You receive a call halfway through your day that your child is ill and needs to be picked up from school. The next question that typically follows -- when is it safe for him or her to return to school? Check out these guidelines on when to keep a child home:

  • If your child is running a fever, he or she should be kept home from school. A good rule of thumb is that a child should not return to school until at least the day after his or her temperature is normal without medication.
  • If your child seems too sluggish and lethargic to pay attention in school, odds are he or she isn’t taking much away from lessons and should be kept home.
  • If your child is experiencing a loud cough, frequent trips to the restroom, or any other symptoms that may be disruptive to both your child’s learning and classmates, he or she should be kept home until symptoms subside.
  • If your child is contagious with an illness such as pink eye, he or she should be kept home until a doctor deems it appropriate to return to school.

In addition, check out these tips on when to take your child to an urgent care facility versus the hospital:

Your child should see a physician if he or she has/needs:

  • A possible fracture to a bone
  • A persistent cough
  • Cuts or scrapes that may need tending
  • Ear or sinus pain
  • A fever, cold, or the flu
  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Mild to moderate asthma attacks
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • A rash
  • A sore throat
  • A sprain or strain
  • Tetanus and flu vaccination

If your child has a more serious or life-threatening condition, he or she should be taken to the emergency room immediately. Reasons may include:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Heart attack
  • Sudden or unexplained loss of consciousness
  • Wound that will not stop bleeding
  • Major injury
  • Stroke
  • Chest pain; numbness in the face, arm, or leg; or difficulty speaking
  • High fever with a stiff neck, mental confusion, or difficulty breathing
  • Severe shortness of breath