To The Mom Bringing Her Very Sick Child to The Playground….

My son enjoying the play-area….


It was dark and rainy most of the day today so we decided to pack the kids and head to the indoor playground at our local mall. This place is padded and safe and just perfect for them to climb, run and burn energy…

My husband, our two children and I had just arrived, we all took our shoes off and we were playing happily when a mom arrived with her very sick child and they entered the small indoor play area. The little girl was coughing non-stop, a barky/raspy croupy sounding cough and she had a runny nose. She looked so sick I wondered why she was not at home or at the Dr’s office instead of the mall’s play-area.

I understand that sometimes going some places with a sick child is unavoidable. Running to the store to pick up a bottle of medicine with your child when they are sick is sometimes necessary, going for a walk to get some fresh-air when you have been inside for days because they are sick, absolutely. But taking your very sick child to a very small indoor play-area that is filled with other small children who are all crawling, running around and touching everything is just NOT cool!  It is selfish and very rude!

We are also talking about a very sick looking child here, not somebody who looked like she was recovering from a cold, had just a lingering cough or even just a bit of a runny nose.  In those cases and when children are no longer contagious I understand if you decide it is o.k. for your child to be at a playground, of course, still teaching your child to cover their mouth when sneezing and coughing is very important.

I am not sure if the mom noticed or even cared but after we saw her come in with her child and her little one started walking around coughing on all the toys without covering her mouth, touching her snotty nose and then touching the floor, walls and toys we immediately left. And we were not the only ones,  so did a couple of other parents with their children.

My youngest son has had croup four times, one of them was so severe we had to rush him to the ER and he needed immediate treatment with medicine and a mask to be able to breath, it was one of the scariest nights of our lives.  Having a cold can often turn into croup for him and I try to keep him away from anybody with colds or other’s with croup to avoid another episode. I was very upset that this other parent decided it was o.k. to bring her very sick child to a public indoor play-ground without any care for the community and other children/parents around. If my son gets a cold or the croup again it is usually something serious for us.

If we are sick we stay at home, recover and wait until we feel better and we are not contagious before we go out to playgrounds, school, etc. I have canceled events, going to friend’s birthday’s and many other social activities when we are sick and I hope other parents do the same when their children are sick.

Do you take your child to the playground/school when they are sick? At what point do you keep them out of group activities?

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Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela van Tijn and I live in Vancouver, Canada with my wonderful husband, our two boys and our puppy. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!

29 responses to “To The Mom Bringing Her Very Sick Child to The Playground….”

  1. I definitely keep my boys home if they are sick. I don’t want to get any other child sick. I would feel awful if that happened. I wish more people would keep their kids home from school when they are sick. My son has had so many colds and flu this year, all caught at school. And then he brings it home so his baby brother and me and his daddy get it too. Argh…it’s a never ending battle to stay well.

  2. Not very nice when people take their sick children to indoor playgrounds! My children always get sick when we go to those.

  3. I agree, sick children should stay at home to recover, no reason to go around spreading the sickness at indoor playgrounds!

  4. this is one thing that irks me to no end. Our middle child has an autoimmune disease but we still want her to be a kid and have fun. When irresponsible parents bring their clearly sick kids to play areas or school they are risking my child’s life. A common cold for their kid turns into a cold and usually a week long hospital stay. People don’t get it and are selfish. I’ve had people tell me I should just keep my kid home then if I’m so worried about her getting sick. Really? I should make my child (who already has a no fair life) have to stay home while other kids can go play?
    If your kids’ nose is runny and they are hacking up a lung, STAY THE FREAK HOME!!

  5. Oh we stay home, and if I know something is going around, we avoid certain places too. MY girl is 2 and a half, only been sick once, and it was pretty mild and quick.

    I know there’s more to come, school does that lol.

  6. Oh, this is a topic I’ve chatted about numerous times with friends. I’m the mom who will not take my child to play groups, parties, social events, etc if she is sick. Not just for her (a sick child needs to be at home and resting), but for other children. I wouldn’t want to get anyone else sick if I can avoid it. To me it’s not only common sense, but common courtesy.

    At the same time, friends have argued that if they kept their kids home every time they were sick, their kids would never leave the house. To me it’s not one of those “to each their own” moments. This is about not getting others sick. The thought of a sick kid coughing all over toys and playground equipment that other kids are playing with just gives me the icky feeling.

  7. I miss Brentwood…still homesick.. I have cancelled an ultrasound because my son had croup and I didn’t want him passing it onto anyone else. I understand if it is an elevator or etc but NOT a child’s area. There are babies and little people with susceptible immune systems. Unfortunately there are people who don’t care and don’t think twice and I don’t understand them.

  8. Some parents really don’t have a clue. I am sure the poor child rather be home resting.

  9. I would not take my little guy to an indoor playground while he was sick. I agree with you 100%, sometimes things are unavoidable (stores, doctors offices, etc) but I would never want to spread disease.

  10. Ugh that is so tough. I try not to go out when the kids are sick, but I do find it harder now that I have more then one child. There are times when I have to get one to an appointment or lesson and the other just has to come along. That said an indoor playground it totally different and not “essential” in any way.

  11. I will always keep my kids home if they are sick, I have also left indoor play areas because of other children hacking and coughing.

  12. Wow! That is completely ignorant of that mother to bring such a sick child to a public place putting every other child and family at risk of contracting whatever that child had.

    Unfortunately, kids aren’t the best for not sticking their dirty hands or objects in their eyes/mouth so they are so prone to picking up germs!

    I think the best thing you could have done was to leave!

  13. Oh my goodness yes! I agree whole heartedly with this. We frequent the same play area and occasionally see the same thing. One my way out, I mention to customer a service that it needs sanitizing 😉
    Another play area pet peeve of mine is bare feet. For goodness sake, especially in summer time, cover those sweaty germy feet! I’m am known by some as the sock Nazi, directing sockless tots to their caregiver, gently but firmly insisting that the rules be followed. Health and safety folks!

  14. Can I just say, EW! I wish parents would NOT bring their sick children to communal kids spaces… It is rude (and gross)! Ugh. Just grossed out now…

  15. There’s a reason why daycares require sick children to stay home… As to not spread their ailment! Parents should have enough sense to know not to take their children to interact with others if they are snotty-nosed and hacking!

    I’m a high school teacher, and if I notice that one of my students is sick, I encourage the, to take a few days at home… Not just for their own benefit, but for respecting the health of others (then I use antibacterial wipes on the desk they used and those around them).

    The only way to prevent infection is to practice proper hygiene and STAY AWAY FROM OTHERS! Shame on that mother!

    • FYI Chrissy B – some daycares take kids with colds (ie. Cough & runny noses)…they just don’t take them if there is vomiting, diarrhoea or fever. Come on, it’s only a cold…some of you are freaking out over nothing!! Kids are resilient…sometimes more resilient than the parents, so it appears. Some parents these days are so weak!!

      • I agree that parents shouldn’t send their kids to school or daycare if they are sick. However having working in the field for a few years I’ve seen a lot of situations where they don’t have a choice, single parent home, jobs that don’t allow for a lot of sick days, parents who are in school and have an exam, it isn’t always their fault if they don’t have others to rely on, so I wouldn’t call them weak….

  16. Agree with everyone but keep in mind that illnesses can be contagious several days before any symptoms appear so many of your kids may get sick even if they are near a child that appears to be well.

  17. I wonder if the blogger spoke to the woman she is talking about? I obviously wasn’t there, so don’t know the whole story, but here is what came to my mind:
    – Maybe the child just has really bad allergies, and is not ill or contagious at all
    – Maybe the mother did not think about the impact she might be having on others by bringing her sick child to the play park. This would be a good opportunity to help educate her, and perhaps change her future behaviour.
    – Maybe the family is going through a crisis, and the mother wanted to give her child a taste of normality for a couple hours
    – Maybe the mother is a truly inconsiderate person who honestly doesn’t care. Even still, people don’t tend to want to be outcasts–by having someone approach her about the situation and explain their perspective, (especially if it happens enough times), she may at least think twice about how she appears to others and change her behaviour in future

    Granted just because someone has an “excuse” doesn’t mean they should always be able to do whatever they want with no regard for others’ health and safety. But there are many sides to every story, why start by assuming the worst of others?

  18. Hasn’t the Measles outbreak taught anyone? The runny nose CAN BE the start of MEASLES !
    While you are contagious up to 21 days before a rash it can be hard to know what to do, I’ll tell you STAY HOME ! No matter how bad you need out if your child is sick don’t take them out where other kids are; you can make so many others ill .

  19. Some parents just dont seem to care about others

  20. I think that’s rather irresponsible of the parent. The poor child probably just wants to stay at home and rest, or even if the child had insisted on going out, they should have said no or found alternatives so that their child isn’t going around spreading the cold.

  21. We were at an indoor playground a couple days ago, and sure enough there was a kid with the loudest, most throaty of coughs, and of course my girl kept gravitating towards him…..totally thought of this post.

  22. I agree with you that sick children should be kept from other healthy children so the latter may not catch a cold, etc.
    We had three children who tended to be croupy and it is very scary indeed. The only place I ever took a sick child was to the doctor. I also did not take them with me on errands.
    When I am ill, I want to be comfortable and at home. I think my children felt the same and that is where they stayed until they were well.

  23. When my kids were sick I kept them home

  24. That does sound so selfish! I also acknowledge that going out with a sick child is unavoidable but putting him/her in a playground with other children is unnecessary.

  25. Bringing children to school or play area when they are sick is unnecessary…

  26. This exact thing just happen to me two days ago and guess what my kid is now stuffy and sneezing next time please believe I’m giving these parents a piece of my mind .. And FYI the dad claimed it was “allergies” um no liar

  27. Honestly these play areas need to have a rule no sick or coughing kids period

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