How Much Do Sick Kids Slow Down the Economy?

Over 33 percent of parents say that they have taken three or more days off to care for sick children, and over 57 percent say they have taken at least one day off per year to care for a sick child. A child does not have to be terminally ill for a parent to miss work as it may be a simple vaccine, treatment for a cold or a wellness checkup. Sick children are hurting not only their parents’ paychecks, but also their employers’ income through lost productivity. Added together, sick children have a large impact on the economy.

How Often Do Kids Get Sick?

Babies and preschoolers often have seven to eight colds a year. Since their immune system is underdeveloped, they are more likely to run a fever and have diarrhea with them, according to Doctor Cindy Gellner. By the time that a child reaches school age, most start having five to six colds a year. Teens often have four colds a year. In addition, most children have two to three bouts of diarrhea each year.

Common Ailment Costs

It is estimated that over 10 percent of children have asthma, of which, many have to stay home at one point or another because of asthma related illnesses. According to The CBD Insider, “That equates to a staggering average of 13.8 million school absences per year due to asthma. Therefore, parents may have to take time off to take care of a child with asthma related sickness, causing and estimated $81.9 billion.” Even that little cold that keeps a child home for just two days can have a big economic impact. Since the average worker in the U.S. makes $21.45 an hour, losing 16 hours of work to a sick child can cause the individual employee over $342.80.

Employees Struggle

In addition to losing income that they depend on for paying bills, many also struggle with remaining useful to their employer. In fact, according to Demos, over 28 percent of parents say that they find it difficult to take time off to care for a sick child even when they have the sick hours coming or employers are required to allow parents time off to care for sick children. Over 31 percent say that they fear their absence will hurt their chances of staying employed or getting an advancement. Additionally, 57 percent worry about workload pressures when they are absent.

Total Economic Impact

In the United States alone, there are approximately 125.97 million workers according to Statista. If each one takes three hours off a week, they will lose $84.75 out of each weekly paycheck. The total, however, is a staggering $10,625,569,500. That is more than the gross domestic product of most countries around the globe. Sick children will be a fact of life. Do everything possible to keep your children healthy. You will be affecting the future of your own family and those around the world.

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