A recent study called the GO-CHILD multicentre prospective birth cohort study has revealed that attending daycare increases the risk of respiratory morbidity in children. The research also found that damp environments and dense traffic are associated with an increase in wheezing, inhaler prescriptions, and bronchiolitis in children.
Led by Tom Ruffles and colleagues from the Academic Department of Paediatrics at the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust’s Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, UK, the study aimed to explore the impact of early environmental factors on respiratory health and symptoms in children. The researchers examined the effects of various risk factors, including daycare attendance, breastfeeding, exposure to tobacco smoke, presence of siblings, dampness in the home, and density of road traffic.
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 gather information about respiratory symptoms and infections, healthcare use, and prescriptions. The data collected allowed the researchers to assess the association between the risk factors and respiratory outcomes.
The findings showed that daycare attendance was linked to a higher risk of bronchiolitis, pneumonia, otitis media, and visits to the emergency department for wheezing. On the other hand, breastfeeding for more than 6 months reduced the odds of bronchiolitis and otitis media.
The presence of siblings at home increased the risk of bronchiolitis and the need for a reliever inhaler prescription. Visible dampness in the home was associated with a higher risk of wheezing and the need for inhaler prescriptions. Environmental tobacco smoke exposure and dense traffic near the children’s homes also had adverse effects on respiratory health.
The researchers concluded that larger multicentre studies are necessary to validate these findings in different populations. This would provide valuable information for future public health interventions aimed at reducing 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. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2023; 1-12. doi:10.1002/ppul.26664.
– Vissing NH, Chawes BL, Rasmussen MA, Bisgaard H. Epidemiology and risk factors of infection in early childhood. Pediatrics. 2018; 141(6):e20170933.