Today I have a sobering post. Unfortunately, this post is rooted in tragedy. I think all providers can learn a lot from the experience of other providers, even a bad experience. So today I want to talk to you about a new policy you should seriously consider adopting. It is called the 24-Hour Rule. Read why you might what to adopt this rule TODAY!
What is the 24-Hour Rule?
Some time ago I wrote about what I have found is a common practice among providers. It was called the 9-Hour Rule. While that practice/policy referred to putting a limit on the maximum hours in care, the 24-Hour Rule refers to and addresses a health concern. Specifically, the 24-Hour Rule is a policy of requiring parents to keep their child out of childcare for 24 hours following receiving immunizations.
Why would a 24-Hour Rule be needed?
As I stated, this particular policy is directly related to a tragic event. A colleague of mine informed me today that a provider in our area had a child die in their care. The child came to the childcare following a medical appointment where immunizations where given. The provider put the child down for a nap as usual, but when she returned the provider found that the child was deceased.
Even though there where no marks on the child or any visual evidence of abuse, the police where called, the provider was put under arrest and taken into custody. The licensing analyst later would comment that the provider should not have allowed the child to attend the childcare following immunizations being administered.
How to require a 24-Hour Rule
Quite some time ago, I remember reading on some paperwork, that it is advisable that parents keep their child at home following immunizations. This was simply as a precaution for the parent to observe the child for any possible complications that might arise.
I just checked and in fact my contract states “Immunizations: When it is time to schedule your Child’s shots, if possible, please schedule them for a Friday or a day when you (Parent) can be with Child for the following 24 hours.” After hearing about the recent death, this is something I feel now needs to be a mandatory policy. I will be removing the words “if possible” from that statement.
Making the Policy Change
Now listen, I know what you are thinking, “my parents give me push back about keeping their kids home even when they are sick. There is probably no way they will keep their kids home after immunizations, even if I make it a policy.”
I get it! Believe me, I do. I have been there too.
And I also know that providers can feel a bit intimidated by asking parents to follow new policies. And yes, most of our clients are working parents. As such they may find it difficult to arrange to be off work with their child. The problem is, in reality, parents more than likely will need to take some time off from work related to the care of their children.
The fact is it is primarily the parents responsibility to insure the well being of their child.
While all that may very well be true, the primary consideration is the child. The fact is it is primarily the parents’ responsibility to ensure the well being of their child. Most providers care for more than one or even two children. In the event that a child requires more one-on-one attention, the parent is the best person to administer that care.
In this tragic story of a child’s death, perhaps if they had been home with a parent their symptoms may have been recognized in time.
Make the Change
My suggestion is to require that a child be excused from care for a 24-Hour period following receiving immunizations. Perhaps suggesting that those medical appointments be scheduled for Friday afternoons or even Saturday if possible. That way the parent would be able to observe the child over the weekend and identify any potential complications or problems that might arise.
The thing is, this is serious! Most people do not realize the very real liability the childcare provider has caring for other people’s children.
Personally, I will be issuing a Policy Change Memo to my clients this week to advise them of our revised policy related to the 24-Hour Rule following immunizations. The policy will not have the usual 30-day grace period, but will be effective immediately. I will stress the need for the immediate change is to protect the health and well being of the children in care.