Sore throats in Younger Children at a Childcare Centre

Posted on May 9 2024 Categories: ,

As any experienced parent will know, children will inevitably suffer from a range of typically very mild ailments as they start growing up.
Childcare centres will sometimes see these manifest in children in their care. That may be reported by parents upon delivery of their child or at times, the child may start to develop symptoms during the day.

Childcare centres and medical knowledge

In what follows, please note that we are NOT offering medical advice. If you have questions relating to your child’s health, you should speak with a doctor or paediatrician.
Here we are summarising public domain material on this subject and relating our own personal and extensive experiences in caring for preschool-age children.

Why do children get sore throats?

There are a huge number of potential causative factors. The vast majority of these might be considered to be ‘normal’ and/or ‘trivial’. They are rarely cause for concern and might include:

  • very minor colds or other transitory viral/bacteriological effects on the throat and surrounding areas;
  • shouting, singing and speaking too loudly or too frequently for young vocal cords;
  • eating food too rapidly and/or insufficient chewing before swallowing;
  • dehydration or dry throat – usually after running around;
  • some minor dental problems;
  • minor and often transitory allergies (to food, drink, plantlife or other things in the environment);
  • non-attributable ‘growing pains’.

A slightly sore throat can arise without warning and can sometimes disappear within a few minutes or hours. Often once a child stops thinking about the problem, it will simply go away.

Some causes of sore throat may give cause for more concern due to other symptoms, where consultation with a doctor might be highly advisable. Just a sample of these might include:

  • tonsillitis. Typically this affects children between preschool and teenage years but it’s not unknown for younger children to experience it;
  • various causes where the sore throat is also accompanied by other symptoms, including fevers, headaches, swallowing pain, skin rashes and so on;
  • frequently recurring sore throats;
  • sore throats that are not just sore but painful;
  • swelling around the throat/neck etc.

Childcare centre reactions

Whenever children start gathering together in groups, the spread of minor colds and other infections is highly predictable. Some immunologists argue that this is not only unavoidable but also necessary, as it is an essential part of the body’s immune system development in younger children.

This means that almost all childcare centres will be very experienced in seeing children with minor sniffles, coughs and the odd sore throat!

Despite the inevitability of such bugs in life, as a general rule, we respectfully encourage parents to keep children with symptoms of illness at home.

If a child reports a sore throat while in our care, we have established procedures for evaluating it. We have access to trained first-aiders and to support those, medical assistance should such be required.

Normally, a little quiet and a drink is all that’s required. Where we thought it might be something other than just excitement, we will contact the parent(s) to notify them and seek their decision as to the next steps.

In the vast majority of cases, a tiny sore throat is short-lived and perfectly routine. It is part and parcel of growing up!