Here’s a challenge for working parents: What do you do when you have to miss work to care for kids too sick to go to school? 

According to pediatric emergency specialist Dr. Andrew Hashikawa, one in three parents worry about lost wages, or even lost jobs, if they stay home with to care for a sick child. In fact, Dr. Hashikawa discovered that’s the main reason ten percent of parents take their kids to the ER at night, even if the child has mild symptoms that would normally be handled by a quick trip to the pediatrician. They’re too scared to take time off of work and go to the pediatrician during business hours. 

What’s the fix? Unfortunately, most states don’t have laws that protect employees from being fired if they miss work to care for a family member. That’s why management expert Alison Green says it’s important to be proactive about potential problems before they come up. For example, talk to your boss about company policy and find out if you can institute a “sick kid plan” that would allow you to work from home when necessary or schedule an alternate shift to make up for lost time. At the very least, the discussion will show your boss that you care about your job and will make them a lot more sympathetic when you call in sick to stay home with your child.