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Headlice - Need Advice Please


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Hi

 

I have one particular child who is constantly arriving at the nursery with headlice. Our policy is to send them home to be treated, so this child has been sent home on more than seven occassions.

 

This morning she arrives at nursey in a hat and her mother has told her not to take her hat off, however we do not allow hats indoors and so the hat came off to reveal a head crawiling in adult lice.

 

I have rang the parent and asked her to collect the child and she is not happy, however neither am I as I feel its awful that the child has been told not to take her hat off, not to let the ladies touch her hair.

 

What would you lot do? should I be contacting someone as this is becoming a regualr occurance and besides this the child is not well presented?

 

All advice appreciated

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Hmm, it's a tricky one isn't it. Have you a friendly Early Years advisor who could help here? On the forum somewhere is a letter to a GP asking for a prescription for a headlice thingy, special comb I think it was with extra magic teeth. Would it help to give Mum something like that, to show her you are trying to help her and not just digging your heels in about it?

 

I'm sure someone will be along in a bit with some sage words of advice, it's been a few years since I saw any headlice - and I know I'm going to regret saying that !!! :o

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I thought we werent allowed to exclude children who had head lice. At my pre school we issue a standard letter to each parent when any child is found to have head lice. If you have constantly informed the parent and still the problem persists, then it could possibily be an issue of neglect. Could you suggest to the parent concerned that with her support you would like to speak with her health visitor, it could be that mum is overwhelmed by other problems at home, so isnt getting to the bottom of the lice problem.

 

Hope this helps

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I too was under the impression that we are not allowed to send children home because of head lice. I know it sounds ridiculous but I don't think schools are even allowed to discuss the matter with the parent concerned.

 

I would be going along the avenue of asking if there are difficulties at home and is there anything you can do to help? I know a mum who couldn't deal with her daughter's head which was absolutely crawling with lice because her daughter simply would not let her comb it. She had been in an abusive relationship and needed help to deal with her daughter's behaviour and regain some control over both of their lives. She knew about the head lice but couldn't find a way to deal with them because she couldn't cope with upsetting her daughter.

 

Obviously letting a child come into nursery and constantly infect everyone else goes completely against the grain but you do need to be careful that the mother doesn't make a complaint against you if you keep sending her home.

 

It is a very difficult issue so good luck!

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You cannot exclude for head lice - very dodgy ground doing so. I have always found the bugbuster website the most useful, we bought some packs and sold them to parents cheaper. They also have some good posters and information sheets.

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We send children home and allow them back once they have been treated. My son used to get head lice and yet he wasnt neglected, it was probably me missing a few eggs when I treated and combed!!

 

It is difficult and also not very nice and what a situation to put the child in! Maybe mum is over-whelmed by it all, however, as others have said it can't be allowed to continue. Is the child being treated; can mum afford the treatment?

 

Maybe a quiet chat with some leaflets/info on hand may be needed; though I'm sure you've probably already done this!!!

 

Good luck

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I'd take advice from the Local Authority to find out what their advice is about excluding children because they have headlice - latest advice here is that you can't exclude children because they have headlice any more than you can because they aren't toilet trained.

 

If you think the child is suffering from neglect then you need to talk to the parent to find out what is happening - as janny1960 says mum may just be overwhelmed and there may well be other pressures on her that are making it difficult for her to cope. As a parent who has really struggled with headlice over the years I know only too well how difficult it can be to keep on top of - you only have to let up for a short while before they've taken over again.

 

Mum may need support to get to grips with her child's headlice problem - whether it is information and guidance from you, visits to the doctor or from the health visitor, she needs a sustained, regular programme of treatment to get rid of them finally. It might be as simple as writing treatment dates in the home/school diary if you have one, or gently reminding mum of what she needs to do and when.

 

Its hard to advise really because we don't know what your relationship with mum is like - these things are often case dependent because what works with one parent might not work with another.

 

Good luck - hope you get it sorted.

 

Maz

 

PS Why don't you let children wear hats indoors?

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PS Why don't you let children wear hats indoors?

 

I fully understand the situation you are in NicLDDC but also find myself wondering why the children are not allowed to wear hats indoors. What if a child wanted to hear a hat, perhaps during role play? I work with a child who has alopecia and likes to wear her hat because she has lots of bald patches. If I told this child not to wear her hat indoors, I think she would feel very uncomfortable.

 

Good luck with the head lice, I had 82 once :o without even realising! and yes I counted them! I'm still recovering from the shock xD

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Hi

 

This morning she arrives at nursey in a hat and her mother has told her not to take her hat off, however we do not allow hats indoors and so the hat came off to reveal a head crawiling in adult lice.

 

 

All advice appreciated

 

Two things come immediately to mind:

 

1. Like others I didn't think you could exclude a child for headlice, and,

2. You have directly gone against a parents wishes for her child to wear a hat.

 

Like others have said, I should be careful and perhaps take advice from outside agencies!

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Have just read the guidance for somerset regards headlice, we are not allowed to exclude or actively look for headlice on children. If a live lice is spotted (I guess through chance, not actually looking for them per se) them parents have to be sensitively informed and treatments recommended (which is wet/conditioner and combing through) etc.

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agree with all of the above..........................you cannot exclude a child with lice, and I do not understand your 'no hats indoors' policy.What if the child had cancer and lost their hair, would you say 'no hat for you'??? When I lost my hair through cancer, I wanted to wear a scarf ( for a while) and then I CHOSE to go bald, but if I had worked somewhere that told me I couldn't wear a hat, or scarf or whatever, I would have been livid.You are putting the child in a very difficult position: you don't like the nits, but you also don't want her to keep her head covered ( which would help to prevent the spread), but you also are telling her to ignore her mother's wishes? I think a bit of sensitivity is called for here: it's NOT the child's fault that she keeps getting nits and you need to speak to her mum and explain that she can get nit lotion/combs etc through her health visitor, free of charge ( you can here, anyway).

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We do the same as cupcake at our setting. I must add that as a mum of a 7yr old with very thick curly hair when she does get any head lice i deal with it and can sit and treat her for over an hour sometimes just for her to go back and get them all over again!!!!! Why dont they bother? i have to it just seems so unfair. sorry it really bugs me ( excuse the pun!!!!!)

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Hi

 

Many thanks for all of your advice. However;

 

We ask parents to collect their child and treat the lice or remove the live lice and then the child can return, this is often done and the children return on the same day. We cannot enforce this however and if a parent refused then we would obviuosly have the child here. We do not look for lice, but if they are clearly visible then yes we do act upon it. I have this in nursery policies and all parents sign their agreement when registering ther children with us, as its in an effort to prevent spread of infection. I checked this with Ofsted and my current procedure regarding the matter if fine and they were not unhappy with it. We have purchased a lice buster DVD and access to a parents information site and we loan this out to parents having difficulty.

 

With regards to the hat, I guess I should have been clearer. We do allow children to wear hats if they wish, of course for role play etc. But in general hats arent worn indoors, in this instance the child had a wooly hat on, quite thick and too big for her head and as it was warm in the setting, I didnt feel it was appropriate to be worn in doors. She wasnt forced to take it off, but asked too. Mums reasoning for her to keep the hat on, because her hair was a mess, was not viewed as a specific demand or request. In all honesty, I know this is a persistent problem with this parent and the fact she suggested her child keep her hat on was a bit of a giveaway and when the quantity of lice was observed I feel this was an inadequate solution to the problem.

 

This family, are experiencing some difficulty, but help has been offered on a number of occassions and in a variety of ways. Help will continue to be offered, but I dont believe that ignoring the issue and allowing it to be ignored is of benefit to this little child.

 

In the end the child was collected, treated and back at nursery within 45 minutes. No live lice remained on her head, which minimised spread of infection and meant the child was more comfortable.

 

Not intending to be defensive, just offering further explanation. I was frustrated yesterday morning but feel the situation was resolved. We are now looking at having a home visit with the health visitor to support the parent.

 

Many thanks for the help and advice.

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We are now looking at having a home visit with the health visitor to support the parent.

Well that's great news - I hope things improve for this family and that mum will begin to feel more on top of life. What would families do without pre-school, eh?

 

Maz

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Sounds like you dealt with it very well in the circumstances.

 

We have struggled with our youngest daughter and head lice since moving. Within a few weeks of being at the school she had them and then again before the end of her first term. Over the summer we got her clear but then once she returned to school so did the headlice. And so the battle has gone on! I have a feeling we will never be clear of them whilst she is at the school and I'm just resigned now to combing through her head regularly to get rid of any new visitors as they come along. :o

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Always Cait - as soon as anyone mentions the tricky little devils

 

I was just sitting reading this, with an itchy head :o think I'll put the Bug Zapper through my hair later - "just in case!!"

 

I remember being on the verge of hysteria when my daughter caught nits. Wet combing was a nightmare - long, fine hair, can't use chemicals due to her allergies :( but the Bug Zapper was/is great as it's used on dry hair. Quick, convenient and effective.

 

The nursery teacher told me "my husband gets a company car as a perk of his job - I get headlice once a term!" xD Still makes me laugh all these years later!

 

Nona

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I remember my daughter's friend coming in delighted that she had them, "Cos they are like pets and I like them" I didn't like to tell her that her mum was going to frown on these as much as she was frowning on the idea of getting a hamster!

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