Dilemma Of The Day: I'm Unhappy That My Childminder Looks After An Unimmunized Child

28/01/2014 13:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

Q: My daughter is 10 months old and has been with her brilliant childminder since she was six months. However, the childminder has recently taken on a two year old boy who has not been immunized against measles, mumps and rubella. He is the only child there that hasn't as his mum isn't comfortable with the combined jab. My daughter is too young for the MMR jab, so I'm scared that she could be exposed to any of these diseases, especially measles. But I don't want to change childminders. What do I do?

A: This is very difficult situation to address. Your daughter must be at least 12 months old before she receives the MMR vaccine, so currently she is relying on the immunity of others and no one can blame you for worrying about this.

It is important to bear in mind that measles outbreaks are still rare in this country due to the vast majority of young children being vaccinated against it. However, cases are on the increase following reports about the safety of the MMR, so it is understandable for you to be so concerned.

The best course of action is to talk this through with both the mother and the childminder. Is the mother aware of the risks associated with these diseases? While rubella is generally not too much to worry about in childhood, it is a known fact that measles that can kill, or leave a child with severe disabilities including brain damage and blindness if complications set in.

Additionally mumps, a painful viral infection that affects the salivary glands (located below the ears and jaw bone) can, in a few cases, cause fertility problems in older males. It can also cause temporary hearing loss.

If this conversation has no impact, you should mention that single jabs are an option and are available from private clinics across the UK. There is no evidence to suggest that the MMR jab is unsafe, but some parents are more comfortable with the single jab option.

You also need to speak to your childminder. Some have a policy of only accepting children who have had, or will have, their full quota of immunisations. It could be that your childminder is unaware of this situation. If she is aware, she may still take steps to address it based on the strength of your feelings.

Your final option would be to find a new provider with a policy on vaccinations. However, that would of course mean unsettling your daughter in the short term, so do try and tackle this situation as tactfully as possible and hopefully a compromise can be reached.

Do you know an unimmunized child, or did you choose not to immunise your own child? Leave a comment below...

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