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.

Does this surprise you?

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  • Doesn’t surprise me, my son got so sick though fromdaycare


  • i agree with this. Children kept home are not as susceptable to viruses etc and therefore would have a lower immunity to them. Children who are around it more would build a stronger immunity more quickly. My 2 year old is always getting sick, as we only just moved her into a daycare centre, but my school aged son does not get as sick as often. Thank goodness


  • Wow not surprised though!


  • This makes sense, given our experiences.


  • No that doesn’t suprise me at all.


  • Kids develop their immunity over time, I don’t think it really has much to do with day care but more whether they leave the home or not. If you keep your kids wrapped in cotton wool inside the home then naturally they will not build up their immunity.
    Our local day cares are often riddled with infections & illnesses, I understand my child will get sick from time to time but I will not intentionally put them in the path of sickness.


  • Nope….not at all.
    It makes sense that in the long run they build up an immunity to all the bugs.


  • No surprises there. The first 6 months of child care were awful; our little guy seemed to be sick all the time. Now he’s pretty tough and rarely gets sick (unlike his mum and dad!).


  • Nope, doesn’t surprise me at all. When my daughter in law first started working in childcare, her and my son were always sick,matching anything and everything going. Now, after a couple of years, they’re hardly ever sick


  • Some are prone to colds, bronchitis in the first couple of years at childcare too. If they consider them to be too sick the parent/guardian has to take them to the Dr. and get a certificate to say when they will be fit enough to return.
    In the event of serious outbreaks some childcare centres put up a sign warning people. If your child has a low immune system due to a legitimate ongoing medical problem or other medical issues it is your choice whether your child attends or not.


  • Either way, kids will succumb to gastro when first put into in day care/kindy/school


  • I kinda believe it, my daughter now at primary school barely gets sick!


  • I don’t totally believe this study. Yes, catching viruses and bugs will cause your body to go into action to fight the illness and may increase your immunity to some extent, but I believe proper nutrition, sleep and exercise is far better to build up a healthy, strong immune system. Also, catching illnesses and then taking antibiotics and medications may also lead to a weakening of the immune system.


  • No because they get so sick and catch anything and everything that their immunity builds up.


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