Ventilation in day care centers and sick leave among nursery children

Indoor Air. 2016 Apr;26(2):157-67. doi: 10.1111/ina.12202. Epub 2015 Apr 17.


Several studies have reported poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in day care centers (DCCs), and other studies have shown that children attending them have an increased risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there is an association between ventilation in DCCs and sick leave among nursery children. Data on child sick leave within an 11-week period were obtained for 635 children attending 20 DCCs. Ventilation measurements included three proxies of ventilation: air exchange rate (ACR) measured with the decay method, ACR measured by the perfluorocarbon tracer gas (PFT) method, and CO2 concentration measured over a 1-week period. All but two DCCs had balanced mechanical ventilation system, which could explain the low CO2 levels measured. The mean concentration of CO2 was 643 ppm, exceeding 1000 ppm in only one DCC. A statistically significant inverse relationship between the number of sick days and ACR measured with the decay method was found for crude and adjusted analysis, with a 12% decrease in number of sick days per hour increase in ACR measured with the decay method. This study suggests a relationship between sick leave among nursery children and ventilation in DCCs, as measured with the decay method.

Keywords: Absenteeism; Air change rate; Carbon dioxide; Child care; Decay; Perfluorocarbon tracer gas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Day Care Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data
  • Ventilation / statistics & numerical data*