It's hard enough to protect your kids from the flu when they're home with you, but once they go off to day care, the task of keeping them germ-free becomes considerably more challenging. If only you could follow your tot around with a bottle of hand sanitizer all day — but then, that sort of defeats the purpose of day care, and besides, the dang flu virus is airborne (so you'd be better off sending him in a mini surgeon's mask). Is there any way you can keep your kid safe from the flu at day care?
Unfortunately, much of what happens after you drop your little one off is out of your control. That's why the process of helping your child survive flu season safely actually begins when you're choosing a day care in the first place. Check out the policies your child's facility has in place involving mandatory vaccinations (in certain states, including California and Connecticut, a flu vaccine is mandatory for all children at licensed child care facilities), and make sure there are consistently enforced rules about when and for how long sick children have to stay home. Other things to think about: Are there enough hand-washing stations for the amount of kids, and are children instructed on how to use them properly? For that matter, are kids taught (and reminded often) to cough into their elbows and not all over the other children? And finally, are parents notified when a contagious illness hits the classroom?
Of course, by the time flu season comes along, chances are your kid has been in your day care of choice for a few months already at least, and switching facilities in favor of a less germ-promoting environment probably isn't an option. Still, there are some things you can do to help keep your tot as healthy as possible when he's out of your sight!