Preschoolers' total daily screen time at home and by type of child care

J Pediatr. 2011 Feb;158(2):297-300. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.08.005. Epub 2010 Oct 27.


Objective: To assess preschoolers' cumulative daily screen time, measure the contributions of the home and the child care setting to this total, and characterize children that are most at risk for excessive screen time.

Study design: We used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, to calculate daily screen time based on reports by preschooler's parents and care providers.

Results: The sample size of 8950 represented approximately 4 million children. By preschool age, >80% of children were in some child care. On average, children in this study were exposed to 4.1 hours of screen time daily, including 3.6 hours at home and 0.4 hours in child care. Children in centers had the lowest screen time (3.2 hours) compared with children in parental care only (4.4 hours), home-based care (5.5 hours), and Head Start (4.2 hours). Even when adjusted for relevant covariates, these differences remained significant (P < .001).

Conclusions: Preschoolers' cumulative screen time exceeds recommendations and most previous estimates. Pediatric clinicians are uniquely positioned to encourage families to discuss screen time with their children's caregivers and to advocate for high quality child care. Efforts to decrease screen time in homes and home-based child care settings are needed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child Care / standards*
  • Child Care / trends
  • Child Day Care Centers
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Needs Assessment
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Social Environment
  • Television / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Video Games*