New research findings from Canada shows that children who begin going to large child-care facilities before the age of two and a half are more likely to develop frequent colds and ear infection at the said age. However, they are less likely to catch illnesses after they finish their elementary years at school.

The parents of these children who attend day care centers know all too well that their kids are getting more colds and other infections than those children who are at home or attend home-based daycares. This result caused many to worry about the effects of having the children exposed to various pathogens at a very young age. However, there have only been few studies that checked on if it has a long term effect on a child’s health after the preschool years.

Because of this, Sylvana M. Côté, of Ste-Justine Hospital and the University of Montreal formed a group to hold studies to around 1,200 newborns of families in Quebec in 1998. The team, led by Côté, went to ask the mothers if their children had attended a large child-care facility, which is defined as a center that cares for children who are grouped by ten in a class of eight to 12. Child-care facility may also be a small one, which are most likely home based centers and a caretaker watches over three to eight children. The parents were also asked whether their kids were cared for at their homes.

The researchers painstakingly collected the needed information about the frequency of children’s colds and respiratory tract infections, stomach infections and ear infections. This was done for eight years.

After the data were tabulated, the researchers have found out that the children who attended large group child care before the age 2 and a half had experienced more cases of colds, respiratory infection and ear infection during their elementary school year. This is in comparison to those children who just stayed and cared for at home.

Those children who joined small group child care during their early preschool years and did not attend large care setting did not show any differences in infection results. On the other hand, the children who were first stayed and cared for at home but later on went to a child care facility of any size during the late preschool showed higher risks of ear infections during the said period of time. They had not differed in any children in terms of infection risks.

It is very interesting to note that group child care was not connected with gastrointestinal infections at any given period during the children’s development. This was according to the authors of the report entitled Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. This suggests that being exposed to large groups of children at an early age will give protection against infections. This can assure the parents that although their children may be in contact with numerous infections early on, it is just a temporary increase. Most likely, children are to develop greater immunity once they are at the elementary school. This was according to the authors of the research.