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Head Lice and Day Care

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Updated on July 19, 2020

Your child has had lice. Is it OK to bring an infested child to day care?

We get it. You have to get to work, your child feels fine, but you’ve looked in her hair because she was scratching and you think she has head lice. You want to bring her to day care but you’re not sure that’s the right thing to do. What’s a parent to do?

What you really need to do is call the day care center and find out what its policy is. The policies have changed significantly over the past five years. Before 2014, there were hardly any day care centers that would allow children to attend with head lice. In fact, even if a child had nits (lice eggs) only, he or she would not have been permitted to attend.

In April 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics changed its recommendations. The organization, in accordance with the National Association of School Nurses, recommended that schools permit children with head lice to remain in school. The theory was that many children have already been there for weeks before they are diagnosed, giving them ample opportunity to spread lice. In addition, they believe that most children do not pass lice along while at school because that requires head to head direct contact. Furthermore, too many children were missing several days of school when they felt healthy. Basically the point was that head lice is a nuisance but not an illness.

Fast forward five plus years and many schools are following the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics. As the schools have change their policies, so have day care centers. The pro side of this is that children’s routines are not interrupted and parents can go to work. The negative side of this is that young children in close contact with each other may actually pass along cases of lice.cartoon children running and holding hands

LiceDoctors recommends that your day care center monitor every case of head lice in the room. This is important: nits cannot be transferred but the bugs can be. If a child has an active case of live bugs and is at day care, that child should be kept separate from other children until the case is clear.

If your child has a case of head lice, LiceDoctors can make a call directly to your home and treat your family and can also go to the day care center and perform checks and treatments on the kids. We have treated hundreds of thousands of children both in their home and at school or day care. Head lice are very contagious and will not go away by themselves. For more information on head lice and preschool be sure to check out our Education Center and give us a ring at 817-886-8290 and an experienced lice professional will come and take care of your child. The sooner the case is checked and treated the faster the treatment goes. Whether your child is allowed to go to day care or not, she or he needs to be treated as lice cases do not get better on their own.