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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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 date8 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • child care
  • ear infections
  • otitis media
  • infants

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