Non-vaccinated children around babies (XP) — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Non-vaccinated children around babies (XP)

I am not sure if this is the best place to post this question, so if you have a suggestion about where else to post this, please let me know.

Anyway, I have a friend who has a three-year-old. This friend of mine does not believe in vaccinations. She and I frequently get together, and I anticipate continuing to see one another after my baby is born; however, now I am concerned about exposing my child to her child if her child is unvaccinated. I certainly plan on vaccinating my baby, but I know that the vaccines are spread out, so the baby won't have immunity for a while.

Is there any risk in exposing my child to something, if he/she is around a non-vaccinated child. Can the non-vax'd child expose my not-yet-vax'd child to something, even if the non-vax'd child does not show symptoms? 

Re: Non-vaccinated children around babies (XP)

  • i'd have this convo with your pedi.  They are likely to know more about what's contagious but asymptomatic etc
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  • ditto on talking to your doc (ped if you have one, your doc for now to get an idea).  in general, yes, if the un-vax'ed kid is exposed to measles, chickenpox, etc., they can be contagious before they show symptoms, but it's variable how contagious and how long depending on the bug you're dealing with.

    fwiw, her un-vax'ed kiddo is at risk from YOUR vax'ed kiddo when your kid gets any live virus vax.  that's why they suggest pregnant women not be around people who have very recently gotten the chickenpox vaccine, for instance.

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  • imageTiffanyBerry:

    ditto on talking to your doc (ped if you have one, your doc for now to get an idea).  in general, yes, if the un-vax'ed kid is exposed to measles, chickenpox, etc., they can be contagious before they show symptoms, but it's variable how contagious and how long depending on the bug you're dealing with.

    fwiw, her un-vax'ed kiddo is at risk from YOUR vax'ed kiddo when your kid gets any live virus vax.  that's why they suggest pregnant women not be around people who have very recently gotten the chickenpox vaccine, for instance.

    actually no. they aren't.

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  • The answer is yes, your child can be exposed. Mine was. It was scary. She was very little and exposed to chicken pox at her day care prior to her being able to be immunized. She was also exposed to pertussis. I had that as a child and wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

    I'd talk to your pedi but this is where it gets very complicated. I'd have a huge issue with playdates and interaction while my baby was young. Absolutely.

    image Josephine is 4.
  • If she's really your friend, have a heart to heart about how you don't want to risk your newborn getting a serious disease like pertussis and you're not comfortable having playdates until after at least the baby's first round of shots.

    IMO, there are consequences to choosing not to vax. Including people not wanting your kid around newborns.

  • I would not have any playdates for quite a while - even after the first couple of rounds of vaccines.  My six week old had to be tested and treated for pertussis while we waited for the results because he had a lingering cough and there was an outbreak in my area.  It was super scary.  There's no way I would risk exposing him with an un-vaxed toddler.  If she asks, I'd tell her why. 
  • This is something to talk about with your child's someday-dr. We feel strongly about Pertussis, so we did limit DS's exposure to other kids before his first dose. I don't mean that we stayed in, or away from friends, but I do mean that DS would stay wrapped on me when we were out and we didn't put him in the church nursery.

    In terms of other things, we are more low-key because the incidence is so very low (e.g. measels) or because we are not concerned about it--for example, chicken pox. CP before 2 months is not good, but for the rest of infancy it is often incredibly mild, moreso that for older children. And, if your child gets it they have lifelong, natural immunity. Now, CP is one of those things that gets harder on the body the older you are--a 12yo may get it severely.

    We hang out with our unvaccinated friends, vaccinated friends, and unknown status (the vast majority of people) without concern now that we are past tiny-baby stage.

  • Even my doctor confirmed it.  It's rare to catch something from a live-virus vaccine, but it is absolutely possible.  (The prescribing information on the vax's even has some documentation on it.)
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  • imageamdjelly:

    imageTiffanyBerry:
    Even my doctor confirmed it.  It's rare to catch something from a live-virus vaccine, but it is absolutely possible.  (The prescribing information on the vax's even has some documentation on it.)

    I just wanted to pop in real quick and say that the CDC agrees with you. My husband certifies their research labs, and is usually required to get several vaccines from them (things like yellow fever). This year his contact said he would be unable to get these vaccines because they're live viruses and I'm pregnant.

    It's actually possible, the way that being hit by lightning is possible. There were 3 documented cases out of 55 million.

    image Josephine is 4.
  • Thanks for all your replies. I think what worries me most is pertussis- here in CA it seems to be making a comeback, and from what I have read, it can kill little babies. I would hate to eliminate all playdates until my child is fully vaccinated, since that is something like 18 months (I think?), so I will definitely talk to my doctor about what she recommends...

    I am a little bummed because we have talked about helping each other with childcare- but I didn't even THINK about the vaccination issue until it came up today, but I certainly do not want to expose my little one to serious illnesses.

  • I go to a pretty "crunchy" church and I know a lot of kids there aren't vax'd. I don't really worry about my toddlers, since they've been vax'd on schedule. I'm TTC now though, and once I have a newborn I don't plan to go to church until at LEAST the first round of shots. I know I don't know the vax status of every person I come in contact with, but if I minimize a known risk during baby's first few months I definitely will.
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  • I'm gonna share my thoughts as someone who doesn't vaccinate. 

    First, if a friend told me she didn't want her newborn around my unvaccinated toddler, I would not be offended at all. Someone above said there are consequences to choosing not to vax and I totally agree. Not everyone is comfortable with it, and I would never hold that against someone. So I would just be honest with her about it. 

    Second, just a different perspective - the majority of adults you come in contact with are not up to date on their vaccinations, and seeing as vaccine immunity wears out in an average of 7 years, they are most likely not protected from those diseases. While I'm certainly not dismissing your concerns, I do think following normal newborn rules will protect your baby, regardless of vaccine status. Don't run them all over the first few weeks, make sure everyone washes their hands before touching him/her, etc. And personally, I limit contact with kids anyway at first. While I'm sure we will continue playdates once this LO is born, he/she certainly won't be leaving my wrap and I won't be letting Isaac's little friends touch. :)

    I hope that helps - good luck with whatever you decide! 

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  • You should talk to a medical professional about this, but here's what I know:

    1) Vaccinated children can also carry a disease they have been exposed to, and get other children sick that way.

    2) In the few days after a person receives some vaccines, they shed the virus and can get other children sick that way.

    3) To play it safe you should be informed about the un-vaccinated child's...I guess you would call it lifestyle? Has the family done any international travel lately? Any relatives visiting from overseas? Is this a daycare kid, and if so, is anything going around at daycare? I think you can probably ask these things in a way that doesn't sound like you're looking to pick a fight. Hopefully your friend will understand that if their brother is in Doctors Without Borders or something and spent a weekend watching their LO, you want to ask questions about it (as any parent probably would). I mean, I could see asking some of these questions regardless of vax status.

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  • imagelanie30:
    imageamdjelly:

    imageTiffanyBerry:
    Even my doctor confirmed it.  It's rare to catch something from a live-virus vaccine, but it is absolutely possible.  (The prescribing information on the vax's even has some documentation on it.)

    I just wanted to pop in real quick and say that the CDC agrees with you. My husband certifies their research labs, and is usually required to get several vaccines from them (things like yellow fever). This year his contact said he would be unable to get these vaccines because they're live viruses and I'm pregnant.

     

    It's actually possible, the way that being hit by lightning is possible. There were 3 documented cases out of 55 million.

    The CDC gets these numbers mainly from voluntary self-reporting, though. I have no idea how I got pertussis as an adult, despite being vaccinated and knowing zero people who had it, so I never called them to report that I may have caught it from a recently vaccinated person. I think that most people who catch something don't start trying to track down whether everyone they know or were in contact with recently got a shot, and if so, when did they see them, and then get on the phone with the CDC. My doctor may have contacted them, but I doubt it. I don't even think his office contacted the manufacturer of the flu shot I reacted to since they only treated me for the reaction and did not administer the shot. I would think the numbers are at least a little bit higher for these things than the official published numbers, but probably much higher considering the data on the inaccuracy of self-report systems.

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  • I am unable to fully vax my kiddo because she had a reaction to her first round of shots. My Pedi was able to inform me of anything "going around" and also advise me on what situations were appropriate for LO. He has never mentioned that my LO would put someone else's LO at risk, but I didn't think to ask at the time. 

    In our situation - we live in a highly concentrated Amish area where some families vax and some do not - he told me that she would be fine to have normal exposure, even in large groups of people - as long as people were not touching her. (this is when she was 3-4 months old) He was also not that concerned because I was EBFing and she was not in daycare. He has not expressed any more concern now that LO is attending playgroups and classes. 

    BUT, your situation might be totally different. I would talk to your Pedi about it.  

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  • We're going to try to limit exposure to people in general until the first round of shots.

    Also, our Dr's office sent us a flyer recommending that all adults who will come into contact with our newborn receive DTP boosters.  Pertussis is no joke. 

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  • I would end a friendship with someone who was stupid enough to go against everything the CDC, AAP, and WHO recommends about vaccines. I could not respect that person in the least.  And my child would never be around theirs. 
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  • This is why I make sure any relatives that want to hold DS, like grandparents, are up to date on key vaccines like pertussis and flu.  My brother had an allergic reaction to pertussis vax 20 some years ago so he doesn't get that and he skips the flu vax, so he doesn't hold DS.  

     

    imageMrs.KLF:

    I'm gonna share my thoughts as someone who doesn't vaccinate. 

    First, if a friend told me she didn't want her newborn around my unvaccinated toddler, I would not be offended at all. Someone above said there are consequences to choosing not to vax and I totally agree. Not everyone is comfortable with it, and I would never hold that against someone. So I would just be honest with her about it. 

    Second, just a different perspective - the majority of adults you come in contact with are not up to date on their vaccinations, and seeing as vaccine immunity wears out in an average of 7 years, they are most likely not protected from those diseases. While I'm certainly not dismissing your concerns, I do think following normal newborn rules will protect your baby, regardless of vaccine status. Don't run them all over the first few weeks, make sure everyone washes their hands before touching him/her, etc. And personally, I limit contact with kids anyway at first. While I'm sure we will continue playdates once this LO is born, he/she certainly won't be leaving my wrap and I won't be letting Isaac's little friends touch. :)

    I hope that helps - good luck with whatever you decide! 

  • Definitely talk with your pedi.  If it were me, I wouldn't bring my baby around unvaxed children until 4-6 months of age.  We actually asked our pedi this question because DD has cousins who are unvaxed.  It was unnecessary though because she's 2.5 and still hasn't met her cousins in person.  

    Had there been an opportunity for her to meet them before her vaccinations were fully protecting her, I would have had to pass.  I don't care that they're family, my infant was not going to be around ANY unvaccinated children on my watch.  

    Don't worry about offending anyone either- it's your job to protect your child and people who do not vax will hopefully understand that this is a consequence for them (as a PP stated). 

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