Day care risks for kids born prematurely

Both my daughters seem like they have almost constant colds, and that’s not surprising since they’re in day care. But for children who  were born prematurely, particularly those born earlier and at very low weights, day care can be a real health hazard.

Those early premies are at high risk of a condition known as chronic lung disease of prematurity and sending those children to day care is – perhaps not surprisingly –  associated with more respiratory illnesses. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine tracked 11 children with chronic lung disease of prematurity between January 2008 and October 2009 and who were born on average at 26 weeks gestation.

Those who attended day care were at nearly four times the risk of going to the emergency room. In addition they had increased risk of being prescribed steroids and antibiotics to control illnesses. The day care kids also experienced significantly more days when they had trouble breathing.

“We found that day care attendance is associated with increased respiratory morbidities in young children with CLDP,” the researchers concluded. “Physicians should consider screening for and educating caregivers about the risk of day care attendance” for these kids.

The study was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

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