If your child was born prematurely, your child's pediatrician may have told you that your child is more susceptible to developing asthma. In fact, researchers found that children born before 37 weeks of gestation were 46% more likely to develop asthma than children who were born full-term. However, don't let this discourage you from enrolling your child in a day care center. Research published by the National Institutes of Health shows that when young children are exposed to other children, there is a protective effect that can reduce the risk of developing asthma.
Researchers in this study believe that limiting exposure to other children causes an increase in the rate of atophy, which is the genetic tendency to develop allergic conditions, such as asthma. Therefore, exposing your young child to other young children should reduce their risk of developing asthma. However, just to be sure, it's a good idea to evaluate the child care center to see how they handle children with respiratory illnesses and asthmatic children.
Is the air clean in the center?
Obviously, you'll want to be sure the day care center is tobacco smoke free at all times. While day care attendants are typically restricted from smoking in the presence of children, you want to be sure the attendants don't smoke inside the building at all. Simply ask. In addition to concerns of tobacco smoke, you'll want to be sure the ventilation system is well maintained and the environment is free of allergens and other irritants that could cause health issues, such as harsh chemicals used for cleaning and air fresheners.
Is the day care center dust-free?
To help reduce the risks of your child developing asthma, he or she should be in an environment that is free of dust and, therefore, dust mites. Dust and dust mites are allergens that can cause asthma and wheezing. When you take a tour of the child care center, check to see if there are a lot of materials and items that easily collect dust and dust mites, such as drapes hanging from windows, carpeting, upholstered furniture, and hard horizontal surfaces, such as shelving. Ask the child care center how often they clean all surfaces, particularly soft toys, and other dust-permeable items and materials.
Are the attendants well-trained to recognize asthma symptoms?
Even though your child does not currently have asthma and exposure to other children may help prevent them from developing asthma, it is crucial that the attendants are well-trained to recognize asthma in very young children, just in case your child develops asthma while in their care. This is particularly important if your child will be in the child care center for more waking hours during the day than they are with you, which is often the case when children attend day care centers while their parents are working. Ask the day care centers in your area to show you proof that staff members have undergone training regarding asthma.
Do they keep a log book for each child?
If there are multiple attendants in the child care center, they may not individually be as familiar with your child as a single provider would be. However, some busy child care centers keep log books regarding the behaviors and health concerns of the children in their care. That way, they can easily and quickly refer to the log book if any concerns arise at any point. If there are multiple child care providers or attendants in the child care center, ask them if they keep written notes or if they have established some other form of communication regarding each child in their care, such as daily journals.