Does child care in the first year of life pose a risk for concurrent and future ear infections?

Brad M. Farrant, Linda J. Harrison, Sarah Wise, Grant Smith, Stephen R. Zubrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Child care centre attendance is associated with an increased risk of concurrent ear infections, but what is less clear is whether there are any positive or negative long-term effects of early child care attendance on the incidence of ear infections in later childhood. This research assessed the impact of early child care attendance on concurrent and long-term risk of ear infections. Complete sets of relevant wave 1–5 data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children were available for 3513 children (1822 boys) who had a median age of 9 months (M = 8.7, SD = 2.6) at wave 1, 34 months (M = 33.8, SD = 2.9) at wave 2, 57 months (M = 57.5, SD = 2.8) at wave 3, 82 months (M = 81.8, SD = 3.5) at wave 4, and 107 months (M = 107.1, SD = 3.6) at wave 5. At waves 1 and 2, children who attended child care centres had a significantly increased risk of concurrent ear infections than children with exclusive parental care. The longitudinal analyses found no evidence of increased (or decreased) long-term risk of ear infections in subsequent waves associated with attending a child care centre in the first 12 months (or the first 30 months) of life. However, having ear infections at wave 1 was a significant risk factor for ear infections at subsequent waves. Future research is needed to design and investigate appropriate interventions to ameliorate these increased risks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-280
Number of pages18
JournalChild Care in Practice
Volume25
Issue number3
Early online date06 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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