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coughing and sneezing, over two weeks

Hey there,,
I babysit two young girls (4 years & 18 months old) and they have had a cough that will be going on three weeks. They both have a "wet" cough, the older one coughs up lots of phlegm and sometimes gags on it, and I have to remind her to spit it out. The younger one also sneezes all day and there is always some kind of mucus, and it varies in color: sometimes clear, but mostly white or yellow. They both have many allergies (their food allergies are known, but they "refuse" other testing for other irritants besides food.) I wasn't concerned at first because my youngest daughter has allergies and she gets coughing and sneezing bouts, but now this is going on for a while,and I'm concerned it may be more than allergies. The parents tell me that they have called the pediatrician and they insist that if that is all their symptoms are that they are fine and if they take the children in to be seen they will most likely come out sicker than when they went in? When I first began to watch them I insisted that I cannot watch sick children becasue I have three of my own.
The problem is, now I have taken my three to see their doctor because they have been coughing, not feeling well, sore throats, a bit feverish, and I'm concerned that whatever the girls I babysit have, may be more serious. I know it's "sick" season and my kids go to school and can catch "bugs" elsewhere, even from church,,, but how long is a good amount of time for a "safe" cough and when should a child be seen for a chronic/persistent cough?
Any help or just advice will help me sort out my own thoughts,, thanks!!!
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