Would you attend a chicken pox party?

Would you attend a chicken pox party?
25 June 2016

Chicken pox is a childhood rite of passage which few kids forget and many parents quietly dread. Or so I thought, until a friend recently invited me to a chicken pox party.

Apparently they're all the rage. The idea is that you assemble your kids together for a 'party' - with a kid who is known to have come down with the pesky pox - on the basis that it's somehow 'better' for your kid to catch it sooner rather than later.

While it certainly seems to be the case that catching chicken pox in childhood poses less of a health risk that contracting the illness as an adult, I just don't see the value of knowingly and deliberately exposing my healthy child to any illness.

Interestingly, NHS guidelines on chickenpox state:

"If your child has chickenpox, try to keep them away from public areas to avoid contact with people who may not have had it, especially people who are at risk of serious problems, such as newborn babies, pregnant women and anyone with a weakened immune system (for example, people having cancer treatment or taking steroid tablets)."

Now I fully appreciate that a chicken pox party is a well-intentioned, considerate approach to selectively exposing children to an illness which can have serious complications in adulthood, but I still can't feel ok about taking my unsuspecting tot to a 'party' in the full and certain knowledge that she's likely to pay a nasty price for it a few days later.

Sorry, but that's one party invitation I won't be accepting any time soon. I'd simply rather let nature take its course.

And on a more important note, did you know that you should avoid giving your child ibuprofen to treat the symptoms of chicken pox?

Paracetamol is fine but health practitioners advise against using ibuprofen because of a "very small" (according to the NHS) risk that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDS could cause adverse skin reactions.

That's new to me, and advice which seems to have emerged since my older kids had the pox many years ago, so I'm glad to have been made aware of it before it's my youngest's turn to eat toast in bed and play host to a stream of well-wishers whilst recovering from chicken pox.

But what's your view? Have you held or attended a chicken pox party and if so, why or why not? Share your reasoning in the comments box below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips


  • Jennifer K.

    No no no and NO :frowning:

  • Ellie G.

    No I wouldn't. Mine has already had it, no idea where she got it from, accidental exposure can't be helped as I'm sure she infected others when she was in the incubation period but it can be serious for some children who develop complications so i wouldn't choose to infect anyone purposely

  • Jenny C.

    My eldest got it from sharing a paddling pool with his cousin , Who had the vaccine in the States, a few weeks b4. I am dreading when my other 2 kids catch it. As my eldest still has scars on his face and body for chicken pox.

  • Lindsay T.

    I always say that I would! I don't want my kids to get poorly but they always say it's better for them to have them young! Z

    • Danii L.

      I've got 6 kids n all 3 of my oldest have had them all at same time but my then 9yr old was in so much pain it was awful n they put that down to him being alot older than average to get em so when my 4th was about 2/3yr old and going to preschool I really hoped she would catch them being around others that got them and even going to friends house (unknown she has chicken pox at the time) when she had them n she still even now at 5 nearly 6 hasn't had them once! The youngest 2 are 16mths and 4mths and I'd hope my 16mth old atleast would get them soon but no luck as of yet even tho they've been about X

    • Lindsay T.

      My little girl is nearly 5 and not had them! I may look into these parties! X

  • Ann M.

    Hahaha R these people for real a chicken pox party No no no no no no no no Way my daughter was so ill with it n never would i infect another baby with it x

  • Melissa A.

    No. I don't understand why you would deliberately try to make your child poorly. It's all well and good saying that it's best for them to catch it whilst they're young but every child is different and some cases are more serious than others.

    • Laura G.

      I couldn't agree more. My daughter actually ended up seriously ill in hospital & was eventually operated on all due to chicken pox! Xx

    • Melissa A.

      Oh my goodness that's awful! I hope she was OK? This is exactly my point as if she had taken ill because of one of these 'pox parties ' you could never forgive yourself! It's just not worth the risk xx

    • Laura A.

      Completely agree. Who's to say that your child won't be the one that gets the worst form of the disease and is gravely ill with it. Just not worth the risk in my opinion, playing with the completely unknown x

  • Danielle C.

    You must be pretty dumb to inflict such a horrible illness on your child. :rage:

  • Nicola G.

    No way. Children can die from secondary infections caused by chicken pox. This stupidity has to stop.

  • Kayleigh W.

    I have 3 kids with it right now. My 4th kids got it from school 2 weeks ago and has passed it to the rest. There not ill at all with it and don't hurt at all lucky I suppose but I wouldn't have taken them to one but I wouldn't have kept them away from some one with them. But I will say the first to get it was my 7 year old and he was OK my 6 year old hasn't been to bad and my 1 year old you wouldn't have know if not for the spots But my 10 year old isn't good with it she won't spot picking at them and won't go back to school till all gone not just scabbed over. Definitely seems to be better the younger they are as you can put mitts on them to stop the chance off scaring. Kids will get them nothing you can do to stop it.

  • Ally O.

    Would I make my child purposefully poorly?! Erm no! Certainly not My son had it awful, then my other son got it an was the worst case the docs had seen! They were so so poorly it was awful If I have more kids I will pay for the vaccination not make them poorly thanks

  • Vicki B.

    I have quite strong views on this having never caught it as a child and getting it at 19 I was very poorly in a clinic for a week and still have scaring. So best to catch it young if possible luckly my two have already had it.

    • Claire S.

      Agreed it's def best to get it young.

    • Kirstin S.

      I can't quite how someone could experience it so bad and would rather their children catch it themselves than pay for the vaccine

    • Vicki B.

      I experienced it so badly as I got the childs version at 19 my little ones got it early if they had reached a certain age I would have looked at the vaccine. They vaccinate in some countries for this shame not done here and people have to resort to pox parties

    • Katie C.

      I never even knew there was a vaccine. Gonna google that now x

    • Vicki B.

      Just looked at the nhs website they don't offer it free as part of the children's injections because although you might not get it as a child adult cases may increase and shingles which would be worse as the complications increase with age. Being exposed to chickenpox as an adult – for example, through contact with infected children – boosts your immunity to shingles. If you vaccinate children against chickenpox, you lose this natural boosting, so immunity in adults will drop and more shingles cases will occur.

  • Bobbie M.

    Not a party no but i am hoping my son gets it while he is young he's 5. As i know the older they get the worse it is

    • Danielle C.

      Not always. My lot got it when they were 2, 8, 10 my 10 year old had it the most mild and didn't affect her.

  • Andra B.


  • Claire E.


  • Amy T.

    That's crazy!

  • June B.

    All the kids in our street had chickenpox (60 years ago) I was sent out to play with them so I would get them but no I got MEASLES !

  • Charlotte M.

    Yes I would it's good to get it out the way when they are young. My 6 & 4 year old have had it and now want my little one to get it. No obviously I don't want her to be ill but she's going to be ill when ever she does get it and could be much worse if gets it at an older age. Also they are not really ill with it just spotty & a bit grumpy for a couple of days .

    • Dawn Y.

      That's not true. I have three children and two of them have had it more than once. My eldest was 8 when she got it the third time. There was not a single part of her body which didn't have spots. She was very very poorly. Getting it once doesn't necessarily mean immunity

  • Gemma H.

    Yes definately I have always believed you only get chicken pox once and it is best to have then early

    • Laura A.

      You can definitely get chicken pox more than once.

    • Donna S.

      You defo get them more than once my daughter is proof of that plus if they have them before 2 there prone to them again.

    • Carys E.

      Someone I work with has had it 3 times.

    • Heidi L.

      My eldest 2 have had chickenpox twice, diagnosed by doctor. My eldest then went on to get shingles twice & was extremely ill with it

  • Alison A.

    No! Ridiculous!

  • Tricia W.

    Is it not better to get them when you are younger.

    • Donna S.

      No and if they have them before 2 there prone to them again ... One of my kids have had them twice

    • Tricia W.

      Oh was always told it was! My 2 have had em both were over 2 but my eldest ones got infected it was horrible.

  • Kerry J.

    Yes and have attended a chicken pox party. As long as the child has no other issues and is fit and healthy. It can be a great controlled environment to be exposed to it.

  • Claire S.


  • Gemma L.

    I dont see anything wrong with it as long as everyones healthy its better to catch it early my daughters nearly 5 and has not had it yet and her whole class passed it around

  • Polly K.

    No never! I wouldn't be able to live with myself if my child became very poorly or worse. Let alone make my child ill. Let them get it when their body is ready.

  • Louise K.

    Yep i in my 40s and we had them. Id let mine go or hold one ourselves!

  • Donna S.

    NO!!! My baby girl was extremely poorly when she had them she was ill for 3 weeks!! Some children don't get them bad some don't suffer but some do and end up in hossy why risk it? Why willing put your child at risk,disgusting !

  • Fliss A.

    Never! My 2nd child had it so badly at 7 months that he was incredibly ill and, now aged almost 6, is still covered in scars! He was so poorly, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

  • Katie C.

    from what i know, it's better to get young esp boys, so I don't see anything wrong with it but I was also led to believe that once the spots are out there less contagious so think what's the point. My eldest had at 2/3 was completely fine with it. Youngest yet to have. X

  • Penny B.

    Not a chance. My girl was incredibly lucky, had 3 spots and no other symptoms, but my boy (was 11 months old at the time) was in hospital as they went down his throat.

    Apart from that, once the spots pop up they're not even contagious so a pox party is pointless AND dangerous

  • Debbie B.


  • Sue P.

    No...my daughter caught them when she was 6 and had them so bad, didnt eat or drink for 48hrs and was only a few hrs away from being admitted to hospital. I wouldnt wish that on anyone, why would you purposely want your child to get ill?

  • Michael G.


  • Lucy H.

    :rage::rage::rage::rage: never!! :flushed: xx

  • Amie C.

    Yes definitely! It can be dangerous if adults get chicken pox! I'd much rather my child get it early x

  • Liane B.

    No I wouldn't inflict illness on my child needlessly. My 12 year old had them at 2 and wasn't too bad. They have gone through my 7 year olds class 3 times and she has never caught them. I had them at 7 and was very ill. I ended up in hospital for 2 weeks as they were infected and down my throat and ears. I remember how ill I felt. Awful.

  • Rachel A.

    Exactly! So so dangerous!!

  • Cherry F.

    No way . Y would u want your poor child to get ill in anyway ..

  • Lucy H.

    Anyone who would ever out their child at risk and purposely make them I'll are sick in the head :ok_hand_tone2: xxx

  • Carys E.

    No chance, my little boy has been and still is poorly with it. We're on day 9 and he's still not himself. We have also had to go to hospital they have been that bad. No way would I want to put my child through that- ever.

  • Natalie R.

    Yes! I have four children eldest being 9 this year youngest almost two and none of them have had it yet attended nursery from an early age!

  • Miranda R.

    No I wouldn't go to a pox party. I think it can be dangerous. There's still a chance they could get it again, or shingles, and it does make them ill... Why would anyone want their child to be ill?!?!

  • Melissa M.

    It's still a common thing like it was in 70's and80's

  • Ameera-Michelle T.

    Never!!! :hushed: Why would anyone purposely risk their child's health like that?

  • Roxi B.

    Chicken pox is dangerous for some children.....

  • Toby-Jade S.

    People seriously throw a party to make a child Ill ?!? Wtf....

  • Victoria H.

    It's vile ! Some kids can be seriously poorly with it, Oliver is a perfect example ! I thought my mum was joking when she said about it this morning I didn't even think such a sick + stupid thing existed xxx

  • Rachel A.

    People have been doing it for years even when we was kids! X

  • Lucy H.

    It's horrible bloody child cruelty :punch_tone1::punch_tone1: xx

  • Victoria H.

    it sure is !! Xx

  • Kim H.

    Never, my little girl was extremely ill with chicken pox and ended up in hospital & still now suffers from viral arthritis which started from the chicken pox. I don't know why any one would want to expose their child to this!

  • Kate T.

    If your child goes to nursery then it's basically a chicken pox party lol

  • Joanne B.

    It's not a new thing, I remember people having them when I was young, I'm now 41. I never had to go though as I caught it off my brother. My sister had it very badly and nearly lost her life to it in her late 20's after being exposed to it at chicken pox parties when she was at school & not catching it, and my baby was really ill with it a few months ago. She was 7 months. If your going to get it you will catch it anywhere. Can't see going to 'parties' will make any difference at all

    • Khadija K.

      I'm the same age as you and was just about to post along similar lines!

  • Sally H.

    Yep I would. We did as kids. Think most of our primary school was off with it for a few weeks but got it over and done with.

  • Tracy P.

    Do these parents know that their children aren't necessarily immune to chickenpox just cos they've had it once! Morons! Chickenpox can be quite severe and have other consequences - why would you risk your child's health!

  • Katie E.

    So so dangerous! Silly people

  • Gillian M.


  • Gemma Y.

    its mad... Why purposely make your child poorly, especially when u don't know how bad they could react!?

  • Michelle W.

    He'll no it's stupid and so cruel

  • Kate R.

    Ridiculous idea my twins had chicken pox at 4 months and it was awful :cry:

  • Mel A.

    Whilst in most cases chicken pox usually has no severe consequences, it can do and not only in children with known illnesses if they get it fine and we would hope it they had it with very few problems but no way would I purposely inflict it on them as you never know what may happen!

  • Rachel B.


  • Jill G.

    When I was young my mum put me in a paddling pool with a child with chicken pox I never got them. I eventually did at 16! My husband got them at 26 very severe but our son was two

  • Kelly T.

    It's so dangerous !!!!

  • Stacy R.

    Some people shouldn't be allowed to breed.

    I have a friend whose healthy 3yo died of a secondary infection brought on by Chicken Pox and another whose 6mo was so poorly she was placed in Intensive Care due to fitting brought on by the fever.

    It's not just a bit of a sniffle and some spots for everyone and personally I couldn't live with myself if anything happened to my kids as a result of me deliberately making them ill.

    I have very little immunity to the Chicken Pox virus so I've had it 3x and had to be vaccinated in my second pregnancy as I work with children, I'm fine but I wouldn't risk it.

  • Keira D.

    No, I never understood why you would purposely make your child ill. Even they got it they may get it again anyway. I have had it twice.

  • Nicki M.

    Not sure why this question has been asked . Didn't anyone know it's the year of the perfect parents

  • Vicki G.

    My little One has it now!

  • Michelle F.

    I had chicken pox when I was 17 and I was in hospital for a month on the infectious diseases ward because of heart problems it causes with adults. I wish I had it at a kid as in most cases the virus affects them much less than adults and on the balance of probabilities you are going to get it once in your life

  • Jemma W.

    This is so misguided. Chicken pox is as dangerous for children as measles, but the chickenpox vaccine is expensive so the NHS will only give it to children with health conditions. Pay £50, have your child vaccinated privately. At the very least you will save them from a week of feeling rotten and yourself from a week of trying to find childcare. Or you might save your child's life xx

    • Siân B.

      I'm getting my little girl vaccinated £190 for both jabs... Wish I could find it for £50! X

    • Helen M.

      Bloody hell Sian. It was £80 for the 2 jabs for my son in 2012.

    • Danni E.

      Where did you find it for £50 Jemma?x

    • Danni E.

      Helen Louise Must where did you have it done for £80? I was interested a year or so ago as read a story about a child who very sadly died as a result of complications from chicken pox. However the price I found was nearer the price Sian mentioned above for the two, which was not affordable for me at the time and friends convinced me its rare to get complications so the vaccine was unnecessary. The 'high' price my was somewhere in the Bournemouth area - strouden park I think. We recently kept our daughter off pre school when it was going round as we were about to go on holiday so now she's missed that bout of it. Plus I'm still strongly considering whether to pay for her to b vaccinated against it after reading all these comments about how bad some children have had it. Any advice welcomed as I'm sure you did some research which led you to getting the vaccine x

    • Jemma W.

      Our local travel clinic did it (Kirkcaldy). They only need one dose if they're under two with a booster before they start school xx

  • Karen E.

    There is a vaccine for chicken pox which isn't yet available on the NHS. When it is, there will be no need for these 'parties'

    • Melissa R.

      Is only available in NHS for children that are in close contact with people with low immune systems is available to anyone. The vaccine is available privately at 60 pound per shot, and two shot are required

  • Mandy I.

    When I was a child, as soon as word got around that a child had chicken pox, mumps or measles you were there playing with them within minutes!

  • Gilly H.

    All of my children had chicken pox under 5 years old. Three of them were covered head to toe in spots and my daughter, who was 5 months at the time had about 12 spots in total. My girls were OK with it and recovered well but my son was very poorly, he ended up at the Sick Kids. Chicken pox affected them all differently. I couldn't prevent my children catching it from each other. Seeing how it affected my son, I would advise not to hold a chicken pox party.

  • Kim B.

    My two older children didn't suffer at all with them but my younger two had them really really bad and both developed chest infections on top (they were 1 and 3) I wouldn't go to a chicken pox party. I don't agree with them at all.

  • Kerry W.

    Yes, my son is nearly 6 and hasn't had them! Everyone in his class seems to have had them

  • Mary B.

    No why would i intentionally make my children ill plus ive been told by drs there are different strains of chickenpox hense why just like measels you can have them multiple times kids can get very ill fighting just one strain of chicken pox why would i put them through possible serious illness having there immune system fight too much at once big difference between strengthening an immune system n distroying or damaging it

  • Michelle M.

    my 6 kids have had it more than once apart from the youngest who is 2 she has only had it once and was fine. the oldest 3 have had it 5 times and my other 2 3 times. if kids are going to catch it they will because its airborne and contagious before the spots come out its quite hard to prevent it so going to school or nursery when chicken pox is about is like going to a chicken pox party xx

  • Safaa M.

    what a terrible idea!!!!

  • Carrie H.

    All my kids have had chicken pox, my eldest had it at nearly 3yrs and was covered, thankfully he had no complications. My youngest had it at 3 fairly mild too. My middle son was 5 and had it a few weeks ago, he was very poorly with it, completely covered head to toe, in his mouth, tonsils, eyes everywhere and also has infected ones around his gentiles. So no I wouldn't suggest a party for others to catch it. Esp after seeing him in constant pain and being so uncomfortable.

  • Sarah M.

    Disgusting. It's untrue that children can only get chicken pox once - why would you go out actively looking for an illness for your child? It's not always mild and it's not always harmless.

  • Kelz G.

    Never! I would never deliberatly try to make my child poorly!

  • Lauraine D.

    My almost 3 year old gave it to my 11 month old son. He had it so much worse, it was awful.

  • Lele

    I had chicken pots twice as a child the second time quite bad with some scarring, I still managed to get shingles at 31 which left me with no energy for a while. My eldest 2 had it when they were 18mths and 2 and recovered well. I wouldn't purposely go out of my way to take them to a party but wouldn't panic if they came in contact with someone. No parent likes to see their child I'll at anytime but I'd like them to get it while it's a chance of being a bit easier for them.

  • Rebecca T.

    Yep . Its only chickenpox. Better to get it early

  • Louise T.

    Nope children can die from chickenpox x

  • Joanna P.

    It seems totally unnecessary as they are bound to get it through school playgroup or siblings etc The child with chicken pox is most contagious before the spots come out so the parents often don't know their child has chicken pox!

  • Janette H.

    I have no problem with this. When we had chicken box all the kids in the street come to play with us in the hope of catching it!! Better to have it young than as an adult. X

  • Samantha R.

    Never !!! Absolutely disgusting thing to do !

  • Samantha R.

    Never !! Who in the hell would want to purposely make thier child ill ffs !!

  • Rebecca S.

    No why spread it around more ! Serious consequences for many adults and children with immune disorders or illnesses to contract. Really annoys me that people knowingly spread it and allow children to go out with it

  • Tasha W.

    Who the hell WANTS their child to get chicken pox?!!! F had it an was so poorly I would never expose my child to it what the actual??? an

  • Laura G.

    Completely agree my daughter also was hospitalised with chickenpox and suffered Ataxia a complication from chickenpox and now has keototic hypoglycaemia I wouldn't wish chickenpox on anyone, and both my children have had it twice so not always the case they have it once x

  • Elaine E.

    No way, my child has recently had chickenpox and wouldn't wish anyone to go through it.

  • Katy B.

    God no! What a stupid idea!!

  • Beetlemama

    Our son had it when he was about 2, he had 48 spots and didn't even know he was ill. It was perfect.  My own experience was at 10, Dr said I was the sickest child he'd ever seen with chickenpox,  I have a good few scars still. I' m 48 now but I remember clearly that I had never felt so crappy in my life,  I was off school for 3 weeks. 

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