Childhood Illnesses
30 May, 2024

Childhood Illnesses and Prevention in Early Learning Centres

Childhood Illnesses and Prevention: Almost all parents will naturally be concerned to try and prevent their children from picking up various illnesses.

Childhood Illnesses and Prevention

In the context of attending an Early Learning Centre, that usually means things like colds, sniffles, sore throats etc. Some practices may help to reduce Childhood Illnesses risks though.

The Early Learning Centre and Hygiene

Hopefully all professionally registered and run early learning centres today will adopt the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness on their premises. If you have any questions in that respect, you should not hesitate to ask the providers for clarification on anything you are unsure of.

However, there is a reality of life here – children will catch bugs of one sort or another from each other. Whenever human beings come into close physical contact with each other, inevitably pathways open up for cross-infection.

There is very little that anyone can do to entirely avoid the risks of socialising other than to ban it entirely or insist that everyone is permanently masked and gloved (and even that cannot reduce the risk to zero).

As socialising is critically important for the cognitive and emotional development of children, such measures would likely do more harm than good to the younger population as a whole.

Medical perspectives

We are not medically qualified, so what follows is our reading of current qualified medical opinion. If you wish to consult further, you should discuss Childhood Illnesses matters with your doctor.

However, most medical opinion seems to suggest that children’s immune systems benefit from exposure to what might be termed the ‘normal’ daily bugs that surround them. Artificially isolating children and the overuse of things such as mass disinfectants, might paradoxically not be equipping them to face the real-world germs that they’ll be exposed to in school.

This is, of course, only in the context of those normal childhood ailments, such as colds, sore throats and the occasional upset tummy etc. There are more serious ailments where things such as vaccination and avoidance tactics are considered essential to prevent Childhood Illnesses.


Despite the above, there are things that parents and an Early Learning Centre can help to teach children to firstly reduce the risk of them catching something and then, equally importantly, to try and avoid passing onto others a bug they might have picked up. Good basic tips here include teaching children to:

  • understand and use tissues/hankies when sneezing or picking noses (yes, it does happen!);
  • wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet;
  • wash hands before eating, even if they look clean – particularly if they have been petting an animal beforehand;
  • avoid eating food that has been dropped on the floor;
  • dispose of dirty tissues in a bin and avoid re-using them multiple times or storing them for long periods in pockets;
  • coughing into hankies or elbows rather than into the open air.

Very young children may struggle to master some of these techniques or fully understand why they’re being asked to adopt them. That understanding and mastery will come over time with the help of adults.

It’s also important for parents to evaluate a child’s health before sending them to a daycare centre on a given day. It would be unrealistic to keep children away for minor sniffles or coughs but a child that is very heavily blocked and with constant sneezing or coughing should be kept at home. That is partly for their comfort but also to reduce cross-contamination risks.


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