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Sick Baby Etiquette

Mommy Dearest: Sick Baby Etiquette


Mommy Dearest,

Isn't the number one rule of play dates not to bring your sick child to another family's house? I recently hosted a play group and invited six other mothers and their babies over to play and have lunch. I was happy to have them all accept the invitation, except one. A 6-month-old little girl came over coughing, sneezing, and crying her little red eyes out. Everyone could tell how miserable she was, including her mother. She told us, "I'm sorry she's sick. I just had to get out of the house!" We tried to keep our children as far from her daughter as possible, but it didn't make any of us at ease with the situation. I wanted to ask her to leave, but was afraid she would be offended and not return to future gatherings. What should I have done, if anything?

— Sick About Sickness

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Sick About Sickness,

It sounds like your friend should have gotten out of the house and gone to the pediatrician. The child doesn't benefit at such a soiree since she was unofficially quarantined from the healthy children. She would have been better served at her own home with some rest and recovery time. However, if someone arrives with an ill child in tow, you might try a little honesty with a soft edge: "Maybe today isn't such a great day to play. It's pretty obvious that she's not feeling well. We'd be happy to have you over for another play group when she's up to par." If that doesn't work, you could ask her to keep her child in another area so that the other children are less exposed.

— Mommy Dearest

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