Do you ask if your child's playmates are vaccinated?

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Mommy Wars

There are a lot of ways that we, as parents, put ourselves into groups. Breastfeeders vs. formula feeders, co-sleepers vs. cry-it-outers, stay at home moms vs. working moms. I think it's really unfortunate when these very personal issues divide us, because, really, what do variations in parenting technique have to do with adult friendships and relationships? I'm very committed to the way I choose to parent my children, but I'm not committed to making sure other parents parent their children the same way. That's just not my business.

Vaccinations are a different issue, however. Whether or not you vaccinate your kids can have an impact on other people's children. That's one of the biggest issues vaccinating parents have with parents who choose not to. When kids aren't vaccinated, parents fear, then the risk of their children contracting those illnesses increases. Says Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, "One of doctors' biggest concerns is loss of 'herd immunity.' Because no vaccine is 100 percent effective, successfully fighting disease requires most children be vaccinated."

I recently read an article about parents who are taking the vaccine debate to the next level and refusing to let their children play with kids who haven't been vaccinated. Their argument is, of course, that those non-immunized children could pass a disease on to their own kids. I think a decision like this one is made either out of a) irrational fear or b) a desire to cause a rift in the first place, because really, the health risk right now is pretty small. But with the recent news that measles cases are at a 12-year high and an increasingly large number of parents foregoing vaccinations, there may come a time when this is a very real issue.

I've never given any thought to whether my kids' playmates had been vaccinated or not, and honestly, I'm not about to start. I could see being concerned if I had an infant in the house, but between school, soccer, dance, playing at the park, swimming in the community pool, and generally living the life of a child, my daughters mingle with a lot of other kids. If I started asking each one if their children were up to date on their shots, well, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be having any playdates at all, if you know what I mean. I'm curious to hear what you think -- do you ask other parents if their children are vaccinated? And if they aren't, do you care?

Do you ask if your child's playmates are vaccinated?
Yes. I think it's too risky, even if it means losing a friend.12 (15.6%)
No. I'm comfortable that my child's vaccinations will protect them.48 (62.3%)
Other -- share with us in comments.17 (22.1%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.