Grandparents a safe source of childcare

Nov 03, 2008

For working parents, having grandparents as caregivers can cut the risk of childhood injury roughly in half, according to a new study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Compared to organized daycare or care by the mother or other relatives, having a grandmother watch a child was associated with a decreased risk of injury for the child. The study is among the first to examine the relationship between grandparents' care and childhood injury rates. The results are published in the November 2008 issue of Pediatrics.

In addition to source of caregiving, researchers examined the connections between family structure and the likelihood of injury. According to the researchers, the odds of injury were significantly greater among children whose parents never married compared with children whose mothers stayed married throughout the child's life. Similarly, odds of injury were greater for children living in homes in which the father did not co-reside. These associations were independent of family income.

"Recent growth in the number of grandparents providing childcare has some observers concerned they don't adhere to modern safety practices," said lead study author David Bishai, MD, PhD, MPH, a professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health. "To the contrary, this research tells us not only is there no evidence to support this assumption, but families that choose grandparents to care for their children experience fewer child injuries."

Bishai and colleagues analyzed data from the National Evaluation of the Healthy Steps for Young Children Program, which includes information on over 5,500 newborns enrolled in 15 U.S. cities in 1996-97 with follow-up for 30-33 months. Data on child care arrangements reported by the mother were linked to claims reporting children's office visits, allowing researchers to identify medically attended injuries.

"As injuries are the number one cause of death for children in the United States, it's critical we continue to determine risk and protective factors," said study co-author Andrea C. Gielen, ScD, ScM, a co- author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Additional studies of how households choose relatives to watch their children and the actual caregiving style of grandparents are warranted because the protective effect of grandparents may depend on choosing the right grandparent."

Source: Johns Hopkins University

Explore further: Is UK shale gas extraction posing a risk to public health?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists learn how food affects the brain

Jul 09, 2008

In addition to helping protect us from heart disease and cancer, a balanced diet and regular exercise can also protect the brain and ward off mental disorders.

Recommended for you

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care (Update)

1 hour ago

President Barack Obama said Thursday 8 million Americans have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...