Health Team

Day care helps children build immunity to diseases

Posted December 10, 2010

Parents who feel guilty sending their children to day care can take relief from new medical research. Doctors found that daycare can help strengthen children's immunity to diseases.

— Parents who feel guilty sending their children to day care can take relief from new medical research. Doctors found that day care can help strengthen children's immunity to diseases.

Like many mothers, Joann Lombardo was torn about her decision to put her baby daughter in day care and go back to work.

"At one point, I thought, 'OK, you know what, maybe it's time I stay home, because I started feeling guilty," she said. "She's constantly sick. She's so little."

Other moms, though, erased Lombardo's anxiety.

"A lot of people said hang in there, because by the time your daughter reaches kindergarten, she's never going to be sick," she said.

A report in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine backs up with that those parents already knew.

Researchers found that children who attend large group day care facilities before age 2½ appear to develop more respiratory and ear infections at that age, but fewer illnesses later.

"These children who acquire lots of infections during day care, first of all, it did not harm them. It actually stimulated their immune systems," said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventative Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Day care helps children build immunity Day care helps children build immunity

Children in smaller day cares or who stayed at home had fewer illnesses when they were young but got sick once they went to school.

Lombardo said that was worse for children in the long run.

"It's better off that they miss the school now with the day care as opposed to when they are actually in the school system," she said.

Researchers said there is a possibility that stimulating the immune system early could also give long-term protection against asthma, but more studies are necessary.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • delilahk2000 Dec 17, 2010


  • jkca Dec 17, 2010

    I believe it.

  • sarahsoandso Dec 16, 2010

    I'd really like to see a research study done that really packs a whallop. How about... Feeding your children junk food weakens their immune systems.
    Don't give your toddler soda.
    Cut out foods that are packed with food coloring, corn syrup, sugar and artificial flavors.
    THAT is a good way to strengthen your child's immune system.
    And if daycare helps too, well, I guess that's a bonus.

  • Evolve Dec 15, 2010

    Baybee Doll,
    Why must a child be held until it falls asleep. Both of my kids cry until they went to sleep. They learned that Mommy and Daddy are not going to come running everytime they don't want to go to bed. People are amazed now that our kids (2 and 5) go right to bed- at a very specific time- without any kind of fuss. Children need to learn how to calm themselves. Stop being so judgemental.

  • ckparris2002 Dec 15, 2010

    Baybee Doll

    I am not sure what centers you are referrign but I work in a center with a preschool and after school care. We have a wonderful caring staff of employees. We do not allow infants or even young children cry themselves to sleep. I am not sure why you are trying to say preschools do that. Our director will come in and help with the babies if they are fussy as will any available employee if needed. Most of the staff have children and they are very much aware of caring for young children. I think you shoudl think more clearly and get your facts straight before stating in correct facts. We also have a very high sanitation rating and we are always cleaning rooms and things the children come ino contact with.

  • MomOfTwins Dec 14, 2010

    Baybee Doll: You need more than 2 workers for 10 kids (the minimum) to take good care of them.

    So are you saying that a mother needs to have less than 5 children as well, or do your numbers only apply to daycares?

  • Honesty Dec 14, 2010

    I have an awesome day care. Every Friday when I pick up my kids the teachers and support staff are are completing a "chores" list as I call it. Once a month the air duct and filter get washed and changed, the book shelves get cleaned. Toys are cleaned much more regularly. The base boards, walls, blinds, window ledges, doors, knobs, switches etc are all cleaned AT LEAST montly. Daily they wash, mop, vaccum, clean everything. It is awesome. They don't hire it out, the teachers and support staff do it themselves. I've even seen the director and assistant washing baseboards and walls.

    We had a stay a home dad for the first year of our kids lives. We put them in day care and they got sick for a time and now my kids are healthy, SOCIALLY, MENTALLY, INTELLECTUALLY and EMOTIONALLY. They share much better than my oldest who was at home for 3 years, have more respect, and more imagination. I think a balance of at home and day care is the way to go.
    You gotta research your daycares!!

  • 2323 Dec 14, 2010

    When is Baybee Doll going to be quiet. Can't you tell that no one particularly cares about your delusional opinion?

  • Baybee Doll Dec 14, 2010

    As for the clean daycare, yes, a very few are clean, but do you pick up the babies when they cry? Do you rock them to sleep? Do you hold them for an hour or more after eating (for newborns)?

    I think not. You feed them & dump them in the crib & go on to the next one. It doesn't affect you if they cry b/c you have no bond with the child. This is what bothers me the most. Ignoring crying babies. You need more than 2 workers for 10 kids (the minimum) to take good care of them.

  • Baybee Doll Dec 14, 2010

    I did plenty of research. The best daycares in Raleigh & Garner still think it's ok to dump a baby in the crib & let them "cry themselves to sleep." Again, firstnand knowledge.

    I think they are fine for babies over a year old if you have no other options. But you will get sick & so will the baby & U'll miss a lot of work.

    Again, daycares only came about b/c people got in over their heads with bills & both parents had to work. Of course single parents have few choices.

    Nobody is faulting anyone for their choices, but I think daycare should be a very last resort.