Mercy's Dr. Ashanti Woods Weighs In On Considering Daycare for Your Child As COVID-19 Restrictions Lift
As the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations fall and restrictions are lifted in different parts of the country, daycare facilities are beginning to open. But what should parents keep in mind when it comes to bringing their kids back to daycare? Mercy pediatrician Dr. Ashanti Woods responded to questions from WhatToExpect.com on the subject…
* What precautions should child care centers take to keep kids and families safe?
Checking temperatures daily for kids and staff, social distancing where possible, vigilance with wiping down toys, planning for staff absenteeism.
* If your daycare center reopens, should you send your child back?
Depends on necessity. With many families having one or both parents working from home, Moms and Dads in some cases need the kids to be engaged and watched by the daycare staff. Also, some families simply want their child to get the social interaction that comes along with attending daycare. Ultimately, it will be a family decision whether returning to daycare is the best move. Ideally, if the decision is to return to daycare, the institution should have protective measures in place.
* What do you want parents to keep in mind when making this decision?
How savvy is the facility with most recent CDC guidelines, and how will the facility keep families abreast if a child or staff member becomes sick.
* What would happen if your child became sick?
Tricky question. If sick with fever – that child should sent home and instructed to stay there until he or she is free of fever for 24 hours without the use of Tylenol or Motrin. After a 24 hour period of being symptom-free and feeling normal, that child should be allowed to return to daycare.
If a child with fever tests positive for coronavirus, that child should stay out of daycare for approximately 2 weeks. However, as of now, there is no mandate that a child in daycare who develops a fever MUST be tested for COVID-19. Therefore, I encourage parents of children who ultimately develop a fever at daycare to specifically ask for COVID-19 testing as the results will likely dictate the child’s return to class. Daycare centers could even require, independently, that a condition of return for a child that had a fever is negative COVID-19 testing. The issue here becomes availability and reliability.
* What about if a daycare center caregiver became sick?
Same, should get tested and if positive, home for 14 weeks. If negative or no test done, 24-hour fever free.
* If you send your child back to daycare, what can you do to keep them as safe as possible?
To keep a child as safe as possible, parents should practice having child (as long as they are 2 years of age or older) wear protective mask, learn how to carry and use hand sanitizer before and after eating, and learn how to cover coughs and sneezes.
--Ashanti Woods, M.D.
Ashanti Woods, M.D., FAAP, specializes in General Pediatrics at Mercy Family Care Physicians in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Woods is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He offers a wide spectrum of pediatric care for newborns through adolescents. His practice is focused on prevention, health awareness and building long-lasting, trusting relationships with his patients and their parents.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.