The Spread of Common Illnesses and Effectiveness of Infection Control Practices in Child Care Settings

Sanders Korenman, Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY)
Rachel Gordon, University of Illinois at Chicago
Robert Kaestner, University of Illinois at Chicago

We explore “infection control practices (ICPs)” as measures of child care quality, and compare “ICP quality” to more widely-used measures of “process quality”. Although we consider a variety of child care settings, we pay particular attention to home-based care because it is relatively neglected in studies of child care quality, yet used disproportionately by low-income women and increasingly subsidized. Results to date indicate: like children in centers, children in large family day-care experience elevated illness rates, especially respiratory infections; lower-income families use settings with poorer ICPs; and better ICPs reduce respiratory illness. Thus, regulations or informational programs that promote ICPs would disproportionately benefit low-income children and families. Results are confirmed in analyses of longitudinal data that control for unmeasured child or family characteristics (child fixed-effects). Future analyses will examine cognitive and behavioral outcomes. The sample is children followed from birth age 4.5 in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care.

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Presented in Session 54: Child Care, Schooling and Development