According to the findings of a recent new study, attending day care in the first three years of life is associated with an increase in lung difficulties among children who were born preterm and diagnosed with a kind of chronic lung illness.
The research was published in the journal ‘The Journal of Paediatrics.’ The study indicated that preterm children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) who attended daycare were more likely to visit the emergency room, take systemic steroids, and have persistent respiratory problems than children who did not attend daycare.
“Preterm children born with BPD have a short window to improve their lung function trajectory, so we are always looking for ways to minimize exposures in early childhood to prevent lung function problems in adult life,” said lead author Sharon McGrath-Morrow, MD, MBA, Associate Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine and leader of the Post-preemie Lung Disease Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“This study shows that daycare is a modifiable risk factor that is linked with poorer outcomes in preterm children with BPD,” he added.
Several previous research have found a link between daycare attendance and an increased risk of respiratory problems in children with extremely low birth weight. However, because those research focused on a specific centre or site, the findings were not generalizable throughout the community.
The researchers collected registry data from nine tertiary care facilities in the United States that participate in the BPD Collaborative Outpatient Registry to further assess the influence of daycare exposure on respiratory infections in children with BPD. Researchers collected data on daycare attendance, clinical features, acute care usage, and chronic respiratory symptoms from 341 former preterm children with BPD between the ages of 0 and 3.
Preterm children with BPD who attended daycare were three times more likely to visit the emergency department and four times more likely to receive systemic steroids, according to the study. They also discovered a higher incidence of persistent respiratory issues, such as coughing or wheezing, among preterm children who attended daycare, as well as an increased usage of rescue medicine, such as inhalers. There was no difference in outcomes for children who attended in-home daycares versus those who attended center-based daycares.
The researchers divided their data into three age groups to see if these effects faded with age: 6-12 months, 12-24 months, and 24-36 months. They discovered that the harmful effects of daycare were greatest in the 6-12 month age group, although the findings revealed that those effects may last longer.
“Many families need childcare outside the home for a variety of reasons, including caregiver employment,” McGrath-Morrow said.
“Providers should advise families with infants and young children with BPD about the potential risks of daycare attendance, particularly prior to 1 year of age, while also bearing in mind the financial needs of the family,” he concluded.