Junk Science: Daycare prevents cancer

I visited my Chiropracter the other day and he had an article entitled Day care prevents child cancers. Catchy title and I asked why he was distributing it, when on a first glance the article appeared misleading (junk science?).

His answer was that many parents feel guilty about using daycare when they return to work and this might help to provide balance. A fine answer.

But talk about lies and statistics. Well the article does show that children who have been to daycare are less likely to suffer from a particular type of leukaemia. But it fails to really dig beneath the surface and see why it is that the more public the daycare arrangement the greater the protection.

The answer surely has to be that the child is exposed to germs (which may not make them ill) from a more diverse number of sources. In an age when we have anti-bacterial cleaners for every surface, and we stop our children from venturing out where they may get hurt, where eating dirt and sand is prevented our children are not putting any stress on their immune systems.

So, does the article make me feel happier about the daycare choice I made? Yes
Does the article make me feel happier about my small people who would crawl off through anything and everything in their search for adventure? Yes

But did I need reassurance? No.

The only real gain from the article would be to back up my arguement that littlies should be allowed to experience the world, to have tumbles and falls and to venture into mucky places if they’re learning about the world – so long as their basic safety is assured. A few tears are nothing. The odd cold is nothing. Not much fun perhaps, but not life threatening.

I’ll post the doc later 😉

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4 Comments

  1. July 28, 2007

    Completely far fetched as many factors have to come into play.

  2. December 20, 2007

    I have never heard this line of thought before. It seems kind of ridiculous to think that daycare or preschool may be responsible for a child contracting luekemia or other common diseases just from daycare. Sure there are a variety of germs and things that children will be exposed to, but they are exposed to all these things any where they go.

    Interesting topic though..not sure I am convinced.

  3. January 10, 2008

    Daycare prevents cancer!

    This is an incredible stretch of the research findings imagination.
    Visit http://www.proceedc.com for real research and evaluation of early years and childcare services and activities in the UK.

    All the best
    Margaret

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