Aussie mum reveals 'horrific' toll of daycare: 'It's a revolving door'

The mum has shared her family's ordeal after her son recovered from a month-long illness only to get sick again two days later.

An Aussie mum speaking to camera.
An Aussie mum has opened up on the 'revolving door' of daycare illness and its affect on working parents. Source: TikTok

A mum has lifted the lid on the horrors of daycare sickness as her son recovered from a month-long bout of illness only to get sick again two days after starting back at the centre.

Claudia Rose said her 13-month-old son, who recently started at daycare full-time, had just recovered from a variety of illnesses including croup, RSV, gastro, diarrhoea and his first “massive cold, cough, temperature situation” which saw him rushed to the emergency room.

However, just days after returning to his daycare, the Sydneysider said her son’s cough had flared up again.

In a video posted to TikTok, she said it was their third week in a row of sickness and added: “Coincidentally this is also his third week of going to daycare full-time and I’m like: ‘This is horrific.’

“His daycare is great,” Rose said. “It’s lovely, but obviously there’s just so many babies altogether and the germs are insane. It’s just so draining as a parent, trying to be a working parent and having this constant sickness that you literally can’t avoid because you have to send them to daycare.

Sick toddler with a bunny, as hand holds thermometer saying 38C.
Claudia Rose's toddler has been contracting one illness after another. Source: Getty

“You hear so much about it and this constant sickness, it’s you know, our third week of me back at work and yeah, it’s already non-stop and I’m just like: ‘Oh my God, how does everyone do it? How does everyone cope?' It’s so hard. It’s like a revolving door of sickness.”

Other mums echoed Claudia's frustration with one saying: "No joke, my daughter was probably sick 10 or 12 times the first year of daycare. It is rough." Another added: "First week of daycare and we have gastro."

Paediatrician Dr Elize O'Neill told Yahoo News Australia that despite the distress for the child and the difficulties it causes for the entire family it was essential that children go through these illnesses at a young age to build up their immune systems before school.

Early childcare educator Emma Rattenbury said while some services had better cleaning practices than others, even the cleanest centres still experienced outbreaks.

“Children of that particular age are constantly putting things in their mouths, and their immunity is only just developing,” Rattenbury said.

“Secondly, there's always lots of discussion about parents bringing in their children sick and that's where other children are getting their illness problem.

“Yes, this does happen. It is unfortunate, but I'm not here to judge. I will just add there are lots of other ways that children are getting sick. For example, with a lot of viruses, children are infectious before they're symptomatic.

A childcare educator explains the solar system to young children.
A childcare educator has shared her take on daycare illness online. Source: Getty

“And viruses like gastro symptoms can come on out of nowhere and quite quickly, and other viruses like RSP, where the incubation period is five to 10 days, it can be really tricky to try and pick up those cases before it starts to spread like wildfire.”

She said educators also got sick frequently so it was in the best interests of everyone to only have children coming into the centre who were healthy.

Paediatrician Dr Elize O'Neill said it wasn't unusual for young children to have multiple different viruses at the same time and this often came down to the fact that post-Covid, doctors now swab test for more infections.

"Tests have got better over time," she told Yahoo News Australia. "We test for more viruses when we do swabs. The way I think is when you are born, your immune system has to learn how to become an immune system.

"It needs to be schooled on how to do that – it sees things that it needs to fight, this is always why we do vaccinations. It also probably does come from daycare, we know they are little Petri dishes for infection."

A doctor examines a child holding a teddy bear.
Many childcare centres are a breeding ground for viruses a doctor has said. Source: Getty

O'Neill said children under five were prone to catching multiple viruses – although you could have one who caught "everything under the sun" and another who didn't – but ultimately this needed to happen, otherwise they would have weak immune systems at school or even into adulthood.

She said pre-Covid, parents had few qualms about taking their child to the park or a playdate with a runny nose, whereas nowadays they might keep them home.

"Covid put a lot of fear into a lot of people and we got into a habit where we test for everything," O'Neil added.

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