Traveling with Tots: If the kids are sick, reschedule

Q: Friends with young, sick children visited with us last weekend. When one has sick children (babies and toddlers who share toys and put them frequently in their mouths), what is the proper etiquette when invited to someone’s home who also have young babies or toddlers? Should they postpone or cancel until their children are feeling well? Once a family is in this situation, what is the most tactful way to handle it so that your guests feel welcome, but your children’s health is protected?

A: It is not correct to take children who are unwell to someone else’s home without notice…it is their obligation to say “Jenny and Ben both have colds. I don’t want to impose their germs on your household so I’m afraid we have to postpone our visit.” You then say how sorry you are, or you can say it’s okay, come anyway. No one should assume their sick children are welcome in another’s home. It is understandable for you to cancel, under the circumstances, rather than set up a situation where your children are exposed to germs that make them unwell.


  1. Heather

    It drives me nuts when people do this. I have a two-year-old. I am definitely not a germaphobe, but I don’t like dealing with a sniffly, coughing, grumpy toddler. It is pretty common for someone to show up at a gathering with their child and announce “My poor kid has such a stuffy nose– he’s been sick all week!” I always get annoyed but haven’t found a way to address it.

    • Elizabeth

      A few months ago, we went to a family friend’s to see their kids and new grandkids. It was a lovely afternoon, but when we arrived they said, “Oh, the kids aren’t feeling too well, and neither is our son-in-law, so just air-kiss!” Well, wouldn’t you know it, not 24 hours later, my mom, sister and I were all hit with a flu that lasted a WEEK – the most miserable kind with horrible body aches, nausea (and its lovely counterpart), and intestinal distress. I lost an entire week of my life because those people didn’t think to say, “the kids are sick, let’s reschedule.” If one of us were older or immune-compromised, that bug could have been deadly (it felt deadly at the time).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *