changing diapersI have recently heard two stories about parents having to leave work because their kids have had a “dirty” diaper. My cousin’s 2-year-old is in “school” for a few hours a day. She recently has been called because her daughter pooped and because of licensing they aren’t allowed to change her diaper. So my cousin has to leave work, change her daughter’s diaper and go back. Not only is this a major inconvenience but her daughter gets so excited when her Mommy shows up and wants to leave with her.

This was not a policy that was told to parents upfront when the program started. My cousin was surprised to get a phone call telling her that she needed to come and change her child’s diaper. And since her daughter enjoyed school and her work was close enough to the school, she was able to keep her enrolled. When asked about their diaper changing policy, the daycare said that not only can they not change a “poopie” diaper, but they also can’t clean up “accidents” if the child is potty trained. My cousin thought that it might be a state licensing rule, but her sister who has her child in a nursery school in the same state gets the full service treatment. No dirty diaper goes unchanged.

It’s not only the having to leave work that’s an issue. My cousin works three days a week and the other two days she uses the free time to run errands and, recently as a New Year’s resolution, started going to the gym. A few weeks ago as she was putting in her headphones and stepping on to the treadmill for the first time in years her phone rang. The poop had landed.

Twice in the past month my sister has had to leave work an hour away to go pick up her son because he had pooped twice in an hour. Not because he had pooped but because of the consistency of it. When picking her son up my sister had to sign the “diaper change log” to acknowledge that he had gone twice in an hour and that she couldn’t bring him back the next day without a doctor’s note.

I wonder where they get their guidelines. Does the daycare have a poop chart showing from liquid (danger!) solid (A-ok)?  In my cousin’s case, what if she isn’t able to run over and change her daughter’s diaper? Do they leave the child sitting in a dirty diaper until they are picked up?

With my sister, the daycare center was concerned that her son was sick and might get the other children sick as well. He was, however, showing no signs of illness other that the two dirty diapers.

My sister had to rearrange her schedule and work from home the next day because her son couldn’t go back. He had no more incidents and was allowed to return.

The daycare center does give out a handbook with all of their policies from pick up and drop off to snack time. The handbook mentions that the staff has a daily screening of the child’s health and if the child shows any symptoms of the illness they will isolate them from the other children. Additionally, said child will need to be picked up. They don’t specifically outline diaper contents. I guess there, the poop is in the eye of the beholder.

The difference between my cousin and sister’s situation is that that since my cousin’s daughter is in a nursery school, and not a daycare center, they do not have to follow the same guidelines. Also in most cases, a child attending nursery school will be there for only a couple of hours while most daycares have children all day. The nursery school can be more lenient in its policy, and while they can change wet diapers they can just say no to changing number two.

I guess I’ll now know the most important questions to ask when choosing a nursery school or daycare center for my child. After I tour the facilities, meet the staff and read all the referrals I’ll be sure to ask and “Are you a poop friendly facility?”

(photo:  mayamaya / Shutterstock)