The Cost of Sick Kids
January 28, 2010
Our family has spent most of the last two weeks with some form of head cold or stomach bug. It all seems to start at daycare when our son gets sneezed on by another kid or our baby girl chews on a toy after a sick baby.
One of them brings home the germs and before you know it we have two sick kids. We’ve been through winters with a sick kid before but in the past it was just our son. Now that we have two kids, the sickness usually hits both of them. This of course means the germs stick around our house even longer, making it more likely that my wife or I get sick as well.
The Costs of Sick Kids
Sick Day / Vacation Day
My wife doesn’t work every day of the week but it seems like every time our kids get sick its on some of the days that she works. Of course this means that I usually have to use a sick day or vacation day so I can stay home since they can’t go to daycare with a cold, fever, or upset stomach.
What this means is that if you have or will be having little kids, you want to save up your vacation and sick days because it’s easy to burn through them during flu season.
Lost Daycare Money
Not every daycare works the same but many will charge you for a certain number of days a week even if your kid is sick some of those days and doesn’t come in. I understand the reason our baby sitter does this, she depends on the income to pay her bills so she writes this rule into her contract to make sure she know how much money she’ll make each year.
If you’re paid hourly, like my wife, when you stay home with sick kids you’re not only missing out on income but you’re also paying daycare costs that you’re not covering with earnings. Typically the cost of daycare is offset by the money we earn at work
I’ve probably been in the doctors office with my kids more in the last year than I was the previous 20 years of my life. Of course they weren’t sick all of those times but the bottom line is that little kids = many doctors visits.
Each time we go to the doctor there’s a co-pay and until we’ve met our deductible for each kid there’s also coinsurance to pay as well.
Our latest prescription from the doctor only cost around $10 for some amoxicillin for our son’s double ear infection but sometimes it can be much more expensive. I don’t what the medicine is called but when my kids catch a certain kind of contagious eye infection the tiny little bottle of drops runs $50 a pop.
The doctors visits and medicine costs makes me glad we fund our flexible spending account so at least all the money we spend is pre-tax.
As I mentioned above, it seems that if one kid gets sick then the other one will as well. This means the germs are hanging out in your house even longer which makes it more likely that one or both of the parents will get sick as well. Of course this means more sick days, more medicine, and maybe even more doctors visits.
So what can we do? We did get flu shots for both kids. We try and keep their fingers out of their mouths and keep their hands washed when we’re around them. However, there’s not much we can do to prevent them catching something at daycare. There’s no doubt about it, kids are expensive! Maybe we can get the government to consider increasing the child tax credit 🙂
All posts by Ben Edwards