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Are Daycare Germs Good for Kids?

daycare

Daycare Germs May Be a Good Thing

It’s generally assumed that kids in daycare get sick more than other kids their age. A new study confirms the anecdotal evidence, but it also shows that all of those germs may help build up immunity against future colds and infections.

The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found a higher illness rate predominantly in children who are placed before age 2-1/2 in child-care centers with relatively large groups of 8 to 12 children. Compared with children who were at home, these kids had more respiratory and ear inflections during early preschool and the same risk of infection between ages 3-1/2 and 4-1/2, based on the eight-year study of 1,238 families with newborns in 1998. But here’s the catch: these kids also had lower rates of infection between ages 5 and 8.

The research “provides reassuring evidence for parents that their choices regarding child care shouldn’t have a major effect” on their kids’ long-term health, says Sylvana M. Cote of Ste-Justine Hospital and the University of Montreal, Quebec., who led the study.

The study showed that in fact, kids who start day care early  “may even gain protection against infections during the elementary-school years, when absenteeism carries more important consequences.”

The results of the study “could step up pressure on child-care centers to be less restrictive about sending home children with the sniffles,” writes Sue Shellenbarger in The Wall Street Journal.

If your children are in daycare, do you feel like they’re getting sick all the time? If so, do the findings of this study reassure you?

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photo: wikimedia

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