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Day care health risks

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Children in day care centers are more likely to catch an infection that kids who do not attend day care. Children who go to day care are often around other kids who may be sick. Respiratory infections, ear infections, and diarrhea are common at day care centers. Some research has linked asthma to day care.

However, being around the large number of germs in day care may actually IMPROVE your child's immune system in the long run.

Teach your child to wash his or her hands before eating and after using the toilet. Infection is spread most often by children putting dirty toys in their mouths, so check your day care's cleaning practices. Keep your own children home if they are sick.

The risk of infection in a day care center may also be reduced by:

  • Breastfeeding infants
  • Developing policies and training programs that help reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses at the day care center
  • Preparing food and changing diapers in different areas
  • Making sure day care staff and children have up-to-date immunizations

Review Date: 12/1/2008
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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