kids getting ill in daycare. Private sitters are expensive, and with so many working parents, daycare is by far the best option. Children learn to adjust to new situations better after spending time in a daycare and throw fewer tantrums, so try not to feel guilty when you drop them at their day care centers, which are sometimes referred as "germ farms" by doctors. That said, there are several things you can do to lessen the risk of your child catching an infection at daycare.

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15 Opt for Immunity-Boosting Foods

Foods containing phytonutrients, which are natural germ fighters, like fruits, vegetables, spices, olive oil, omega 3 containing foods, should be fed to kids. Children who diet on foods containing bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, wild salmon, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger, tend to be healthier as compared to others. Also, instruct your daycare provider about not giving highly sweetened food and drinks to your children as excess sweeteners reduce a child's immunity.

14 Make Sure Nasal Passages Are Clear

The nose is often the entry passage for many germs affecting the respiratory tract and ears, so keep little noses clean. You can get your child into the habit of taking a steam clean where they enjoy a shower and breathe deeply. 

13 Check on Your Daycare's Policies

Your daycare's hygiene policies need to be agreeable to you. Make sure they have hand washing policies and methods to carefully dispose of diapers after the staff has changed them. They should thoroughly wash children's hands after they've been to the loo. Also, your daycare should have a policy of not admitting contagious children and having well-ventilated rooms with fresh air. Kids should also be encouraged to play in the open as long as the weather permits. The space-to-child ratio is important, because the greater this is, the lesser is the chance of infection spreading. 

12 Go for Regular Medical Checkups

Make sure that your child’s vaccination shots are up to date. Check with your doctor on infection control in day care, as they may be able to advise you on any special medical care that your child might require depending on their specific immune system needs. 

11 Wash Their Hands

It is most important that daycare providers wash your child's hands before they eat their snacks. It is equally important that they wash their own hands too after changing a diaper or helping a child blow their nose. On your end, you must wash your kid's hands when they get home. This is the most effective prevention against your child falling ill. Show your kid how to wash their hands carefully with warm water and soap for at least as long as it takes them to sing the ABC song. Also, remind them not to use their sleeves to wipe anything, as it could spread the freshly sneezed germs.

10 The Sick Kid Rule

Trust your child to a daycare that has a strict sick-kid policy that ensures that kids who are ill stay at home. When your own child is unwell, prevent other kids from catching it and don't send them to daycare. If you're unable to stay at home with your child, check if someone from your family or friends can help out or explore sick-child care options in your community. 

9 Teach Your Child to Use Tissues

Children tend to be fascinated with their nose and generally develop a habit of picking it. Teach them to use tissues whenever they feel the urge. Use Kleenex with the sneeze shield layer that prevents the nose germs from getting on your child's hands. 

8 Fight the Germs with Immunity

Make sure that your child is getting the rest and nutrition that their body needs to keep the immune systems strong. Feed your children with a balanced diet that contains plenty of nutrients, and make sure that they get proper sleep during the night.

7 Sanitize the Toys

Kids often place toys in their mouths, and the germs from the toys can easily infect your children this way. Suggest your daycare center to have a policy on cleaning and sanitizing toys at least once a day. Ideally, every time a toy is placed in a kid's mouth, it should be kept aside until it has been cleaned and disinfected, and should not be available to others. 

6 Don't Overprotect Your Child

This can be a bit tricky to achieve, but many people believe that increasing the child’s social life before the beginning of day care can help the child build immunity before they're hit by daycare germs. Participate in group play dates and encourage your kids to play at indoor tumble gyms in moderation. This way, they will be exposed to germs a bit early on and might bring only mild complaints later. 

5 Breastfeed Your Child

If you're sending your infant to daycare, make sure that you're nursing the baby no matter what. Even if you're down with some illness, you must continue to feed the child as they'll receive the antibodies for whatever you're fighting from your milk. Your breast milk might even protect your kid from others' illnesses. 

4 Keep Belongings to Self

Although making friends at the day care will be important for your child, teach them to avoid sharing hats, toothbrushes, combs, plates and other similar personal items with other children. This will go a long way in ensuring that your child is safe from germ infections. Speak to your kid about not sharing food, drinks, and silverware with others, rather keeping their own germs to themselves.

3 Encourage Your Child to Speak to the Caregiver

Your child should be able to freely share all concerns with the adult caregiver at the daycare center. Teach your child not to touch other children's urine, stool, blood or any form of drainage. Advise them to notify their caregiver if another child has accidentally urinated, passed a stool, or is bleeding. 

2 Motivate Your Child to Exercise

Regular exercise will help your child fight off the flu. Make sure that your child engages in moderate physical activity every day to boost their immune system. The healthier your child is, the better they will be able to deal with any virus around them. During the winter months, look for indoor activity opportunities like gymnastics or swimming. If your child is interested in outdoor winter sports, take the necessary precautions for cold weather—warm clothing, sunscreen, proper nutrition and hydration. 

1 Don't Hesitate to Ask Questions

Since you're trusting your child to a daycare, you need to be well informed about the center's policies and rules. Most parents are not sure what questions need to be asked about their children's child care program. You must check with your daycare on the certainty of a timely notification to you in the case of your child falling sick in your absence. Don't hesitate in asking for specific details on the policies put in place to reduce the chances of infection spreading from sneezing, coughing or vomiting children.

Even with all safety measures, it is possible that some infections will spread in your kid's daycare. Fortunately, all illnesses are not contagious and you will not need to separate your sick child from other children always. If your kid has an ear infection, for instance, but feels well enough to be in child care, let them attend as long as a caregiver can give timely medication to them.

Schools, childcare facilities, and playgrounds are full of fun and energy for your child if we diminish the risk of germs from these places. Any place where many kids come in contact with each other is likely to have this risk, and you can't protect your child from every virus that might be going around. Just do your best to prevent the sore throats, sniffles, and tummy aches by following the steps mentioned above.

Don't stress yourself too much over this, as long as you're doing your part. In fact, a little bacteria might actually be good for kids as it will ultimately help them build stronger immune systems, as per the National Institutes of Health.

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