The use of medication in children attending childcare in Western Australia

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Objective: This paper reports on medication use and factors affecting use in a cohort of preschool children attending long daycare in centres and family daycare in homes.Methodology: A survey of parents representing 846 children under 6 years old in two types of childcare in Perth, Western Australia. The data were analysed using descriptive and logistic regression techniques to elucidate factors associated with use of medication.Results: Seventy-three per cent of the children were reported to have used over-the-counter medication at some time, whilst current regular use of prescribed medication was 11%. This proportion is comparable to the limited available data for children of similar ages in Western Australia, For both medication categories, the use of medication was higher in long daycare than family daycare. In addition, many other characteristics differed between children in long daycare and family daycare. Initial analysis showed a number of significant associations between child and family factors and both categories of medication. Multivariable analyses indicated that the most important associations with medication use were with children's illnesses. There was no significant difference between long daycare and family daycare for use of over-the-counter medication but attending long daycare was significantly associated with increased use of prescribed medication (OR=2.13; 95% CI 1.24-3.67) after illnesses had been taken into account.Conclusion: Medication use in children attending childcare is closely related to reported illness in the child.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-187
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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