When Should Your Child Stay Home From School?

As a parent, deciding when your child needs to stay home from school is one of the trickier calls to make. If your child is not a fan of school, they may frequently come down with mysterious stomach pains and headaches that are hard to confirm. Conversely, your child may be a perfectionist who can't bear to miss a math quiz, even if they have a raging fever. Fortunately, guidelines exist that can help you make this decision.


When your child has a fever, making the school call is easier. If your school-age child has a fever of 100.4 or over, they should stay home until they have been fever-free for 24 hours. Fever often signals a contagious condition, so sending your child to school with one is bad for them and for their classmates. You don't want to be blamed for an illness outbreak, so, for the benefit of everyone concerned, keep your child home.

Stomach Issues

Many a child has received an unnecessary sick day due to vague stomach symptoms. If your child is running around one minute and then clutching their tummy the next, a case of schoolitis might be the cause or perhaps simple constipation.  However, any child that is vomiting or has diarrhea needs to stay home and possibly see the doctor. That includes teenagers as well.


Obviously, a child can't stay home every time that they have cold symptoms. For some kids, that would mean missing a month of school every year. However, there are times when a kid with a cold should not attend, such as when they have a high fever, as stated before. Also, if your child has a severe and persistent cough, you should keep them from going to school and take them to the doctor. They may have a more serious ailment than the common cold, including bronchitis or even pneumonia. Unfortunately, colds can be contagious for days, so if you send your child to school with a mild cold, remind them to cover their coughs and sneezes and wash their hands frequently to try and keep from spreading their illness.

Parents are usually quite skilled in determining if a child needs to stay home from school. On occasion, you might become stumped by your child's symptoms. Remember to follow a few guidelines and don't hesitate to consult your child's pediatrician or an internal medicine physician if necessary. Most of the time, you will get it right, and your child will be fine.