Should NJ have daycare for sick children to help working parents? (Opinion)
This is by far one of the biggest struggles when it comes to households with two working parents. What do you do when your child gets sick? Before the pandemic, most places would overlook a runny nose or a few sniffles. That's not the case anymore.
If your kids are older, this might not be that big of a problem. But when it comes to younger kids, especially those in daycare, it can force you to miss a day of work when you simply can't afford to do that.
If you were to look for solutions, you'll quickly realize that there aren't many for when your children aren't feeling well. Yes, options exist for emergency situations or if a regular care provider is sick, but when it comes to your actual child being sick, most recommend staying home. And thus the problem when staying home isn't an option.
One idea that's come up in local online chat groups is the possibility of a daycare exclusively for kids that are under the weather, but not seriously ill. A daycare model that can be streamlined across the state for all working parents and their families facing this situation, making it easy to find a solution.
So what might something like this look like? Let's break it down and find out.
What might the criteria be?
A licensed daycare of this nature for younger kids might accept children with slight colds, but nothing too serious.
Anything that prevents your child from going to their regular daycare, or anything that might be enough cause for concern is a good starting point.
How might locations be staffed?
Qualified child care staff with extra training in place to safely care for a sick child would be the ideal solution.
Much like a standard daycare facility, only with specialized training to help staff care for children under the weather.
Should a medical expert be on-site?
This would have to be a requirement. One plausible solution could be to have a trained medical professional on-site, such as a nurse, with a doctor-on-call in case additional care is needed.
Should the daycare partner up with a medical facility?
A daycare for sick children might partner up with local pediatricians within a particular region to ensure a child's regular doctor is just a phone call away.
Another possibility is a partnership with a local urgent care facility, where a doctor is on standby should the need arise.
What might the environment look like?
The feel of the daycare would have to mirror that of a regular daycare in order to keep the children engaged and entertained.
Beds and sleeping areas would also be required, especially since many of the children might need more rest to help them feel better.
Should there be an outdoor space for play?
Most daycares have an outdoor play area, so a daycare for sick children shouldn't be any different.
Of course, not as many children might be feeling well enough to go outside. But if they are, they should be able to get some fresh air under the sun.
Should the facility be cleaned regularly?
Daycares typically clean all their toys, rooms, beds, and spaces on a regular basis, and this shouldn't be any different for a facility of this nature.
An exception to this should be to clean frequently throughout the day. Each child should also have their own toys to play with to help prevent different illnesses from being passed around.
What about social distancing?
Forget the pandemic for a moment. Social distancing when anyone is sick is important, and that would have to hold true in a daycare for sick children.
The setup in such a daycare would have to be done in a way where kids maintain a safe distance at all times.
So would the kids be able to see one another?
A solution to this could be what we've seen since the pandemic arrived. Wherever there's a dividing section, a clear plastic window could be installed to allow children to see one another.
With technology today, there are many ways kids can see and hear each other without being next to one another.
Giving parents some peace of mind
If such a daycare could be implemented, it would almost certainly give parents peace of mind.
Just knowing there's a location you can bring your child to in the event of a minor cold would take a lot of pressure off parents who either can't afford to miss a day, or don't have the ability to work from home.
If you're a working parent of young children and feel this might be something that could benefit you, please don't hesitate to share this article to see what others think.
If enough of us speak up, the more likely something like this could become reality for the hard-working parents of New Jersey.