Being a parent, it is very difficult decision to place your new born in daycare. As the number of families with both parents working outside the home has risen, the need for daycare services has increased dramatically. About one in three U.S. kids receives organized childcare before reaching kindergarten age, either at a daycare center or a school. Many parents adopt daycare as it provides an option to them to leave their child during their working hours. However, most parents claim that daycare environment make their kids sick. If you are among those parents who are debating to send their kids to daycare, I believe you would be interested in a new study that claims early daycare links to fewer infections after age 5.
About the research
The research was led by Sylvana Cote of the University of Montreal, in Quebec. Cote studied data of 1,238 families over a period of eight years. She tracked how often children suffered respiratory, ear or gastrointestinal infections during their early preschool (up to age 2½), late preschool (3½ to 4½) and early elementary school (ages 5-8) years.
The research found that –
- Kids under the age of 2½ who spent at least 10 hours a week surrounded by at least seven other children in a daycare had experienced around 60% more respiratory tract and ear infections compared with children who were cared for at home until grade school
- Same kids during their early elementary school years had 21% fewer respiratory tract infections and 43% fewer ear infections compared with children who were cared for at home
- No differences were...
seen in the numbers of gastrointestinal infection
- Children who enrolled in small-group child care facilities in early preschool, as opposed to facilities that had larger groups of children, didn’t have any more infections than kids who stayed at home
- Kids who were initially cared for at home and later enrolled at any child care facility had more ear infections between ages 3 ½ and 4 ½, but no other differences in infection risk
The study is published in the December issue of the Journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The researchers cautioned that more studies are needed to confirm whether or not early daycare is responsible for staving off later infections and to pinpoint why a link might exist. Cote suggested that being sick might help build a kid’s immunity, and that a child’s immune system may be particularly sensitive to such shaping during the early preschool years. Though further research is needed to evaluate the long term benefits of day care, but the study brings a very important consideration that building immunity in an early stage helps in shaping the future.