When is Your Child Too Sick To Visit?
(Shared Parenting - Visitation)
Copyright 1998 by Douglas Darnall, Ph.D.
A parent sometimes uses the argument of illness as an excuse for not letting the children
visit the nonresidential parent for shared parenting time. Many nonresidential parents grow bitter and suspicious when they hear too often, "The child is too sick to visit and will have to stay home." The argument is not completely the parent's fault because there is no agreed criterion for when a child should stay home. Parents many times have to use their own judgment. One guideline is to use the same standard you use for deciding to keep your child from going to school. If you believe your child is well enough to attend school, he or she is usually well enough to visit. In addition, if one of your children is sick but the others are healthy, there is little justification to keep all the children home. The others should be able to go on their visit unless a physician says otherwise.
I tried to find guidelines for when a child should stay home because of illness. After consulting with physicians and pediatricians, I learned there are no agreed upon standards. An example is whether or not a child should go to school if they have a temperature under 100 degrees. Some pediatricians see no problem while others may disagree. Anyway, I am not a physician, but after talking with physicians and pediatricians, I have gathered some guidelines from pediatricians that may be helpful. These guidelines are a guide and should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions, consult your child's physician and follow his or her recommendations. Keep in mind, there is no defense for ignoring your child's physician's advice. Even withholding medication because you don't agree with the medical or psychiatric treatment is practicing medicine without a license. If you don't agree with the treatment, see about getting a second opinion rather than taking your child's treatment in your own hands. In the mean time, adhere to the prescribed treatment.
If anyone knows of any standards, please send me the resource or a copy of the standards with
Guidelines for when to keep your child home
- Has a temperature over 100 degrees.
- Has just started an antibiotic for an infection. For some infections, the physician may order
the child to remain home for the first 24 hours after starting the antibiotic. Ask the child's
physician when your child would be healthy enough to leave the house or visit.
- If your child is well enough to go to school, he or she is well enough to visit
- Has had active vomiting or diarrhea during the past 18 hours.
- Has dizziness, weakness, or flu-like symptoms. Has any physical pain or discomfort that immobilizes the child.
Your family doctor should be called for any unexplained physical pain.
- Has observable physical complaints or symptoms requiring immediate medical attention.
- Has a contagious disease, such as measles or mumps. The physician may advise you to keep your child isolated from others while the disease is in its incubation period.
Sometimes a child will be recuperating from an illness or an injury. Most of the time, they can recuperate just as well at either home. Also, if you are the residential parent, you must give the other parent medical instructions and medication. As the nonresidential parent, you must follow the physician's advice. I hope this page will give
both parents some guidance.