Mom slams parents who don’t keep sick kids at home

Jan. 30, 2020
Mom slams parents who don’t keep sick kids at home

Cold season is rough for parents. Kids can be like little germ factories that swap colds in the classroom, at day care and at birthday parties on the weekends. We all hope that when a child is visibly ill, their parents will keep them at home to avoid spreading germs. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, and one mom on Facebook wants other parents to know she is tired of it.

Samantha Moria Reynolds writes on Facebook that she woke up one Friday morning and realized her son was running a 101.4 degree fever. Instead of dosing him with cold meds and sending him to school as usual, she kept him home that day — and she expects other moms and dads to do the same.

“Sam did NOT send her son to school,” she writes. “Even after the fever went down a couple hours later, Sam did NOT send her son to school. Sam missed work knowing that the well-being of her son and the kids who attend his school is more important than work missed. Sam’s son was invited to THREE birthday parties over the weekend. Sam’s son has been so excited to go, but he will unfortunately also have to miss them because Sam’s son is SICK.”

Her post is written in the style of the popular “Be Like Bill” meme, which uses a fictional character named Bill to give people instructions on how to behave better. In this case, Reynolds is subbing herself in as “Bill” and taking aim at parents who don’t take extra precautions with sick kids.

“Sam knows her son is still contagious until he is fever-free, WITHOUT medication, for 24 hours,” she writes. “If Sam’s son is running a fever at 7am on Sunday, Sam’s son will also not be attending school on Monday. Be. Like. Sam.”

The post has only been on Facebook for a few days, but it’s already been shared 184,000 times. A lot of parents are applauding Reynolds for doing the right thing by keeping her son at home and for calling out “disrespectful” people who don’t do the same thing.

“It is so disrespectful when parents do that to other children,” one woman writes. “I know everyone needs to go to work, but those other parents need to go to work too … As a rule, keep yourself home and your children home if anyone is running a fever, and everyone will be a lot happier and healthier.”

While it’s annoying to think someone might knowingly expose others to illness, it’s also a reality that not every parent has the ability to take time off when their child is sick. Currently, the U.S. government does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave. According to a 2018 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 33% of wage and salary workers in the U.S. did not have access to any paid leave from 2017 to 2018.

For parents who don’t have sick leave, taking time off may not be possible. Missed work can also mean lost wages, which can be dire for struggling families. The federal minimum wage is still only $7.25 per hour, though some states have adopted different rates. That amounts to an annual salary of $15,080. 

A family of three would need to bring in $21,720 annually just to be considered above the poverty threshold. As one teacher writes in a 2019 op-ed for the Las Vegas Sun, “For parents who make only minimum wage, three unpaid days can mean the loss of a family’s entire grocery budget for the month.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping children home from school and activities when they have:

  • A temperature higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • A sore throat that lasts longer than 48 hours.

  • A significant rash.

  • Large amounts of discolored nasal discharge.

  • Severe ear pain.

  • An uncontrolled cough.

  • Diarrhea.

  • A severe headache.

Keeping kids home not only protects other people from their illnesses, but also ensures the child adequate time to rest and recover. In an ideal world, most parents would follow these rules, but it’s important to remember that not everyone can.

There may be parents who send their kids to birthday parties with strep throat or who don’t care if their kid goes to after-school care with a cold. But there may also be mothers who have to choose between leaving a sick baby at day care or being fired from their waitressing job. There may be fathers who can’t keep a sick child at home for one more day without worrying about how they’ll pay the electricity bill.

Reynolds writes in her post that when her son was sick, she “missed work knowing that the well-being of her son and the kids who attend his school is more important than work missed.”

But it’s safe to assume that most parents care about the well-being of their children. The problem is not all parents have the luxury of choice, and turning on each other isn’t the cure for that.

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