According to researchers in The Netherlands, daycare may ultimately protect children from stomach infections over time.
The authors of the study tracked 1,626 Dutch children for the first six years of life, including 1,344 who attended daycare before their first birthday.
While rates of infection were similar across the entire six years, the children in daycare were about 13 percent more likely to be diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis during the first year, compared to kids who weren’t in daycare.
Children in daycare had a lower risk of infections from years three to six, compared to kids not in daycare, the researchers found.
“It is even possible that the protective effect persist beyond six years of age, however more research is needed to support that,” wrote de Hoog in an email to Reuters Health.
Dr. David Dunkin, pediatric gastroenterologist at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said the increased risk of stomach infections in the first year of daycare is likely a result of kids being exposed for the first time to the stomach infection-causing germs.
“If (parents) can hang in there for the first year of them being sick, then the time after that is going to be pretty calm with less infections,” said Dunkin, who was not involved with the new research.
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