Thought I found the perfect preschool for my son. Then I learned the preschool has accepted a couple of not-fully-vaccinated kids. We will have a newborn in the house this fall. Is that a dealbreaker?
So I’m quite behind schedule for finding a preschool for our two-year old son. (At his one year well-baby checkup, my pediatrician advised me to get going on the preschool thing, “because people around here are nuts.”) Time got away from us, though, and now we need to find a preschool for our son for this fall. I’m starting to feel like time is running out.
The big reason why I’m feeling pressure to get a preschool lined up is that we are expecting another child in October, and I’d like to get our son acclimated to preschool before our second child arrives.
I’ve visited a few preschools with opening for this fall but so far hadn’t found a good fit. So a few days ago I visited a preschool that has one slot open for this fall. Everything about the school matched what we are looking for: the philosophy, approach to learning, physical layout, and I just got a really good vibe from the director and the other employees. It’s a good mix of ages and it’s the right size. It’s three miles from our house, so it’s reasonably convenient. All good! At the end of the visit, it occurs to me to ask, “so, all the other kids are current on their immunizations, right?” and the director said, “well, right now yes, but this fall we’ll be getting two siblings who have had some of their shots but not the complete set of recommended vaccinations. They are using a personal belief exemption.”
My heart sank. This preschool would be a fabulous fit for my son, but we will have a newborn in the house with no immunizations against anything. I saw a recent episode of Frontline
that had footage of a newborn in the ER with whooping cough, and it simultaneously broke my heart and pissed me off to see that little baby struggling to breathe and having to be intubated. (It was later determined that a classmate of the baby’s older sibling had not been vaccinated, and that was the source of the whooping cough.)
I know that at a minimum, I need to have another talk with the director and lay out my concerns. And I need to keep looking at other preschools. At the same time, I haven’t been asking this question at every single preschool I’ve visited, so I have no idea how widespread this situation may be in our area- we are in a suburb of San Francisco with lots of over-involved parents and lots of concern about autism. I don’t know if the director of the preschool would be able to tell me which vaccines have been given and which haven’t. I’m not sure if it makes a difference. Our son has been given the entire course of recommended vaccines on schedule.
(I understand that the connection between the MMR vaccine and autism has been thoroughly debunked. I also understand that some people don’t believe the de-bunking. I’d prefer this thread not re-visit that particular issue, that’s not my question
I’m really at a loss. On the one hand, I don’t want to needlessly put a child of mine at risk. But it’s a risk that is impossible to quantify. At the same time, I understand that I could unwittingly expose my kids to other non-immunized kids at the playground, the pool, or the grocery store. Life comes with some risk. I don’t want to keep my kids in a bubble. I’m having a hard time finding a rational middle ground. I’d love to hear from people who have faced a similar situation and learn what they chose to do.