Guide to Child Care for Injured Kids

Doctor and nurse treating boy's arm in hospital
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Many kids experience a broken bone, sprain, or another type of injury while growing up. But caring for a youngster with a significant injury may require special consideration by a provider, and for those who are watching many kids, other arrangements may need to be made during recovery time.

While broken bones and sprains do mend with time, working parents may face the additional burden of having to make alternate arrangements or seek accommodations from their child care provider while their tot is injured. While some injuries don't require any changes (a kid with a broken arm is still typically able to attend child care and participate in certain field trips, for example), more severe injuries may not be able to be appropriately managed in a regular care setting.

An in-home provider who has a schedule that involves weekly field trips, park outings, and even special activities like swimming or splash days, may not be able to adequately care for a wheelchair-bound youngster with a broken leg.

What to Consider When Deciding on Care

Here are things parents should consider when deciding on care for an injured child.

  • What is the scope of my child's injury and how fragile will they be during recovery?
  • What activities does my child care provider have planned during the recovery time and how will my child deal with disappointment and other emotions if they are not able to participate?
  • Is the regular child care arrangement even feasible during my child's recovery time? Will the environment provide a safe and healthy recovery opportunity?
  • Is the child care provider willing to work with the injury and do they feel comfortable that they will be able to adequately meet the safety and health needs of all children in their care during this time?
  • Am I comfortable that the child care provider will tend to my child as directed by their physician? While parents may love their provider and feel confident in their abilities for general care, they should carefully evaluate whether a provider can provide ample downtime with leg elevation and icing for a broken leg, for example, dispense with medications at appropriate times and also help with bathroom and other hygiene needs.
  • Will the daycare even allow an injured child to participate? Some facilities will not allow a child to attend until a physician signs an "OK to return" note for liability purposes.

Is there an in-home provider who can care for your child? Some providers know of qualified care providers who can come to your home during periods of recovery. While the rate is typically higher, it still allows peace of mind for working parents.

Preparing for Potential Situations

Caring for an injured child is something that most families don't plan for, but it is a good idea for parents to ask potential child care providers or early education centers what their policies are just in case the unexpected does occur.

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