Parents not sure when to keep sick kids out of school

- It's a decision many parents need to make this time of the year: Is my child too sick to go to school? But a new poll from the University of Michigan finds many parents aren't sure when their kids should stay home sick.

The poll included almost 1,500 parents of children aged 6-18 nationwide. Seventy-five percent of parents reported at least one sick day for their child in the past year. The top reasons for keeping a child home were concerns their illness would get worse or spread to classmates.

A University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health found that parents have differing views about levels of sickness. 

Parents of young children (ages 6-9) were more likely to say that health-related concerns were an important factor in keeping children home from school.

Two in 5 parents of  high school students view missing tests or falling behind in school as a very important consideration in keeping a sick child home from school.

Symptoms also make a difference. Eighty percent of parents were not likely to send a child to school with diarrhea, while rates were lower for vomiting (58%) or a slight fever (49%). Parents were more likely to send kids to school with a cough or runny nose.

The poll also found parents said not wanting to miss work was a very important factor (11%) in deciding whether to keep a child home from school.

In addition, 18 percent of parents said not being able to find someone to stay home with their sick child was important.

As general guidelines, doctors say you should keep your child home if:

1. Your child has a fever
2. Your child is not well enough to participate in class
3. Your child may be contagious to other children

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