If you have heard the phrase “drop and run,” you probably have a good amount of experience at sending your kids to daycare. Alternatively, maybe you heard the phrase from other parents. Drop and run refers to a tactic employed by parents around the world, where they quickly drop off their child at daycare before anyone realizes they are sick.
It may sound like a difficult tactic, but it is very easy to pull off. Parents are usually dropping off their kids around the same time when they are heading to work. If you quickly drop off your child in front of a daycare staff member and rush off to your car, no one will have time to chat with you. By the time a staff member realizes your child is sick, as they cough, sneeze or show some other symptom, you are in your car driving away.
What can daycare centers do to combat this tactic?
Tackling Drop and Run Tactics
The first step for any daycare center is to have a clear policy regarding illnesses. Most elementary schools in the United States will not allow children to attend unless they are without a fever or covered from the other symptoms they showed. It is sensible for daycare centers to have a similar policy.
Parents are in a tough spot in these situations. They want to care for their sick child, but they cannot afford to miss work. While some businesses are sympathetic to the needs of parents, not every employer is so flexible. If both parents are unable to get the day off, they may feel like dumping their child on the daycare center is their least bad option.
However, daycare centers have to think about all the children who are spending the day – and their parents. Having a sick child is not only a headache for staff members, who have less time to devote to the other children, but it could result in an outbreak of a contagious illness.
Create a Policy, Stick to It and Train Staff Accordingly
The daycare center must have a specific policy. If a child has a fever or shows specific symptoms that indicate an illness, they are not permitted to stay at the daycare centers. Moreover, if parents drop off their child when they know the child is sick, there should be clear consequences in the policy. Perhaps a one-strike-and-you-are-out rule is too harsh, but parents should get no more than two or three such strikes before they are dismissed from the daycare center.
Staff should also get training in being able to tell the signs of a sick child. Children usually act a certain way when they are sick. Staff members who can quickly spot a sick child will be able to catch “drop and run” parents before they can drive away.
Moreover, daycare centers must be willing to have a tough talk with parents. If a parent comes with a sick child, the daycare center staff must be willing to tell them a sick child cannot stay there.