If your child is going to school, he should be vaccinated. Period. Pertussis and meningitis outbreaks happened recently, so what's next, polio? And enough already with chicken pox parties — if you choose not vaccinate your child, you're not thinking about all of his classmates.

I homebirthed. I breastfed. I vaccinated.

Shocked? Many in the natural birth community delay vaccines or are anti-vaccine altogether — not me.

Granted, like many new parents I had my first baby vaccinated from birth without question. When his younger brother was born, it was at the height of the autism/MMR vaccine link scare. Yes, I freaked out a little bit — until I talked to his pediatrician who explained Thimerosal was no longer in the vaccines he would be getting. We also delayed Hep B until he was a few weeks old. That's as extreme as I'll ever get. My kids are up-to-date with their shots — and yours should be, too, especially if they go to school. And even if they don't — more on that later...

Not vaccinating school-age kids is selfish

Yeah, I said it. Not vaccinating your child puts mine and the rest of her classmates at risk. This isn't only my opinion — the Center for Disease Control states:

Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will be infected and will spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made over the years.

Schools are great institutions of learning, but they are also germ cesspools.

Chicken pox parties, seriously?

My kids and all of their school friends have never had chickenpox because they were vaccinated.

I remember having chicken pox when I was in kindergarten. I still have scars and it was awful. My mom had to tape washcloths to my hands to stop me from itching. You bet my kids had the varicella vaccine. I hear a lot about chicken pox parties and that's one invitation I was thrilled not to get. Intentionally giving chicken pox to your kids while they drink from each other's juice boxes and share lollipops? Not only do I think it's disgusting, I flat out think it's wrong. My kids and all of their school friends have never had chicken pox because they were vaccinated.

Don't call it a comeback

A few years ago an outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) happened in a neighboring city. It was really scary to go to the pediatrician's office for well child visits not knowing if other kids in the waiting room had it. Teens are getting meningitis — and there's a vaccine for that, too.

If you don't want to protect yours, that's your choice, but please don't put my kid at risk.

My mom was a child in the 50's, and remembers when a child at her summer camp contracted polio. The parents and kids freaked out as this was before the polio vaccine was available to everyone. Kids had to line up to get shots from huge needles while the unlucky ones who also got polio spent the rest of their summer in iron lungs. Now we can protect our kids from this disease — if you don't want to protect yours, that's your choice, but please don't put my kid at risk.

Even homeschoolers should be vaccinated

I think homeschooled kids should be vaccinated, too. They may not attend outside schools, but they do go outside — and not vaccinating them puts kids at the grocery stores, museums, libraries, wherever, at risk.

Bottom line^ As a parent, I respect the freedom to make choices that we deem best for our families. But when you are potentially endangering the public's health, well, I wish there was a vaccine for that, too.

For the flip side of the vaccination debate, read about why another AllParenting writer delays vaccinations >>

Read more about the vaccine debate

The return of whooping cough and why it matters
Parents share why they don't vaccinate
Should everyone vaccinate their kids?