Cold & Flu Season

What Can You Do to Keep Your Child Well During Cold and Flu Season?

Other than wrapping your child in plastic, how can you and your child care program keep your child healthy when it feels like everyone else is sick? Start by asking your child’s teacher what the sick policy is and how the child care program helps prevent germs from spreading.

Questions to ask regarding the sick policy:

  • When should a child who is sick stay home from child care?
  • When a child was at child care with a highly infectious sickness, how will the care giver alert other parents?
  • If your child becomes sick at child care, how will it be handled?
  • What plans are in place to lower the chances of your child getting sick from another ill child?
  • When are children who have had a fever or vomited allowed to return to child care?

Germs can spread quickly in a child care setting. Help your child stay well by instructing her to wash her hands frequently and not to drink or eat after other children. Be sure that you talk with your pediatrician to follow guidelines for vaccinations, including for the flu.


  • Babies love to put toys in their mouth. How does your child care provider make sure they are sanitized daily as not to infect other children?
  • Label your child’s bottles and pacifiers.

AGE 1 TO 2

  • Ask if the diaper areas are sanitized after each use and if the children’s toilets/bathrooms are sanitized each day.
  • Ask if your child care providers have multiple sinks to control cross contamination. Providers should not be using the same sink they use to wash their hands after changing diapers that they use to prepare bottles and other foods.

AGE 2 TO 3

  • Boost your child’s immunity by providing her with a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, and iron-rich foods as well as ensuring she gets plenty of sleep.
  • Child care providers should have a policy on what and how often things need to be cleaned, disinfected and sanitized. Talk with your provider about their list and schedule for cleaning.

AGE 3 TO 4

  • Make sure that your child care center has a hand washing policy that includes washing upon arrival, after sand or water play, before and after eating, etc.
  • Has the staff at your child care center been vaccinated against life threatening illness such as Pertussis? Be sure to advocate for vaccines.

AGE 4 TO 5

  • Kids who have had a fever or vomited within the last 24 hours should stay home from child care. Is this your care provider’s policy too?
  • Child care providers and children should all receive the flu vaccine in order to reduce the risk of illness.

Need More Information?

  • Healthy Children: Preventing the Spread of Illness in Child Care or School
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • Germ Prevention Strategies