Daycare Attendance, Traffic, and Damp Environments Linked to Respiratory Health Risks in Children

Daycare Attendance, Traffic, and Damp Environments Linked to Respiratory Health Risks in Children

A recent study has found that attending daycare is associated with an increased risk of respiratory morbidity in children. The study also revealed that living in damp environments and areas with dense traffic are linked to higher rates of wheezing, inhaler prescriptions, and bronchiolitis.

The research, known as the GO-CHILD multicentre prospective birth cohort study, aimed to explore the impact of various risk factors on respiratory health and symptoms in children. Led by Tom Ruffles and his team from the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, the study followed 2,312 pregnant women and their children from August 2009 to November 2013.

Data was collected through postal questionnaires, which assessed respiratory infections, symptoms, healthcare use, and environmental factors such as breastfeeding status, daycare attendance, tobacco smoke exposure, presence of siblings, traffic density, dampness in the home, and more.

The findings revealed that children who attended daycare had higher odds of developing bronchiolitis, pneumonia, otitis media, and requiring emergency department visits for wheezing. On the other hand, breastfeeding for more than 6 months was associated with a reduced risk of bronchiolitis and otitis media.

Having siblings at home increased the chances of bronchiolitis and the need for reliever inhalers. Visible dampness in the home was linked to an increased risk of wheezing and the use of inhalers and corticosteroid prescriptions. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and living near heavy traffic were also found to increase the risk of respiratory issues.

The researchers emphasized the importance of further large-scale studies with longer follow-up periods to validate these findings and guide public health interventions to reduce the impact of respiratory infections and wheezing in young children.


– Ruffles, T, Inglis, SK, Memon, A, et al. “Environmental risk factors for respiratory infection and wheeze in young children: a multicentre birth cohort study.” Pediatrics. 2023; 1-12.

– 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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