Guest blogger Ronda Kaysen: Here's another thing for moms of premature babies to worry about: A new study has found that daycare could seriously harm the health of certain premature kids, so parents should hold off on putting their preemies into daycare until the kids are at least 2.
CLDP (a.k.a. chronic lung disease of prematurity) is a condition which causes respiratory problems such as coughing and wheezing. Not all premature kids have CLDP, but it is common, with about 25 percent of babies born before 27 weeks developing it. Even babies born as late as 32 weeks are susceptible.
According to MyHealthNewsDaily, children with CLDP who go to daycare are four times more likely to visit the emergency room than CLDP children who don't go to daycare. They are also nearly three times more likely to have difficulty breathing at least once a week, and twice as likely to need medication. Due to these findings, researchers say that kids who have CLDP should stay away from daycare centers until they're at least 2 years old.
"We think that the physicians and the nurse practitioners and whoever cares for these children after they leave the hospital should educate the families on the possible risk of daycare exposure [for] the preterm infant and child with lung disease, particularly during the first couple years of life," study researcher Dr. Sharon McGrath-Morrow, a lung specialist at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, told MyHealthDailyNews.
Daycare is a germ magnet, but kids without respiratory problems can handle the onslaught of viruses that come their way. "Most healthy children tolerate respiratory infections and viruses without difficulty, and so daycare would not be considered a problem for them," said McGrath-Morrow.
As a working mom with a child in daycare, I don't know what I would do if I were unable to put my son in a daycare program. Nannies and private sitters are prohibitively expensive, and I need to work. I imagine I'm not the only mom in this position. Tack on the added anxiety of having a child with CLDP, and you put a family under enormous financial and medical pressure.
Obviously, no mother wants to expose her vulnerable child to illnesses that could land him or her in the hospital, but financial concerns are very real for families, too. News like this -- although informative and eye-opening -- must put many financially taxed families in a terrible position.