Aim: To estimate the association between baby swimming and recurrent respiratory tract infections and otitis media in the first year of life in children of parents without and with atopy.
Methods: Norwegian schoolchildren (n = 2862) was enrolled in a cross-sectional study of asthma and allergy using the questionnaire of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). The outcomes were parental retrospective report of recurrent respiratory tract infections and otitis media diagnosed by a physician in the first year of life. The exposure was baby swimming during the same period. Parental atopy reflects a history of maternal or paternal asthma, hayfever or eczema.
Results: The prevalence of recurrent respiratory tract infections was higher (12.3%) among children who took part in baby swimming than among those who did not (7.5%). The prevalence of recurrent respiratory tract infections during the first year of life was 5.6% and 10.5%, respectively, in children of parents without and with atopy, whereas the prevalence of baby swimming was 5.6% and 5.1%, respectively, in the two groups. Stratified analysis using parental atopy as strata showed that the increased risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections was only present among children of parents with atopy [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.08, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.08-4.031. A similar trend was present for otitis media (aOR 1.77, 95% CI 0.96-3.25).
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that baby swimming and infant respiratory health may be linked. The findings need to be examined in a longitudinal study.