Here in Wisconsin, we are faced with VERY long winters. All those hours logged inside breed germs and bacteria, and most kids end up with a bug of some kind before the fresh Spring air makes its appearance (never soon enough!). Parents often grapple with when a child should stay home sick, and whether they are well enough for swim lessons. Sick child etiquette is tricky, because it depends on the severity of the illness and the likelihood of the illness spreading to others. When is sick TOO sick?

Here are a few tried-and-true Do’s and Don’ts to help you make your decision:

  1. DON’T come with a Fever: Any fever within 24 hours (unmedicated) should keep your child home and out of swim lessons. Swimming is demanding and exhausting and a child with a fever just isn’t well enough to get much out of lessons. It’s much better to allow your child to rest and recover so they will have the stamina and energy to come back ready the following week.
  2. DO come if the cold is minor or at the tail end. If your child is well enough to go to school or is acting mostly their typical self, they are probably fine for swim lessons. Colds can last for weeks, and runny noses are a dime a dozen all winter. In fact, the warm water and humid temperatures might be soothing!
  3. DON’T come if the the illness is obvious. If your child has a horrendous sore throat, never ending fluid coming from their nose, a hacking cough that just won’t quit or if your child is just plain exhausted, they should stay home. In a small group lesson, germs can travel easily from one child to another, or from child to instructor.
  4. DO come if the doctor approves! If your child is on antibiotics and the doctor gives the okay, they should be fine to come to class.
  5. DON’T worry about missing a lesson. Your child’s health is most important and chances are, if they are feeling crummy they will not get much out of lessons. It’s very difficult to put in the necessary physical effort when their body isn’t feeling up for it. If you have to miss a lesson, call as soon as you can to either schedule a makeup lesson or pick up a family swim pass.
  6. DO trust your gut. If you feel your child isn’t up for class, you know best. We know you want the best for your child and sometimes that means a day (or night) in jammies on the couch. Do whatever you need to do to get your child back on their feet – we will be here whenever they’re ready to come back!
  7. DO stay home if YOU are sick. Don’t feel pressured to come bring your child to lessons if you’re sick, either. We definitely understand that sometimes life happens and other families will surely appreciate you taking the time to rest and recover. Help us keep our waiting area and locker rooms as clean and germ-free as we can!

Here’s hoping for a safe and healthy winter for your families!