Children, Illness, and Absence from School

Symptoms and illnesses that exclude children from child care centres

Information from Hamilton Public Health:

Do not allow a child with any of the following symptoms to stay at the child care centre:

  • Fever and other symptoms such as nausea or vomiting
  • Fever and a body rash
  • Diarrhea – two or more liquid bowel movements (poop) or a change from the child’s normal bowel movement (e.g., runny, watery or bloody poop) with no other explanation such as laxative use.
  • Vomiting  two or more times in the last 24 hours with no other explanation such as medication
  • Yellow or white eye discharge that is not treated
  • Severe cough
  • Yellowish skin or eyes or jaundice
  • Irritability, continuous crying more than usual

The table below outlines diseases or illnesses and how long the disease requires a child to stay away from a child care centre.

Disease How long children should stay away from the child care centre
Chickenpox Until the fever goes away and spots have crusted over with scabs
Diarrhea with no known cause 24 hours after the last diarrhea
Diarrhea caused by E. coli or Shigella Until two consecutive negative stool specimens, or poop samples, are taken, 24 hours apart
Diarrhea from Giardia Until diarrhea stops
Diarrhea from Norovirus Until 48 hours after the last diarrhea
Diarrhea from Salmonella or Campylobacter Until 24 hours after the last diarrhea
Flu Until fever goes away and the child is feeling better
Head lice Until 24 hours after the first treatment was applied
Hepatitis A Until one week after the start of jaundice
Impetigo Until 24 hours after starting antibiotics
Measles   Until four days after the rash started
Meningitis – bacterial or viral Until the child is better; decision to be made by a doctor
Mumps Until nine days after swelling started
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough Until five days after starting antibiotics or until three weeks if not treated with antibiotics
Pinkeye with yellow or white discharge Until one full day of antibiotic treatment
Pinworms  Until 24 hours after starting treatment
Pneumonia Until feeling better and no fever and if treated, 48 hours after antibiotic therapy has started
Ringworm  Until treatment starts; keep child from swimming or wading pools and water play until treatment is complete
Scabies 24 hours after starting treatment
Scarlet fever 24 hours after starting treatment
Strep throat Until 24 hours after antibiotics are started
Tuberculosis Call Public Health Services at 905- 546-2063
Vomiting Until the vomiting stops or it is determined that the vomiting is caused by a non-infectious condition

For children well enough to be at the child care centre

If a child has an illness but is well enough to be in child care and does not have symptoms or a disease that require exclusion ensure that:

  • The child washes their hands more frequently
  • Staff wash hands more frequently
  • The child does not participate in water play
  • Staff clean and disinfect play areas and toys more often

Symptoms or illnesses that do not exclude children from child care centres

The following symptoms or illnesses do not require that a child be excluded from child care centres:

  • Cold sores, unless they are severe
  • Cytomegalovirus infections or CMV
  • Ear infections also known as otitis media, unless they are severe
  • Fever only unless a baby six months or less has it
  • Fifth disease, also called Parvovirus B19, Erythema Infectiosum and slapped face syndrome
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease
  • Asymptomatic giardia
  • Hepatitis B 
  • HIV
  • Irritated eye without discharge
  • Roseola
  • Thrush and Candida diaper rash
  • Shingles

DVMS also has a policy in place that requests children remain absent until free of symptoms, for 24 hours, of scarlet fever, elevated temperatures (fevers), vomiting, and severe rashes.