'Excluded' for nits - is this acceptable?

(188 Posts)
weblette Mon 21-Oct-13 21:58:41

Posting on behalf of a friend although ds3 has been 'affected' too.

Ds3's yr1 has a problem with nits - or parents not treating...
Goodness knows I know about it, despite combing all of my four every week, he always has a new adult or five on a Sunday night.

Friend was called by school on Thursday am - "she has nits, come and collect her" - told to take her home for the day. Friend had combed dd at the weekend, cleared a few so head was nitless but now had several large adults. Luckily she wasn't working so took dd home, wet combed, applied lotions, head nit-free. However her dd had to stay at home for the day.

Next morning, call from school - we've found a nit in her fringe, come and collect her again. Not withstanding the fact that adults don't just drop out of a child's head and she had no others, was any of this legal?

With 4 dcs I understand completely how utterly frustrating it is to have untreated nits in a year group. I've lost count of the the hours wasted tbh...

However to me it sounds so very dodgy on so many fronts - there is nothing on the school website about sending a child home if they have nits. How can they justify a child losing a day's education on that basis?

Friend is fuming and wants to know how best to approach the school about this. Please don't say 'check for nits more regularly', we all do atm...

getmeoutofthismadhouse Mon 21-Oct-13 22:06:49

When my dd started school the talk we had bought up headlice. Apparently "they can't look through a childs hair but if they see a louse in a childs hair they will phone home and ask if parents want to come for said child to treat them but this isn't an order , they can't apparently enforce this " . This is what the teacher told us parents .

ReallyTired Mon 21-Oct-13 22:16:54

Good on the school for excluding a child with nits. Your friend needs to make more effort to get rid of the nits. If there are lots of large adult nits then she obviously has not made sufficient effort to delouse her child. Sometimes excluding a child for a day is the only way a school can make parents sit up and make an effort to delouse their child.

It is perfectly possible to rid a child of nits, but it is hard work. I suspect that your friend is not fine tooth combing her child's head property or prehaps she is leaving in the eggs. It takes me about half an hour to fine tooth comb my daughter's hair. You need to comb it through in small sections and not miss any strands.

It is really easy to miss the eggs and I could understand if the following day your friend found a tiny hatching. However if there are large adults then clearly she has made no effort.

I suggest your friend applies a different anti nit shampoo. She then needs to fine tooth comb her daugher's hair with tea tree oil conditioner and a nitty gritty combe everyday. (the conditioner needs to be out on very liberally so that the adults are trapped) Once the nits have gone then she needs to do an maintaince comb with conditioner twice a week

ReallyTired Mon 21-Oct-13 22:18:49

I suggest you offer to fine tooth your friends' hair. Often the parents are the source of nits in the family as there is no one to fine tooth comb the mother's hair.

Deathbyladybirds Mon 21-Oct-13 22:21:13

Friend is clearly taking preventative action there's clearly other offenders in the class

InnitTogether Mon 21-Oct-13 22:28:42

ReallyTired how about the possibility these big adult lice are coming across on to OP's friend's child that day, so no matter how carefully she clears them, new ones will crawl in once she gets to school...

onepieceoflollipop Mon 21-Oct-13 22:34:29

If the friend is combing effectively, then I suspect what Innit says is true.

My dd last year in year one had similar issues. I would check and comb her and her sister every Friday and be positive both were clear. dd2 would be clear until Monday, then For about 3-4 weeks running she had 2 or 3 massive adults on her head. No eggs or other signs. I had a thread about this at the time. I knew for a fact several other parents never checked their dcs. I was sure that the adult lice were walking from her friend's head to her own, I checked so regularly they never had chance to lay eggs let alone hatch new lice.

gamerchick Mon 21-Oct-13 22:39:13

The average head can only hold so many lice. They are surprisingly smart. Once the threshold has been reached they will drop off the head and have around 24 hours to find a new host. The best place is somewhere at chest height (like a cinema seat) they follow the heat line up the body to the hair.

The documentary I watched was 15 lice Introduced to the chest of one person..
They made their way to the head and 2 other people joined heads and each ended up with 5 lice each... and so on. When there is so many lice then the big adults have to drop off.

Somebody is re infecting that bairn or the whole household is infected. Maybe the teacher needs to have a look in her own hair.

onepieceoflollipop Mon 21-Oct-13 22:42:33

gamerchick, that was itchily interesting! smile

Yogurthoney Mon 21-Oct-13 22:47:36

when i was young, my school asked our parents to wash our hair with white vinegar in the water. They reckoned it was working.

ReallyTired Mon 21-Oct-13 22:47:53

InnitTogether Why is it that not every child in the land is infested with headlice? To put it politely it is utter bullshit to blame other children when one child permamently has nits. Some children rarely get nits and if they do then their parents catch the infestation early before it becomes nit city.

Almost every primary school class has at least one child permamently infested. Yet there are children who do not suffer with nits in the same class. It is perfectly possible to keep a child nit free, but some parents aren't prepared to put in the necessary work or prehaps don't know how to fine tooth comb their child's hair.

Nit potions do not work on their own as nits are resilent. They do have a place in taking out 95% of an infestation. This video shows you how to fine tooth comb property.


IDoAllMyOwnStunts Mon 21-Oct-13 22:51:21

That's fascinating gamerchick - I'd love to have seen that documentary - the wasted hours of my life on my knees in the bathroom combing through hair. At one point I was thinking of sending DD to school in a swimming hat as a preventive measure grin
I did an experiment <<obsessed>> when I caught a nit alive on tissue and kept it to see how long it would live. 24 hours later I offered it a hair and the little bastard crawled onto it. I always thought they needed a head to live on to survive, apparently not.

OP - just a thought is your friend washing pillows etc at same time as nit combing?

5madthings Mon 21-Oct-13 22:55:40

Nits aren't resiliant to new not treatments as they work by coating and suffocating the nits.

I always just comb mine but you can be clear and then get one or two new big nits but no eggs, I comb twice weekly to check and of I find any I comb everyday for a good fortnight.

I didn't think it was legal to send a child home for its.

I once read a statistic that in most schools at any one time almost 50%of kids will have nits!

gamerchick Mon 21-Oct-13 22:57:26

I'm positive it was a channel 4 thing but it was a few years ago now. I'll see if I can find it tomorrow.. freakingly fascinating.

You have to hoover beds.. change the covers and hoover sofas and whatnot if you have large ripe lice.

I sympathies.. It only takes one parent who isn't bothered and you have to have a comb through every night if there is one.

IDoAllMyOwnStunts Mon 21-Oct-13 22:59:31
DuckToWater Mon 21-Oct-13 23:12:42

DD1 got nits before she started school as a toddler, is now in Y4 but has never had them since, and DD2 has never had them either. It's not through doing anything special on my part though!

eddiemairswife Mon 21-Oct-13 23:54:09

This was never a problem when my children were at school, but my grandchildren have had them.

NoComet Tue 22-Oct-13 00:02:41

They are annoying , but harmless and certainly not worth sending DC hope for.

Also it's totally unfair as nits are easy to spot in DD2's hair and impossible in DD1's which is long thick and darker.

lisad123everybodydancenow Tue 22-Oct-13 00:07:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dizzyday07 Tue 22-Oct-13 00:46:11

When DD was in infant school there were children in her class that you could see had nits. One boy even announced in front of everybody that he was madly scratching his head because he had them!

Due to their young age, sitting with heads together etc, and despite sending her in with tied up hair ad wearing a bandana, we still had periods of having the treat the ones that she had picked up.

Apparently the school weren't "allowed" to single out any specific child in the way you describe them doing with you. It was really frustrating knowing that these poor children weren't being treated and it affected both them and others

prh47bridge Tue 22-Oct-13 00:57:26

Children cannot legally be excluded or sent home for having nits. See here for guidance from one of the teachers unions.

steppemum Tue 22-Oct-13 01:31:36

dd1 got them all the time in reception. Always just one or two adults, never any eggs.
No-one else in the family ever got them. I had to comb her all the time.

The reason? One girl in the class who was crawling. I tied dds hair up tightly and warned her not to sit head to head etc. I helped out in the school, and listened to this little girl read and could see the layers of nits eggs going down the length of the hair...

dd stopped getting them so badly when she was moved onto another table away form this girl.

All the parents in the class we sick of it. It was a small school, and the PTA were offering to fund the lice solution for every parent.
I was a parent governor and they came to me and said can the school not do ANYTHING?
Head said I will have a think. No idea what she did but little girl came in on Monday with clean hair in a lovely new hairstyle.

reallytired, I think you underestimate how quickly the adults walk back on to a clean head when someone is badly infected.
And all through school, ds, (and I) have never ever caught them, dd2 has had them once and dd1 gets them whenever they are around. I comb them the same, dd1 is much much more prone to them for reasons I don't understand. Some kids do get them more often. It isn't only the parents good coming habits responsible

steppemum Tue 22-Oct-13 01:37:24

nit treatments are 2 types

1 = medicated - kills them with chemicals and are pretty strong. They do become resistant to these. They are usually the overnight solutions.

2= oil based ones that work by suffocating the lice. You usually leave them on for 15 minutes and then wash off. They don't become resistant to this one.

It is recommended that you only use treatments if you actually find a live adult, otherwise comb with conditioner.

We've been throughg this several times with DS and the whole family had infestation at one point. Since I read on MN to spray diluted lavender oil on his hair every day he hasn't had them since.

We've just moved to the US and have been told that the school can make your child stay off for Two weeks(!) if they have headlice. Mind, they are uptight about a lot of things here

steppemum Tue 22-Oct-13 01:53:35

there is a vosene shampoo and spray with tea tree oil which is supposed to repel them, but I don't like the smell of it!

adoptmama Tue 22-Oct-13 04:48:01

So the school found nits on Thursday, asked for her to be taken home for treatment and did the same when she clearly still had nits the following day. Whether or not she was nit free when she went to school on the Friday morning is not really relevant. She had nits. She needed treatment. Why is your friend objecting to dealing with her child's problems? I doubt she is the only child being sent home.

I certainly don't see why it is unacceptable to send her home when she has nits, regardless of where she got them. What would your friend prefer: that she stayed in school for 6 more hours, giving them the chance to lay eggs and increase their infestation as well as risk spreading them to other children and staff? Our school regularly sends children home when they are found to have nits. Seems to me no different from sending a child home who is sick/infectious. I certainly wouldn't be thinking of it as an 'exclusion' - bit over dramatic! And it is not insulting to suggest that the mum checks her own hair too as kids often infect their parents. She also needs to make sure any hats, school coats, pillows etc are also infestation free. I know an awful lot of colleagues who have got nits from children in their class. It is not pleasant for anyone and does not seem at all unreasonable to send children home in these circumstances. I would think your friend should be happy that the school is being vigilant and trying to deal with the problem instead of complaining her child was identified as having lice and she was asked to deal with it.

MM5 Tue 22-Oct-13 04:56:48

What parents fail to do is clear bedding, carpets, fabric sofas and stuffed animals. The lice can live 24 hours without a host. So, lice jumps from child's head to snuggly in bed, mum clears head of all nits and then child jumps in bed with snuggly and low and behold, nit jumps back in child's head.

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 22-Oct-13 05:54:58

Adopt because there's a good chance the adult nit had walked onto the dd's hair at school that day. So she isn't causing the infestation but is being made to suffer extra from it.

LilRedWG Tue 22-Oct-13 07:06:08

Last year DD - year 2 - kept getting reinfested with large adult lice so I spoke to the head. She made a couple of phone calls that day, to parents of the children she thought were the problem and DD was fine from then on.

shebird Tue 22-Oct-13 08:22:39

Watching with interest as I am having a similar problem in my DDs class. I have treated weekly and combed thoroughly twice a week and still they persist. She got them just a few weeks into term which makes me think someone in her class retuned after the holidays absolutely crawling and despite letters and texts to parents by the school I don't believe everyone is treating or checking their children and they are just reinfecting.

valiumredhead Tue 22-Oct-13 08:26:44

Ime parents rarely comb through effectively. I support kids being sent home tbh.

Whereisegg Tue 22-Oct-13 08:40:22

This may well out me, but I got do sick of treating my dd a few years ago that I complained to the teacher about the dc in her class that was crawling.
You could see them, it was awful and I felt do bad for those dc, but I was spending hours a week combing my dd.

Teacher told me they weren't really supposed to talk to specific parents but she would see what she could do....
A letter appeared on the classroom door regarding headlice.

Couple of weeks later this dc and siblings were still infested.

I had another word and teacher must have said something to the patent as the next day, the 3 dc came to school and all had had their heads shaved.
Looked to be about a number 3.

They were all girls. I felt terribly guilty hmm

Whereisegg Tue 22-Oct-13 08:41:31

*so and parent.

And they were still infested, just had shaved heads.

unlucky83 Tue 22-Oct-13 08:49:34

Luckily my DDs have never had them ...the school used to send a letter home to the class of an affected child (didn't indicate which child) -
But in the last year or so they aren't allowed to anymore because potentially there could be a letter coming home every week and people treating their child with chemicals unnecessarily hmm - now they put a reminder on the newsletter telling us that ! Which means they have nits in the school! We then try and track down which class they are - parents are pretty good at telling other parents if their child has them...
Before we weren't getting a letter home every week -doesn't that tell the powers that be something?
Anyway I think they should bring back Nitty Nora - at the end of the day send all the children home with a letter -saying they were checked and they didn't or did have them...and if they didn't if anyother chidlren in the class did have them ...
I worked in an inner city school lots of years ago and there was a family and they were infested with nits - the mother had learning difficulties and just wasn't treating the children - the HT bought treatment for her but no-one in the school was allowed to treat them -it got so bad that they were going to have to be excluded - so the mother shaved their heads and eyebrows ...even the little girl sadsad

Ragwort Tue 22-Oct-13 08:55:56

How come some children never get nits - genuine question, not being sarky?

We continually got the 'nit letters' when DS was at primary school but fortunately he never, ever got nits - I don't know why, we are not scrupulously clean or extra hygienic grin.

And why isn't it such a problem at secondary school?

Hullygully Tue 22-Oct-13 09:01:00

To get rid of nits you have to smother the head in conditioner and comb it through for about 20 mins EVERY OTHER DAY.

This works.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 09:04:38

I think it's not such a bad thing to send kids home who have nits. It's not asking much to actually take care of your child and treat them.

I'd be losses off if one child was infesting mine repeatedly. About time schools were able to act rather than all this "parental rights" crap.

Last year my dd was constant toy getting nits. I was combing her every night and once a week (and the weekend) we would sit and watch a film and I would go through her hair pulling out anything remotely egg or not like with my nails. Even after a Sunday doing that she would come back the next day with large adult nits. I would also regularly be washing duvets and pillows as well as bedding. My other children never had any (except ds3 once- it was an adult which I'm sure came from dd). I must have also run into the hundreds of pounds with nit treatment until I realised it wasn't really helping as they came back anyway. I did treat myself regularly though as it's very hard to get a comb through my hair. To my knowledge I never had them. There were plenty of tears shed because of nits. Mine and hers.
I'm sure really tired would blame me.
Last year dd was in an infant class, in year one. This year she's in the juniors and hasn't had nits yet at all. Something tells me there is a child in the year or two below her who has them constantly. Annoyingly ds3 is now in that class, thank goodness his hair is short, glossy and really easy to go through.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 09:06:14

Pissed off

EdithWeston Tue 22-Oct-13 09:09:20

I think the school is wrong; it's OTT and stigmatising.

And it won't do anything to improve treatment rates, whilst reducing the school time of many children.

EdithWeston Tue 22-Oct-13 09:15:59

"I have treated weekly and combed thoroughly twice a week and still they persist."

You do realise that this could well mean that it is your combing that is ineffective, and your DC is another source of reinfection to all? For some lice are resistant to the treatment, so you can't count on it to work at all. And by combing, it will take a minimum of 17 days to break the louse life cycle, and show reliably clear.

Are you sure about exclusions for long if your DC has resistant nits?

BurberryQ Tue 22-Oct-13 09:17:04

Ragwort I think it depends on the personality of the child, eg if they play head to head or not, girls get them more because they are more likely to play like this and also have longer hair. Also possibly some type of hair is easier to cling to than others.

my dear SIL informed me that her child never had lice (unlike mine) because she was clean - she had one boy with a number three cut.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 22-Oct-13 09:18:22

I don't understand why parents don't treat their kids.

There is a girl in DS1's class (Y1) who always has them, the letter keeps coming home but yet this girl comes into school day after day with unbrushed hair - very clearly she hasn't been treated or combed.

It is revolting, and the school should be able to exclude and force parents to treat it.

BurberryQ Tue 22-Oct-13 09:18:50

also what you might think is a thorough combing, very often just isn't.

bruffin Tue 22-Oct-13 09:19:05

DS best friend in primary was always crawling with them, yet my ds never seemed to catch them from him. It was not until the little girl down the road whose mum had recently died had them that my dcs caught them. I did used to use Lanes tea tree conditioner on their hair, but not religiously.
DD did have a bad patch in yr 7, but it turned out she was catching them from a little boy at the special needs playscheme she volunteered at. I think his mum was ill and in the end the leaders treated him themselves

VerySmallSqueak Tue 22-Oct-13 09:27:00

I thought that even if you use some of the chemical treatments it only kills the live lice and not the eggs,so the eggs will continue to hatch.

I would not agree with a school insisting on chemical treatments.
It would remove the choice from parents who think putting pesticides on their kids hair is not a good thing.

unlucky83 Tue 22-Oct-13 09:27:45

My DDs got their hair washed twice a week - so not scrupulously clean...did always have their hair tied back in a tight pony though...
I don't know if this is an urban myth -but afro hair has a different shaped hair shaft to caucasian - so some lice prefer one type of hair to another - some can't cling to the oval shaped hairshaft as well as to a round one and vice versa ...following that argument maybe some children have slightly different shaped hair shafts and the lice don't like them?
(My DCs are mixed race (arabic/white) and were in a predominately white primary (now DD1 at high school more racially mixed) -maybe they only came across lice that liked a certain type of totally caucasian hair?
(But as I said - the school rarely had lice -probably cos they warned the parents!)
I think the success of combing them out will depend on the comb -
Nitty gritty combs seem good -(I bought one to check my DCs) because they have long teeth - the flimsy plastic ones remind me of flea combs for cats ...and I know they are useless -
(years ago I thought my long haired cat had signs of fleas, brushed her with one of those never saw a flea - got a better one with longer metal teeth and caught loads -yuck!)

FrightRider Tue 22-Oct-13 09:28:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

As a non-Brit it's fascinating to read the nit threads on MN. It just seems so bizarre that so many parents and kids have to go through so much while a kid crawling with lice is allowed to sit in class.

I grew up in the US and you would definitely be sent home if you had lice. They're vermin! They're contagious! I mean, obviously.

This is probably why we never had a outbreak or persistent problem. Once in a blue moon you might hear someone had them but it was never a big deal.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 09:36:22

dream that's very interesting. I do wish it was like that here.

I just DO not see how protecting one kids parents rights to not treat is seen as more important than the right for crying else to not have to spend hundreds a year on treating their entire household repeatedly.

About bloody time the offending parents were told.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 09:36:35

Everyone else

ReallyTired Tue 22-Oct-13 09:38:18

Maybe there could be a special parenting class for parents to be taught how to get rid of nits. The parents could get practice by fine tooth combing each other's hair. Getting rid of nits is a matter of education. They aren't THAT invincible.

Our school has a meeting for new reception and nursery parents. Maybe the parents could watch a video on how to keep a child nit free.

Nits are a health problems and a bad infestation makes life miserable.

wheresthebeach Tue 22-Oct-13 09:46:03

Our school has just changed policy as the infestations are a nightmare. Some parents simply aren't tackling it so everyone is constantly infested. New policy is children are sent home if teacher see lice crawling around in their hair. It makes the parents treat the kids.

We check DD head twice a week so we catch infestations before they get hold and while the lice are small.

Is it a pain? Sure. Is it necessary? Yes.

LateForMyOwnLife Tue 22-Oct-13 09:48:56

Ragwort How come some children never get nits - genuine question, not being sarky?

I think type of hair may have something to do with it? I have very fine hair and never got nits as a child - DD has the same type of hair and despite numerous nit letters that have come home from school, she has never had them either.

Neither of us are able to wear hair clips as they just slide out - as do grips unless copious amounts of hairspray is used, so I wonder if the lice can't grip either.

I'm itching now after reading this thread though :-(

PatoBanton Tue 22-Oct-13 10:02:29

Until last year I didn't realise that some parents only use a comb and don't bother using hedrin or whatever.

We always always use hedrin if we have them - it's probably been about 5 times, I have a 10yo, 6yo and baby.

I realised that some families just comb through every so often and think they have solved the problem. Removing the adult lice doesn't solve anything, so it's not surprising that the child has adult lice again a few days later. That will be the babies, which have grown...

I think I can understand that if a child is being reinfested by someone in the class who is never treated effectively, it becomes expensive and therefore the comb/conditioner thing seems like the only option.

But it only takes a very low threshold of forgetting/disorganisation and you once more have an issue.

There ARE familes who never bother to treat and this should be dealt with by the school to stop the cycle.

Also, parents should all be educated somehow about the life cycle of the louse and how to eradicate them properly - ie, treating and then re-treating a week later. This is critical to getting the job done.

Whenever we have used a proper treatment we have got rid of them.

ReallyTired Tue 22-Oct-13 10:12:37

Apparently certain blood groups are more prone to nits. What I didn't know is that nits travel in "harems"


Both myself and my children have a resus negative blood group. Prehaps that explains why we don't suffer as badly. My family have experienced nits though and we been able to get rid of them with fine tooth combing and conditioner.

Regular fine tooth combing with conditioner prevents nits. It takes 7 days for the eggs to hatch and if you fine tooth comb regularly then the eggs never get a chance to hatch.

I am in favour of children who are seriously infested being sent home. It forces parents to address the issue and make an effort to get rid of the blighters.

ReallyTired Tue 22-Oct-13 10:15:10

"Until last year I didn't realise that some parents only use a comb and don't bother using hedrin or whatever.

We always always use hedrin if we have them - it's probably been about 5 times, I have a 10yo, 6yo and baby."

Bog standard hair conditioner from your local supermaket works reasonablely well. The problem is that some parents simply don't comb their children's hair.

I'm an a+ and I think dd is too
Not sure about everyone else in the family. Would be interesting to know.

prh47bridge Tue 22-Oct-13 10:17:28

wheresthebeach - Yours is by no means the only school operating such a policy but it is illegal. Nits are not regarded as a serious health problem. A school cannot exclude a child or send them home just because they have nits.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 10:19:10

Perhaps that's the problem prh

Gives the irresponsible parents carte Blanche to do nothing.

I take it the friend with the recurring nit problem does not clean her house, change bedding, and wash all her childs clothes, accessories/hair items, etc each time she treats for nits, seeing as they keep coming back?

FrightRider Tue 22-Oct-13 10:20:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I make my own mix, which works really well.

base oil with drops of tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and geranium essential oils.

No nit has been known to survive. Two treatments to get nits, and then hatch-lings.

spiderlight Tue 22-Oct-13 10:22:58

DS never gets nits despite a constant flood of letters home from the school about infestations. He had them once in the last week of Reception and never since (now in Y2). I have a thorough check twice a week with a Nitty Gritty comb and it's always clear. I use Avalon Organics Rosemary shampoo and conditioner - loads of conditioner - on him at least twice a week and spray his hair with Nitty Gritty spray every morning and it seems to work.

harryhausen Tue 22-Oct-13 10:27:32

Well I've learnt something here.

My dd 8, has severe psoriasis, including scalp psoriasis. It physically hurts her to scrape her hair into a tight pony tail etc so we have make do with loose side tie backs etc. She has very long, dark thick hair. She is very susceptible to nits. Our dermatologist asks us not to wash her scalp too often as it irritates the skin. As her scalp is constantly itchy anyway, even when she's nit free it's an utter nightmare to be honest.

I've been wet combing with a nitty gritty about twice a week for ages. I often find a grown adult - sometimes eggs, sometimes not. I do believe I am combing properly, but I've learnt here it's obviously not enoughconfused.

I'm probably talked about at school as my dd is always the one who's scratching. Sometimes from psoriasis, sometimes not. Believe me, I try my best. I'll change to every other day from now on.

PatoBanton Tue 22-Oct-13 10:28:27

I tried full marks once and it didn't seem to work as well as hedrin. I had to do 3 treatments instead of two.

Also it is a bitch to wash out. Hedrin is far easier. I leave hedrin on overnight or for at least an hour, it's not toxic, so it's worth doing imo especially as after 15 minutes I could still see one live louse crawling about on the comb.

harry, my dad has scalp psoriasis. He uses a special shampoo from Neutrogena, which helps him.

PatoBanton Tue 22-Oct-13 10:29:40

and I always do my own hair at the same time. This may be overkill but I don't want to risk passing it back and forth.

One time I had nits from helping out at ds's preschool and he didn't!

MidniteScribbler Tue 22-Oct-13 10:30:29

Maybe there could be a special parenting class for parents to be taught how to get rid of nits.

We get someone in to run a head lice clinic at school. We subsidise most of the cost, so it's just $5 for parents and their child will be professionally treated. They then come back a week later and check them all over again. Parents need to give permission for it, but we've got 100% of parents all do it. Certainly seems to control any possible outbreaks when the whole school is routinely treated on a regular basis.

I check the DCs weekly. DS has never had them, DD had them once. I never had them, even as a child.

We all have very fine hair (like a previous poster, it's so fine, it can't even hold a hair clip) so I wonder if that has something to do with it? I'm also O- so maybe my blood tastes yucky to them?!

I think a big part of the problem is people not checking their child's hair, and not dealing with it. DD went to holiday club recently, and then went home for a play with her friend who had also been at the club. When I went to pick up DD at the friend's house the child came in itching her head, and told me she had the 'itchy head bugs'. At which point the mother said maybe she should have told me! I took DD home, and thoroughly checked us all, but I wonder if the other mum would have told me if the child hadn't? And certainly she'd been in holiday club all day passing them on.

If my kids have nits (which they have not had for over 5 years) I wet comb my own hair through with lashings of conditioner. This also helps as the nits suffocate.

Body shop tea tree oil shampoo is a good deterrent, as nits dont like the smell of tea tree oil.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 10:33:19


Your case is precisely why it should be considered more of a serious problem. Because some children it will cause more suffering in allergic children or those with pre existing skin conditions who are unable to tolerate the treatment as well as others.

Your poor dd

pokesandprodsforthelasttime Tue 22-Oct-13 10:33:58

Nits don't seem to be a problem at my DDs school. We've had a nit letter home perhaps twice in 2 years. DD hasnt had them (yet).
Here the recommended treatment at the chemist is hedrin which they give you for free, I wonder if this helps.

harryhausen Tue 22-Oct-13 10:34:15

Which shampoo is that Quint? I've tried T-gel which I think is Neutogena?

FrightRider Tue 22-Oct-13 10:34:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fuzzpig Tue 22-Oct-13 10:37:08

We've found Vosene to be brilliant - shampoo every other day plus the spray every morning before school. They've never had any in the 2yrs+ we've been using it, even when there are outbreaks in their classes. May be coincidence I guess, but I'll keep using it as the DCs like it anyway.

I am mainly extra vigilant because if I get them it's a total nightmare - really thick hair.

harryhausen Tue 22-Oct-13 10:37:48

Thanks Fright. Yes, I tried the tea tree repellent before but she still got them. Maybe I gave up too soon. I'll give it another whirl.

Yes, it is the t gel anti dandruff one. But he uses a prescription ointment on the scalp in between, which also works really well for him.

MidniteScribbler Tue 22-Oct-13 10:37:59

We all have very fine hair (like a previous poster, it's so fine, it can't even hold a hair clip) so I wonder if that has something to do with it? I'm also O- so maybe my blood tastes yucky to them?!

I've got incredibly thick hair and never had them as a child, nor as an adult, even working in a primary school.

Preciousbane Tue 22-Oct-13 10:38:10

DS got nits once, we were all combed once a day with tee tree conditioner. Considering the amount of nit letters home I am surprised he only got them once.

I do support dc being sent home, then again we were inspected by the Nit nurse at school on a regular basis. Very few cases of nits then.

harryhausen Tue 22-Oct-13 10:42:24

Thanks Quint. Yes, we use that one plus some very messy prescription stuff too - cocoasis (?). It's horrible stuff.
The only thing that seemed to help dd was uv therapy that she had when she was 6. She was 80% covered with guttate psoriasis all over. The uv really helped and is still in check now. The side effect was her scalp cleared too - although this has crept back. Compared to life before, it's manageable although I'm always up for finding a her 'magic' scalp treatment. I don't think we've found it yet.

Anyway, sorry to derailsmile

iseenodust Tue 22-Oct-13 10:44:25

I'm in favour of schools sending children with nits home and think governors should have a clear policy because it is a public health issue.

DS got them once and I bought Nyda from the pharmacy which got adults and eggs in one go. Good stuff.

DeWe Tue 22-Oct-13 10:45:26

I agree with sending them home too, if nothing else it gives you a chance to sort the nits out.

I think sending them home is also probably considerably less embarrassing for the child (teacher would probably tell the class they were ill) than another child spotting (as happened in my class at schoo) and proclaiming at the top of their voice "eugh! You've got nits!!!"

I never had nits as a child, and my dc have had it surprisingly little (dd1 2x-once after a summer holiday camp, dd2 1x ds never) considering how rife it is round here. Dd1 and me have thick hair, dd2 has thin hair and we're all O+. So probably luck rather than bloodgroup or type of hair.
Dd1 reacts badly to the bites so we can tell on her very quickly.

My dad sits out in the sun at any opportunity, as the sun helps his skin. He would never put sun lotion on as he said that the suns rays might be harmful to some, but for him it was rays of health! grin
My cousin is trying to campaign with health authorities (in the far north of Norway) to get free holidays in the Mediterranean for eczema and psoriasis sufferers because her skin always clears up if she goes on a sun and sea holiday. grin I have full sympathy for skin problems.

too many grins there. hmm

harryhausen Tue 22-Oct-13 11:14:43

I'd be up for a medicinal holiday Quintgrin

My Derm nurse says its a fine line to tread for us. She says my dd needs strong sun for short bursts but as she's had some serious uv treatment at such a young age it's important not to let her burn. I'm on tenterhooks in the sungrin

unlucky83 Tue 22-Oct-13 11:20:51

harry -your pure DD!
My DD1 has either psoriasis or seborrheica dermatitis - looks more like the second but DP seems to have the first - so GP wasn't certain...both DP and DD1 have flares...
There are different main ingredients in the shampoos eg Head & shoulders is zinc (can get stronger prescription stuff too), then coal tar is one (DD1 has at moment - Capasal- it stinks...) DP uses a Neutrogena (prescription) one but was using Tgel before...
It might just be in my head (ie a flare followed by recovery unrelated to the shampoo) -but I've think that changing them helps - at the moment DD uses Capasal, then an over the counter head and shoulder type - and a nice smelling conditioner and her scalp is much better...but a year or so ago the neutrogena one seemed to work best...

unlucky83 Tue 22-Oct-13 11:22:55

Or even POOR DD (autocorrect - grr)

Sneezy86 Tue 22-Oct-13 11:30:21

At my school if we see a live one on a head parents get a call asking them to collect the child and not return until they are gone. Seems pretty standard to me. The rest of the year group then get nit letters that day to warn them they are around.

valiumredhead Tue 22-Oct-13 14:32:38

Dreaming-my experience US schools is the same, sent home of you have then and not allowed back until school nurse or teacher has checked they are gone!

My friend thought she was combing and conditioning properly but she wasn't and her kids were crawling. I had to show her. Shining a bright light onto the child's head is helpful as you can really see the eggs and lice then.

It's worth pointing out that you need to use a nit comb to comb through not just a bog standard comb.

lainiekazan Tue 22-Oct-13 14:42:03

I believe in the US there are special nit treatment centres (top secret;behind v discreet doors!) which might work here. Getting rid of nits is hard work. My dcs were infested for quite a while. I tried loads of treatments and spent hours combing before finally (I hope!) getting rid of the bastards.

The "Typhoid Mary" in dd's class was a girl with four sisters who all have long flowing hair. Getting rid of nits is a time-consuming, boring and often expensive process so it's understandable that those with a number of dcs can't be bothered to stay on top of it. But - I think the school was right. General e-mails/letters just don't register with some people so sending a child home might be the only way to give a parent a shake up.

valiumredhead Tue 22-Oct-13 14:44:34

Typhoid Marygrin

Sidge Tue 22-Oct-13 14:49:26

It is illegal for schools to exclude children for headlice/nits.

They are a social problem not public health problem and there is no basis for exclusion. A child should not be denied education due to the lack of action by a parent or another child's parent.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 14:55:39

But it is a health issue for some. Read harry's post. My dd has eczema, I'm dreading an infestation because I have to hope she doesn't react to the treatment. And of course her conditioner is nearly £10 a bottle so wasting it on excessive nit combing is gonna hurt!! I think it's about time it was realised as a health problem.

Especially as the treatment is so expensive and with two kids and a parent on a tight budget it could mean the difference between eating and not eating.

lainiekazan Tue 22-Oct-13 15:10:45

It may be difficult for a few children due to eczema, etc, but only a few . For the majority, treatment is difficult because it is, well, difficult and they just can't be bothered.

When ds had nits some years ago the school said they could not target individual families due to "rights" etc and they could only issue impersonal notifications to the entire class. I actually went in and said it was my "right" not to be forced every few weeks to spend £10 on treatment not to mention hours of my time.

AnneElliott Tue 22-Oct-13 15:28:03

When I had them at primary school, I was locked in the library and not allowed out til my mum collected me! Now you wouldn't get away with that these days.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 22-Oct-13 15:51:21

Requesting a child is taken home for treatment is not the same as excluding them.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 15:53:57

I just don't know how a parents right to "not treat" overrides every other child's rights in the class. To not be itchy to not be constantly infested with lice and for their families to not spend a fortune on what is effectively pointless treatment because the one or two parents responsible don't treat their kids. It's throwing so much money away.

We don't use hedrin any more. It only kills the adult lice so you still have all the combing and combing to do to get rid of eggs and the hatchlings that appear 2 days after the hedrin.

My two have never had nits in term time but were infested over the summer holidays! We did the combing with conditioner and only finally got rid of them completely after chucking the crappy plastic combs and getting a nitty gritty every other day for about 10 days. Even when combing, when you think you've got rid of them you need to keep going over and over the head again.

I stand the boys next to the sink with a towel round their necks, put the conditioner on then comb. I rinse the comb after each 'stroke' under the running tap, using an old toothbrush to make sure there is nothing left between the teeth of the comb.

All the lotions and potions in the world won't do you any good if you don't comb and comb for ages and with a really good comb.

prh47bridge Tue 22-Oct-13 16:19:16

Requesting a child is taken home for treatment is not the same as excluding them.

Requesting a child is taken home for treatment is fine. Taking them out of class and sending them home is not. Nits are not a serious health problem so sending a child home is an illegal exclusion.

As my children have picked up nits at school themselves I have a lot of sympathy with those who say infested children should be sent home for treatment. But as the law stands a school cannot legally do this.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 22-Oct-13 17:02:44

Don't be silly.

A request to take a child home for treatment can be ignored if they then insist, its an exclusion its not a exclusion until such time as they say we will not permit the child to be school property you must remove them.

prh47bridge Tue 22-Oct-13 17:47:54

I am not being silly.

The school referred to in the OP was apparently taking the child out of lessons and insisting that they be taken home. Not requesting, insisting. We have heard from someone working at another school that has adopted the same policy. Like it or not that meets the legal definition of an exclusion - the child is being excluded from lessons and the parents are being told to remove their child from school property. It is well established that sending children home in this way because they have nits is illegal.

It is perfectly valid for a school to request that parents take a child home for treatment. However, once the school removes the child from class and insists that the parents collect the child immediately they have crossed a line and are acting illegally.

Lemonsole Tue 22-Oct-13 18:10:23

I can't believe the posters who think that commercial products such as Hedrin are as important as effective combing. They aren't. We've never bought anything more than a Nitty Gritty comb and lots of conditioner. We've had visitors a few times - but have always got rid of them through vigilant combing on alternate days for a fortnight. I think that glooping on a gel can make users complacent that they have done enough.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 22-Oct-13 18:27:53

They are asking a parent to collect a child to meet that child's needs and improve the child's comfort level just the same as they do with other common childhood illnesses that also have no required exclusion time

It would be quite entertaining to see what happens if you refuse.

You can't really state its an exclusion as fact unless you do refuse and they then ramp it up to an actual exclusion.

Challenge the policy or ask them to put in writing that its a formal exclusion. Or better still treat your children correctly learn about the lifecycle of nits and lice take preventative steps and challenge the policy.

Waferthinmint Tue 22-Oct-13 18:45:55

My teaching union thinks children can't be sent home
Medically speaking, head lice are not regarded as a serious health problem. It is not possible, legally, to exclude a child from school for head lice infection or to send him or her home on the grounds that it must be treated before he or she can return.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 22-Oct-13 18:52:50

Same could be said for hand foot and mouth, it has no required exclusion time but if the school called saying your child was itchy and uncomfortable can you collect you would have to be pretty harsh to say "no you can't exclude my child for that"

Sidge Tue 22-Oct-13 19:22:17

Headlice aren't an illness. They aren't a public health problem. They aren't an infection, don't cause sickness and aren't considered a health risk by the HPA Infection Control Advice from the HPA

They are considered socially unacceptable and in some children (those that are allergic to their saliva) can cause itching. Chemicals and even conditioner are not needed - it is the combing that is crucial (but conditioner does make hair easier to wet comb).

There is a big difference between asking parents/guardians to treat infested children and asking them to remove them from an educational setting until they are lice free. The latter is illegal and contravenes public health guidance for schools and childcare settings. A school can ask parents to keep their children out of school if head lice are present but they have no right to do so and no authority to insist on it.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 22-Oct-13 19:40:34

But they can be extremely uncomfortable irritating and distracting for anybody

WereTricksPotter Tue 22-Oct-13 19:45:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 22-Oct-13 20:14:06

I agree Lemon.

I think maybe some people think that if you don't use Hedrin or the likes,you haven't treated them.

But standing them for an extremely thorough combing with a nitty gritty and conditioner has the same effect.

It's still treating them and either way the hair needs combing through every couple of days for a while after to get rid of the eggs.

It's the lack of frequency and consistency that's the problem.

FWIW I think a child should not attend school until treated,and the school should be allowed to make an individual childs parents aware if their child has lice,so they can treat them.

Sidge Tue 22-Oct-13 20:19:00

Well yes sock, nobody is denying they are unpleasant and unwanted but they are not grounds for denying a child education.

They are an "occupational hazard" of having a primary aged child! My DD3 has had repeated infestations over the last two years and whilst I comb her regularly and it drives me bananas that other parents don't comb/treat their children I would refuse to have MY child removed from school because of the inactivity of others.

Professionally I used to spend a lot of time and energy in a previous role educating and informing about head lice, and liaising between schools and parents of those children persistently infested.

Has anyone else had an itchy head all day? I need to stop reading these threads!

Anyway I had a looky to see what current policy is where I come from (New York) and it's interesting -- wonder whether you all think....

There is now a “no head lice” policy for all NYC public schools, but no longer a “no nit” policy. Students found to have live head lice will be excluded from school and not allowed to return until they are lice-free. Students will be reexamined in 14 days to confirm that they have remained lice-free. Students with nits and no evidence of live head lice will not be excluded from school.

Studies have shown that school-wide screenings for nits are time consuming, costly, and ineffective. Nits are not equivalent to head lice and should not result in school exclusion or a school-wide surveillance initiative. On the other hand, “no head lice” policies are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and the National Association of School Nurses. Similar policies have been adopted successfully by school systems throughout the country.

Don't nits just hatch into lice within hours anyway?

I have noticed over here, and I do it too, that we tend to say nits to cover all stages of lice not just the eggs stage. I think it comes from having a nit nurse when we were young

Sorry days not hours. It's about a week isn't it. I would be very suspect that a child would have one without the other.

tallulah Tue 22-Oct-13 20:43:32

When my eldest 4 were all at primary together DC3 got headlice again and again and again, but none of the others did. I don't know whether that was down to hair type/ blood type or someone in his class.

He went to a prep school for Y3 to Y6 and didn't get them at all. The boys all carried combs and combed their hair many times a day so I wonder whether that would stop lice taking hold?

Then he went to an all-boys grammar in Y7 and got them again ! He continued to get them regularly until he left school, yet none of his siblings ever did. Most odd. The worst thing was after he'd been holding his baby sister and I looked down and this enormous louse was delicately picking its way across the top of her head. Yuck yuck yuck.

My daughter had persistent headlice all over the summer holidays and a bit into term.

Nothing got rid of them. I combed every bloody day. I might not have been that good at the beginning but believe me when this is your every evening you are motivated to be thorough.

In the end I figured out that the nitty gritty comb, though the best on the market wasn't fine enough and the eggs remained stuck.

Eventually I disposed of the come, got a tiny torch and went through her hair strand by bloody strand picking the eggs off with my nails. But my eye sight is excellent and once had a voluntary job identifying the 4mil ballbearings in boxes of what were supposed to be 5mil (don't ask!)

Anyway, my point is, sometimes, for some kids, the products and methods just don't work.

shebird Tue 22-Oct-13 20:57:04

Has anyone had success with preventative sprays and shampoos or are they are just a gimmick? Also heard that putting hairspray or gel onto hair when tied up makes life tricky for the little pests.

Can't stop scratching after reading this. I'm off to use hair straighteners on max heat smile

I now put a drop of teatree oil on to dd's hair and lather it in with the shampoo.

No idea if it works tbh, but she's been clear now for about 3 weeks.

But she is absolutely all over the kids in her reception class as she is extremely tactile, so expect them back.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 22-Oct-13 21:18:07

shebird I was almost evangelical about tea tree sprays and lavender oil.

Till we got nits.

ArtexMonkey Tue 22-Oct-13 21:47:57

Starlight, apparently a vinegar rinse is good for dissolving nit egg glue.

BurberryQ Wed 23-Oct-13 08:45:01

wine or cider vinegar as a final rinse, left on and then the hair blow dried is a good weapon......do it on a Friday though as your children will smell like a chip shop.

Lamu Wed 23-Oct-13 09:50:55

I think it's unfortunate that parents don't take lice seriously, therefore allowing persistent infestation in schools. However I'm not convinced that a child should be excluded for having them.

Dd 2 picked them up last month. Obviously she's not in school, so I hadn't counted on her having them this early. She occasionally goes to playgroups so that's the only place I can think she picked them up from.

Someone up thread said about nits preferring particular type of hair. Dd is mixed race with curly hair and had a head full. And she even passed it on to me, I have afro hair.

wheresthebeach Wed 23-Oct-13 10:09:13

Well... I'm pleased the school is taking a strong stand. We've had the same issue for years and something needs to be done to get it sorted. I really don't understand why people leave their kids infested but by doing so they affect everyone else.

notso Wed 23-Oct-13 10:29:08

Head lice don't drown even in Vaseline. They can survive under water for upto 14 hours. They are able to go into a dormant state and revive when they get the chance.

BurberryQ Wed 23-Oct-13 10:31:30

why on earth would anyone put vaseline on their children's hair confused
apparently a comb through with strong alcohol eg vodka works.....

VikingLady Wed 23-Oct-13 10:34:00

Also, you can't overlook the possibility that a child is catching them from a parent or other adult. Very few adults regularly check and treat themselves!

DH and I both had nits twice, years before DD was born. In the end we tracked them back to one of DH's friends he played pool with. They did a manly hug with back thump at the end of the night. Said friend won't treat himself properly as its too much hassle (long curly hair and beard) and just says he's done it (his GF told us). He doesn't hug him any more grin

If DD gets nits I would assume we had them too!

VikingLady Wed 23-Oct-13 10:34:52

Oh, and we both have very long hair. Full Marks was all that worked for us.

DS's school sent home a letter this term stating that keeping your child home for nit treatment, or even arriving at school late because de-lousing was going on, would count as an unauthorised absence.

So I assume they don't send children home because they have spotted nits.

I used to work in a school, and the policy there was send 'em home. One boy throughout KS 2 was sent home repeatedly but would arrive back the next day after nothing more than a hair wash and a shorn head.

Within a few days he would be covered in them again. Mum seemed sensible but I don't think she imagined it was a big deal.

I can see him now, plunked on a chair in the office, waiting for her. He would run his hands through his hair and pull out adult lice to play with <retch>

unlucky83 Wed 23-Oct-13 11:23:24

Lamu -sorry -hope you don't mind - just interested really in the urban myth/truth - did a google and found something (from a book) that said the same as I did up thread... different lice prefer different hair shaft shapes - could your DD have got them from someone with afro/mixed race hair? Maybe your DD curls are due to hair shaft shape?
Like I said mine (mixed race - north African) their DP has almost afro hair - DD1 has similar hair - not quite so curly (but very dry - get her cholesterol conditioner - struggled to find it here - in Brixton they sold it in Tescos!) -and did wonder if that was why they had passed her by...
(DD2 has hair slightly more like mine - but her best friend at school had them and she didn't...)
Blood group thing is interesting too- I'm A Rhesus neg - think one of mine (DD1? maybe DD2...) is also A neg - I've never had them either (although my head is itching like mad now - and I have a couple of itchy midge bites (did got mobbed by them on a walk though) making me feel even worse...
DP did have lice as a child - he has O blood group...

mamadou Wed 23-Oct-13 11:43:42

Just reading this thread is making me itch!

I know treating kids is expensive but you really need to get them clear of nits.

Are kids allowed headlice medicine on prescription? So it would be free for those who are finding it expensive to treat regularly??

My DS had nits a few years ago, we used the lyclear mouse which was very good, but then I shaved his head too and deloused the rest of the family.

If long hair keeps getting infested then cut it shorter - at least you have less to treat then too. Long flowing locks are a real hazard!

Don't know about exclusions, but I hope your friend's child and class get clear of the lice quickly - all the best

pokesandprodsforthelasttime Wed 23-Oct-13 12:01:22

I'm pretty sure you should be able to get headlice treatment on prescription.

Here it's different as GPs won't see children with nits, or issue prescriptions - but chemists will give Hedrin free to children under the the care in the chemist scheme.

IME Hedrin works well if you follow the instructions properly, and it's pretty simple and quick to use.

Combing also works but you need to be absolutely thorough, and as this thread shows not all parents are. It's also very time comsuming if you're dealing with several children and/or very long and thick hair.

Lamu Wed 23-Oct-13 12:57:15

unlucky We've recently moved to a village which is probably 99% Caucasian therefore I doubt that this is a different strain of lice IYSWIM. Dp is white. Her hair is typically mixed race with soft large curls and mine is very course with tiny tight curls. There are no other African/Caribbean families here that I've noticed so can only assume it was from a caucasian child she'd come across locally.

prh47bridge Wed 23-Oct-13 13:11:44

For sockreturningpixie

You can't really state its an exclusion as fact unless you do refuse and they then ramp it up to an actual exclusion.

Yes you can. The child has been removed from lessons. That is an illegal internal exclusion regardless of whether or not the child is sent home.

Also, it is well established that telling parents to come and collect their child is an illegal informal exclusion. It matters not what the school would do if the parents refused to collect their child. The school has already broken the law.

Leaving the child in lessons and asking the parents to take them home for treatment is fine. As soon as the child is removed from class on the basis of having nits the school has acted illegally.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 23-Oct-13 14:42:25

Then is it against the law for a child to be sent to the head for a talking to,or to wait by reception when poorly to be collected or have a calm down zone?

I sure as hell would not want to sit in a busy classroom scratching hell out of my head or having people see visible adult lice

prh47bridge Wed 23-Oct-13 15:05:32

Going to the head for a talking to is not an exclusion of any kind. It is part of the disciplinary process. It only becomes an exclusion if the child is then not permitted to return to class.

Waiting by reception when poorly is acceptable as the child has been removed from class due to the health risk, which is not an exclusion of any kind.

A calm down zone should be acceptable provided the child will only spend a short time in this zone and will then return to class.

The law is perfectly capable of distinguishing between these things and illegal informal exclusions, whether internal or external.

unlucky83 Wed 23-Oct-13 18:34:34

Lamu - damn it - that's my false sense of security dashed...
Lets hope the A neg blood does the trick instead...

2468Motorway Wed 23-Oct-13 20:19:42


Not sure if you are still on but my mum has a very bad scalp periodically (open sores etc). She uses an E45 shampoo. She's tried everything inc the Neutrogena one.

Paddlinglikehell Thu 24-Oct-13 01:21:44

OP. I don't think your friend can be going through the correct process to get rid of them and personally, I think if a teacher can 'see' Lice or nits, a child can be sent home for treatment, to return next day.

DD is 9 and never had nits, but within two weeks of starting back this term, came home and whilst she was doing her homework, a fully grown lice dropped off! I was horrified, but got on MN and dealt with it.

First I wet combed with conditioner that night and found a few small ones. Did my hair and DP too and changed the beds/ towels. Next night we all did Hedrin and combed that through, did get a few again on her head, none on us. Third night wet combed ( she watched a film and it took an hour, as her hair is very long! A few nits, nothing else.

We then left it two days and combed again, left another two days, by which time it as a week, so Hedrin and beds/towels changed again - pain in the bum!

We continued with the combing for the fo,lowing week, finding nothing, although I had a few nits, or it could be dry skin, so Hedrin for me again.

We are now nit/lice free and have been coving every three days, but am going to do to weekly now, starting Fri. Basically two weeks to rid us and then another few weeks to maintain it.

We didn't do cuddlies, and am now thinking, I will wet comb in the morning and put them in the wash!

Tedious to the extreme, but can be done!

Retropear Thu 24-Oct-13 09:11:07

I should be acceptable.

Hedrin stops working after a few applications.

bruffin Thu 24-Oct-13 09:38:03

Hedrin stops working after a few applications.

I very much doubt it, as it works by basically coating them with silicone, they cant become resistant to it.

Retropear Thu 24-Oct-13 12:42:10

It does.

There are copious threads where people have noticed this.

I used to swear by it- then it stopped working.

Retropear Thu 24-Oct-13 12:44:05

It may will kill the lice but not the eggs which then hatch later.

BurberryFucker Thu 24-Oct-13 12:46:40

but that time lapse thing is well known about eradicating any parasites - was nobody attending in O level biology?

soapboxqueen Thu 24-Oct-13 15:17:32

It isn't acceptable to send children home for having nits. It is illegal because it is denying a child their education.

Having nits is irritating (in more ways than one) but they do not cause illness. I have come across some children with secondary infections but that is due to their own parents not treating them.

Some children, through no fault of their own, would lose too many days of learning. Yes their parents should deal with it but sometimes they don't. Still isn't the child's fault.

mathanxiety Thu 24-Oct-13 16:19:02

It's not just the head that has to be treated. Parents have to wash bedding, clean mattresses, clothing including hats and jackets, maybe give carpeting and furniture the once over, stuffed animals have to be put through a wash and dried in a hot dryer or put in a freezer, or sealed in a plastic bag for a fortnight. Then you have to go over the heads of everyone else in the family.. All of this is a massive pita for a parent who has more things to do than hours in a day.

So I am all in favour of excluding children who have them, as long as this is accompanied by clear instructions (American site) to the parent as to what they need to do to give themselves a fighting chance of eliminating them. And I agree, if parents are not treating this, it is a flag for neglect.

mathanxiety Thu 24-Oct-13 16:20:45

BurberryF -- YYY, you most likely have to do the treatment twice to hit the entire life cycle. Same goes for worms.

Retropear Thu 24-Oct-13 16:21:46

It may not be the child's fault but it is better for the children.

When I was teaching we did and it was in no way epidemic like it is now soooo kids with it weren't teased,could concentrate instead of scratching and didn't feel 'lousy'.

When you send kids home parents who don't treat mysteriously suddenly do so,it stops it spreading.

Personally I think they should send kids home and fine parents for days off.Would save anguish for all kids,wasted time for parents and ££££££ on products.

Aside from anything else non treating is neglect and should be dealt with seriously.

soapboxqueen Thu 24-Oct-13 16:24:17

mathanxiety I do understand where you are coming from and yes persistant head lice infection can be a sign that all is not well.

However, I cannot agree with a senario where a child would lose out on their education for something that isn't their fault for the convenience of other people.

Retropear Thu 24-Oct-13 18:06:40

But it occurs less so would rarely happen.

soapboxqueen Thu 24-Oct-13 18:13:46

Logically it would seem so but in general the children I see persistently with them is due to lack of understanding from the parents who are really trying but maybe can't quite seem to keep on top of things. They get support and guidance but it just doesn't seem to work out. So the same vulnerable children would miss out.

nits have been around since Adam was a lad and I don't think they are going anytime soon. If sending children home and having children checked by the nit nurse worked, people wouldn't have caught nits when I was a child but they did.

Retropear Thu 24-Oct-13 19:02:42

I never had it,my sister had it once.

My 3 have had it consistently since rec.

The current system is too soft and the ones it hurts most are the very ones you're talking about.

soapboxqueen Thu 24-Oct-13 20:03:35

sorry but I disagree.

I've known schools apply these policies and although the other children avoid the inconvenience of having nits. The same children end up being excluded time and again.

Assuming that a hard line will help those most affected, assumes that all children pick up nits at school.

Retropear Thu 24-Oct-13 20:41:07

I obviously had a different experience to you.Few people were excluded once let alone again and again as dealing with it properly meant it happened rarely.

mathanxiety Thu 24-Oct-13 20:51:02

It isn't just for the convenience of other people that headlice should be grounds for exclusion. Infections can develop from constant scratching with less than clean fingernails (it's like permanent chickenpox), students who are sitting in class with itchy heads are not concentrating on the lesson, sleep can be lost through itching, parents can get them too. Babies can also get them and it may or may not be safe to use toxic chemicals on them, or on mothers while pregnant or breastfeeding. There are natural remedies and I have heard of salons whose business is using natural lotions, etc. but they are costly. If you have a larger than average family the cost of nit treatment even with the normal otc stuff can really mount.

Maybe let schools treat the children. But then they may go home to stuffed animals and bedding that haven't been dealt with.

One approach might be to give more support to parents who seem unable to keep on top of things to make sure the children don't suffer because of incompetent parents, and not just suffer from nits. Parents who never seem able to keep on top of nits may also be doing a poor job of feeding and supervision. Nits may well be the only thing that hints at the chaos in their homes. The supportive approach should be teamed with exclusion however, because other people shouldn't be exposed.

soapboxqueen Thu 24-Oct-13 21:06:22

But you wouldn't know who had been excluded because of nits since they would just be off 'sick'. In some instances everyone is absolutely right in that parents decide to take it more seriously. However for some of the most vulnerable this isn't the case.

Constant infestation is absolutely a warning sign for neglect and most schools I have worked in have worked hard to either help parents treat the problem or referred them onto other services because their are bigger issues at play.

However, I still cannot agree with a policy that would disadvantage some of the most vulnerable children for the convenience of others. No matter how it is sliced. Convenience.

However I don't see why someone can't develop spot on for children. Just like front line. Maybe that should be my next career move. grin

I've actually tried using frontline spot on blush

I wouldn't call it an inconvenience
It's cost us a lot of money we can ill afford, it's taken hours of my time as well as my children's meticulously going through their hair. Constantly washing bedding and towels has taken me far too much of my time not to mention the increase in our bills.
Dd finds it hard to concentrate when she's itching and the bites cause her sores that haven't healed by the time she gets the next lot.
I fucking hate the things. Even thinking about them makes me want to cry ( though that might be because I'm hormonal too)

NoComet Fri 25-Oct-13 01:01:01

Never found a single louse on anyones pillows or towels or even in the hairs in hair brushes and I have looked very carefully when I know I have been combing out all sizes of the little horrors.

Honestly there is no point in washing stuff. If there are any lice they'll most likely fall off on the way to the washer and be sucked up in the hoover.

NoComet Fri 25-Oct-13 01:02:33

Of course the DC will know, you can't send a perfectly well child home in the middle of the day without the whole village knowing by tea time.

mathanxiety Fri 25-Oct-13 02:38:18

Sending a note home at dismissal time asking they not come back next day would be much more tactful, and if they have been sitting in school in close proximity already, or if they've played outside before school with other DCs then they've probably spread them by the time anyone notices the infestation.

adoptmama Fri 25-Oct-13 04:50:08

I'm really hmm that people keep using the term 'excluded' over this. Mother was called and asked to take child home for treatment on the Thursday as she had nits. Parent was asked to do the same on the Friday as child still had nits. This is not an exclusion.
Child may have picked up the nits at school on Friday, she may have gone to school with it from bedding, sibling, parent, clothing at home still carrying nits. It's somewhat melodramatic to start stating this is damaging to the education of a child in year 1 because she has missed 1 1/2 school days to be deloused.
Yes it is 'inconvenient' for the parent - but sometimes having children is 'inconvenient.' Is the school/teacher really supposed to simply accept a lousy child in the classroom and do nothing? Knowing other children absolutely will be infected? Are they really supposed to leave the child with nits to simply get on with school with lice crawling around her hair and dropping off her? That, to me, would be far more unacceptable than calling the parent and asking them to care for their own child. If it isn't the mother's responsibility to sort this out for goodness sake then who does that responsibility belong to? Would other people really advocate simply allowing a child with lice to sit in class as normal day after day whilst the infestation spreads to other children? Really? Personally I find it quite unpleasant to sit and work next to kids in my classroom whilst I can see lice moving through their hair! I also see how physically and socially unpleasant it is for the child. Having the parent take them home and treat them is not unreasonable. And even if the child was simply reinfected at school the mother should be thankful the school was vigilant enough on her behalf to notice before she had an even bigger problem on her hands.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 25-Oct-13 06:57:30

adopt you said it perfectly

afussyphase Fri 25-Oct-13 11:56:15

This is the best case for head coverings I have ever seen. (do head coverings stop them?). We aren't religious but because some of her friends have them, DD has asked if she can have a head scarf... smile

prh47bridge Fri 25-Oct-13 14:18:34

Mother was called and asked to take child home for treatment on the Thursday as she had nits. Parent was asked to do the same on the Friday as child still had nits. This is not an exclusion.

According to the OP her friend wasn't asked to take her child home, she was told to do so. Like it or not that is an illegal exclusion.

There is nothing wrong with the school ringing the parent and requesting that they take their child home for treatment. It is not ok for them to demand that the parent do so as that is an illegal exclusion. It is also not ok to remove the child from class and keep them elsewhere on the premises as that is an illegal internal exclusion.

bruffin Fri 25-Oct-13 14:21:42

Isnt the ban on returning to school for 48hrs after sickness illegal as well then.

prh47bridge Fri 25-Oct-13 14:34:05

That depends whether it is justified on health grounds. If, for example, the child may still be infectious there is a reasonable justification. Nits, however, are not regarded as a serious health issue.

soapboxqueen Fri 25-Oct-13 16:39:13

Being told to take a child home is exclusion. The child is being refused an education, therefore they are excluded. If a child is physically unwell or a threat to the health of others then they can be sent home. Nits are neither an illness to the child who has them nor a risk to other children. They are an unpleasant inconvenience.

Nobody is suggesting that it is ok for children to have nits, especially not persistently. However, some children get them continually. Some instances it is neglect, others it is poor management by parents, some because children are friendly souls and get re-infected often. None of these children deserve to have their education disrupted for something they have no control over.

If sending them home worked, the problem would have been solved long ago. Yes nits are more prevalent now but they weren't none existent years ago either.

adoptmama Fri 25-Oct-13 18:32:43

So if they call you and tell you that your child is puking with a high fever and you have to take them home, are they excluding your child? Course not and no one would argue they were because they are ill. Lice may not be an illness but they are very unpleasant and infected children are not comfortable or focussed in school. They are also vulnerable to bullying - lice are frequently very easy to spot crawling around the scalp. It is ludicrous semantics to suggest the child was illegally excluded because the mother was asked or told to take her home and treat her lice properly and thoroughly. This was not an exclusion from what was described, or any inference put on the statements. And since no-one, not even the OP was actually privy to the wording of the phone call from the school it is a pointless debate as

As I have already said, if it is not the parent's responsibility to delouse the child, who does the responsibility belong to? And do you really, truly think the child - and her classmates and the teacher and the teaching assistant - were all better off if she were allowed to stay in school. It is extremely uncommon for lice to transfer without head to head contact. The OP says that the call was in the morning on the Friday. So unless she had already been hugging a classmate the most likely source of the louse is - like it or not - the family. Or she simply had not been deloused properly the day before.

For people to argue the semantics of whether is was an unofficial exclusion to say 'take your child home and sort out her lice' is absolutely bloody ridiculous. Children with lice need to be effectively treated, not simply wet combed and sent to school again with lice still populating their head. I've been flea bit, louse infected, puked on and made sick more times than I can count as a teacher. (I've also been punched, kicked and spat on by kids and sworn at by parents, but those are other stories). It does not seem unreasonable to me that the parent of an infected child take her home and sort out the problem intead of getting irritated that it is not convenient to leave work. It's not bloody convenient for me to get lice off your child, or see other children in the class get infected skin sores from scratching their scalps till they bleed because they are so itchy.

OnemorevoiceforAF Fri 25-Oct-13 18:37:31

Adopt mama, the Department if Health advises wet combing as the best method. So that is not correct.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 25-Oct-13 18:58:13

Then where the parents inclination to treat them? If one parent sees it as her or his right to leave her child infested knowing school are powerless to say and do anything then what's the point in people spending ££££ trying to treat their own kids. Because it won't make a bloody difference. Re infestations will permanently occur and people cannot afford to deal with that. Their laughing.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 25-Oct-13 19:01:06

Yes they do advise wet combing but few people do so correctly,if you can't do so correctly then there is not much point to it.

They also DO advise lotions


adoptmama Fri 25-Oct-13 19:09:21

being a bid pedantic aren't you onemorevoice. Even on the NHS website it does not say it is the 'best method'. Nor did I say it wasn't good - I said it is not enough to 'simply wet comb'. It is clear it needs to be done properly and clear it doesn't protect from reinfestation. I never said nor suggested that the department of health was 'incorrect' to advise wet combing and it is something of an immature response to post in this manner and a rather odd thing to focus on.

I've also said very clearly that the issue isn't really about whether the child was properly deloused or reinfected from a family member or a child at school. The issue is the false assertion the child was excluded and the indignation of the OP and others at the temerity of the school for putting the welfare of all the children above the convenience of the mother. To blithely suggest that an infected child should simply sit in class with lice because it is not an 'infectious illness' and it was inconvenient for the mother to take her home and properly deal with the issue is appalling.

soapboxqueen Fri 25-Oct-13 19:30:18

Children who persistantly have nits are not going to be suddenly free of them because they are sent home once. They will be repeatedly sent home every few weeks for their entire school career. This is why the practise was stopped. All children have a right to an education no matter how much other parents might disagree with it.

Even if an exclusion policy is followed, those mostly vulnerable children who persistently have them, will still have them, they will be educationally disadvantaged but it's okay because a few other children won't get nits as often.


unlucky83 Fri 25-Oct-13 21:22:13

How long does it take to thoroughly we comb a child?
Surely not more than an hour or so...no reason child has to be off all day.
If a child had persistent lice - as said up thread - it is neglect - that child has more problems than missing a few days of school -and another agency probably needs to step in.
I would have no problem with mine being 'excluded' for this - I would rather that than have them infecting anyone else...
Of course there is another alternative - having lice is no big deal - so lets all not bother treating them and we all can have lice all the time...

Lightupatnightpants Fri 25-Oct-13 21:32:01

I have no problem with this policy. I hope all schools adopt it. We have thankfully never had nits in our house but if we had there is no way I would send my child to school until I knew they were clear.

NoComet Fri 25-Oct-13 22:43:59

Lightup believe me you would. If your DC ends up in a class where they bring nits home every other week, you really get to a point where you really don't care.

Yes, we had one main offender, but I suspect we had other parents who thought they had checked and hadn't.

Even DD2's fine hair took over an hour to be pretty sure it was clear. I 'd never ever bet money on there being no lice in DD2's mane or my own for that matter.

And that's the problem, we had tom boy basin cuts in the 70's, not 'bra' strap or longer hair which the girls plait, un-plait, put in a pony tail and then re-plait differently, before the end of morning assembly.

unlucky83 Fri 25-Oct-13 23:45:44

Star - if this happened in your school the main offender would be the one being sent home - your DC would get them less ...as would every one else - and within a month or so it shouldn't/wouldn't be every other week...
Thus it would be less hassle for the parents - or rather same amount of hassle but less frequently - so they wouldn't be as lackadaisical ... or rather not worn down by the pointlessness of the the whole exercise!

prh47bridge Sat 26-Oct-13 00:15:38

So if they call you and tell you that your child is puking with a high fever and you have to take them home, are they excluding your child

Of course not. There is a genuine health issue involved in that situation which means the school has every right to remove the child from class to prevent infection and also has every right to tell the parents to take their child home. However, whilst no-one wants nits, they are not a serious health problem so you cannot send a child home or remove them from class on that basis.

* It is ludicrous semantics to suggest the child was illegally excluded because the mother was asked or told to take her home*

I'm sorry you regard the law as ludicrous semantics. It is very straightforward. If the mother was asked to take the child home that is not a problem. If the mother was told to take her home (which is what the OP says happened) it is an illegal exclusion.

This was not an exclusion from what was described

From what was described it definitely was an exclusion. The mother was told to take their child home. That is an informal, and hence automatically illegal, exclusion. Similarly if the child was removed from lessons because she had nits that would be an illegal internal exclusion.

There is no problem with asking the mother to take the child home. Telling the mother to take the child home however crosses the line.

I repeat that I have a lot of sympathy with those who think that children with nits should be sent home but like it or not this is how the law stands.

adoptmama Sat 26-Oct-13 04:27:45

actually prh47bridge what I wrote was So if they call you and tell you that your child is puking with a high fever and you have to take them home, are they excluding your child? Course not and no one would argue they were because they are ill.

so if you are going to quote me, perhaps take the entire quote in context rather than selectively edit for bias.

Gileswithachainsaw Sat 26-Oct-13 08:16:30

This is where it gets ridiculous. A school can send you home fir a uniform violation , take any part if the lunch away if it's not deemed suitable yet allows parents to infest the whole class by not bothering to de flea a child.

What about the rights of the children. Stuff the parents they aren't there to deal with it and why should they be allowed to take the piss.

NoComet Sat 26-Oct-13 09:14:10

As others have said the DCs most likely to have nits repeatedly are DCs with other problems , not least, not having enough money to keep a car running.

Sending the obvious suspect home equalled a 3 mile walk for the DC and a six mile walk for her carer.

In any case, even when I suspect SS, had had words DD class still got lice.

meditrina Sat 26-Oct-13 09:39:53

If a child had persistent lice - as said up thread - it is neglect - that child has more problems than missing a few days of school -and another agency probably needs to step in.

Not remotely true. Remember that treatment-resistant lice exist. Remember that eggs are cemented on to hair shafts and are never all removed by a single combing. Remember hatchlings emerge at any time between combining. So it could be your DC on whom moving lice are seen day after day for up to 17 days (life cycle of nit) even with 'perfect' combing.

Do you really want that long off school? And other agency involvement in your family because normal nit life-cycle must mean neglect?

Star ball
All the time not repeatedly. The children who got them repeatedly were the ones like my daughter who would get rid of them only to be reinfected. Again and again and again.

I'm not the violent type but I feel like I'm spoiling for a fight when I mention my battle with them and people suggest ways of getting rid of them. I can get rid of them, I have no problem with that. It didn't stop her coming home with them the next day though.

I wouldn't have minded if she had been sent home to be honest. She might miss a few days but it would make them get the message across to the constant offender who was never treated and it would mean she (and I) would get a few days respite. Y

unlucky83 Sat 26-Oct-13 10:19:39

meditrina - 'Persistent' - I mean for months ...not a few weeks...
No doubt the schools are aware of the life cycle of lice and the definition of persistent...
There are some parents who for whatever reason - lack of education, lack of motivation, lack of capacity - just don't treat their children...that is neglect.
(And they need support - which in this area the school are not allowed to supply)

Crazycake Sat 26-Oct-13 10:34:12

I've not read the whole thread so I apologise if this has already been said. Once a nit has hatched and fed, they can't feed off a person from a different blood type other than the original host, they explode! An adult can however lay eggs on another host with a different blood type and one the eggs have hatched they can feed from the new blood type iykwim. That is why certain children get them back regularly and other children never get them!

DalmationDots Sun 27-Oct-13 22:38:26

nits seemed to just love DDs hair, we treated them weekly- got rid of all of them- and then by the next week they would be back. At times a worrying number. We tried all different treatments and were incredibly thorough but always a week later, they were back.
I guess it was a similar situation, they were just go prevalent in the year group that there was no way to get rid of them because as soon as one child had them, the chain of passing them on couldn't be broken.
School sued to sent letters if parents reported it but it didn't make much difference. I think even if every parent got rid of nits one weekend, they would still spread from children seeing other children out of school etc.
So frustrating, we just kept up with the weekly routine, at some points did it on a sunday and a wednesday or combed every night.
Unfortunately there isn't much you can do other than keep getting rid of them from your own child.
IMO it is very unreasonable of the school to exclude. OK to let the parents know and ask them to treat their DC that night. But it is a fact of life in primary schools nits are constantly going around and some kids will pick them up more easily than others. They are gross but fairly harmless.

AuntieStella Mon 28-Oct-13 07:11:49

Just wondering - are people aware of life cycle of nit, and how long it takes to eradicate resistant strains?

Because most posters here seem to think their DC would miss an afternoon of school, tops. Not up to 3 weeks per infestation.

Needmoresleep Mon 28-Oct-13 10:29:42

Who would have though a thread of nits would have created a wave of nostalgia. Ds had two major episodes at Primary. One after a residential football camp. Dd was a nit magnet. Neither have had them at secondary.

They were at a private prep where kids with nits were isolated and parents would have to pick them up. They also did preventative things: letters would go out to the rest of the class if nits were around; if things got really bad the school nurse would check hair; there were occasional nit nights when everyone was asked to treat. On one memorable occasion kids who brought back a signed form confirming treatment got a lolly, if they also brought a louse encased in sellotape they got two. There was also a well publicised science experiment where a louse was taken from a proud donor put in a jar so they could see how long it lived for. Turned out to be two adults, presumably males and female, who had hot rather close. More biology than had been anticipated. They lives for about 24 hours.

I worked full time and was determined not to have to leave work so we got into a regular routine of nit combing, using a good steel toothed comb and lashings of conditioner on a Sunday night whilst watching TV. If anything was found there would be a second thorough comb through that night and again in the morning until nothing was found. Then daily for a week. Tea tree shampoo seemed to help.

I never really saw it as eradicating them. Nits were around and infection was inevitable, whether from inside or outside school. However this approach kept a lid on the problem and I avoided ever having to ask to leave work for such a mummy-type problem.

Full Marks did not work for us. We found the school's matter of fact approach useful, with no indication that anyone felt stigmatised. DC almost certainly had fewer problems that friends at the local state school.

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