Nonparental care and infant health: Do number of hours and number of concurrent arrangements matter?
SourceEarly Human Development, 87, 1, (2011), pp. 9-15
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI ON
Early Human Development
Objectives: Previous research found that centre-based childcare is related to more illnesses early in life. The goal of this longitudinal study is to determine whether infant health in the first year of life is also related to the amount of time spent in non-parental care and the number of concurrent non-parental care arrangements. Methods: Information on infant health and non-parental care was obtained through monthly maternal interviews across the first year of life. The occurences of respiratory, digestive, general, and skin illnesses and complaints were used as dependent variables, while the number of hours and the number of arrangements per week were used as predictors. Analyses were done separately in infants for whom centre-based childcare is included in their arrangements (n = 107), and for those which it is not (n = 61). Results: Infants spending more hours in non-parental care had more respiratory and general illnesses. Infants who were cared for in more concurrent arrangements had fewer respiratory and general, but more skin illnesses. These results only applied to infants that included centre-based childcare in their arrangements. In the group of infants that did not attend centre-based childcare, health was not related to either the number of hours or the number of arrangements. Conclusions: Number of hours and number of arrangements do matter in relation to infant health early in life, but only for infants who attend centre-based childcare. While more hours were related to more illnesses, more arrangements were related to both fewer and more illnesses, depending on the type of illnesses.
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