Health Of Caregivers In Child Care
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Exercise Sciences
Background : Child care workers play an important role in caring for children attending child care yet there is little research regarding their health. Methods : The study consisted of focus groups with child care workers and a survey, conducted as part of a larger study known as the Healthy Child Care Study, which focused on children. The study investigated carers working in formal child care [long day care (LDC) and family day care (FDC)]. Results : Questionnaires to caregivers in centres showed that 86% had taken sick leave in the previous year and 75% of staff had taken leave for infectious illness. Carers in FDC reported that 24% had taken sick leave in the previous year and 12% of carers had taken leave for infectious illness. Of responding caregivers from centres, 22% were cigarette smokers while in FDC homes, 8% of carers smoked. In focus groups, carers reported that their major areas of health concern were stress, infectious illness and physical trauma such as lifting injuries. Conclusions : Child care workers in LDC took more sick leave than those in FDC but this is not necessarily due to more illness. Child care workers are a diverse and important group that require further research.