Daycare Attendance and Traffic Linked to Elevated Childhood Respiratory Health Risk

Daycare Attendance and Traffic Linked to Elevated Childhood Respiratory Health Risk

According to a recent study, daycare attendance is associated with an increased risk of respiratory morbidity in children. The study also found that damp environments and dense traffic are linked to higher rates of wheezing, inhaler prescriptions, and bronchiolitis. On the other hand, breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of bronchiolitis, otitis media, and wheezing.

The study, called GO-CHILD, was a multicenter prospective birth cohort study that examined various risk factors for respiratory health and symptoms in children. Led by Tom Ruffles and his team at the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, the research aimed to provide healthcare professionals with the latest evidence on environmental risk factors for respiratory infections and wheezing in young children.

The study involved 2,312 pregnant women and their children, who were followed up at 12 and 24 months of age. Postal questionnaires were used to collect information on infections, respiratory symptoms, and patient outcomes. The questionnaires also gathered data on home environments, including factors such as breastfeeding, daycare attendance, traffic density, dampness, and exposure to tobacco smoke.

The results showed that daycare attendance was associated with higher odds of developing bronchiolitis, pneumonia, otitis media, and emergency department visits for wheezing. Breastfeeding for more than 6 months reduced the odds of bronchiolitis and otitis media. Having siblings at home increased the risk of bronchiolitis and the need for inhaler prescriptions. Dampness in the home was linked to a higher risk of wheezing and the need for inhalers and corticosteroid prescriptions. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and dense traffic near the children’s homes also increased the risk of respiratory problems.

The researchers concluded that larger studies are needed to confirm these findings in other populations and guide future public health interventions. The study highlights the importance of considering environmental factors in the prevention and management of childhood respiratory conditions.

1. Ruffles, T, Inglis, SK, Memon, A, et al. Environmental risk factors for respiratory infection and wheeze in young children: a multicentre birth cohort study. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2023; 1-12. doi:10.1002/ppul.26664.
2. Vissing NH, Chawes BL, Rasmussen MA, Bisgaard H. Epidemiology and risk factors of infection in early childhood. Pediatrics. 2018; 141(6):e20170933.

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