Assuming families have the option to provide child care for babies either at home (1-on-1) or at the nursery (in groups of 10-15 babies), which option is a better strategy from the point of view of the child's immune health in later life? Assume for the purposes of this question that the baby is vaccinated according to current Western immunisation programmes.

Conventional parenting wisdom holds it that sending a child to the nursery from the earliest acceptable age, e.g. 1 year, just means parents will have them home sick more times, until they reach kindergarten age, relative to the scenario of providing one-on-one daycare and enrolling them in kindergarten only later, e.g. at 3 years.

In other words, are the infections caught between roughly 1-3 years of age "a necessary evil" that is best lived sooner rather than later, in the sense of hastening the development of various antibodies and of the immune system in general? Or are such infections best avoided if 1:1 childcare is available, since the child's immunity will have plenty of opportunity to develop in later schooling (and it isn't too late for those to develop at that time)?

Research that either confirms or refutes this intuition is hard to find.

  • 1
    Are you aware of the wave of RSV infections afflicting school-age children at this time? They went two years schooling from home and having no physical interaction with other children. Now that masks are off and they're back in school, they've all got RSV all of a sudden and they're swamping pediatricians. Since your question lacks prior research, you might want to look into that.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jan 19 at 4:39
  • I was of course aware of this but my question was more general, i.e. the same dilemma can well apply in future years when the RSV wave might not necessarily remain an ongoing crisis. So your abrasive comment about whether I've done prior research or not comes across as pretty aggressive and out of place, I'm afraid.
    – z8080
    Jan 20 at 8:45
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    My other option was to simply close your question without comment. I was trying to give you a chance to improve it. Prior research is a requirement here.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jan 20 at 14:43
  • Alright then, I will think of a way to incorporate and acknowledge the RSV reality into my question.
    – z8080
    Jan 21 at 12:14
  • You don't have to incorporate RSV into the question. I just offered that as a possible model of what you're asking about. You just need to show that you attempted to find the answer yourself by whatever means you used. For example, can you find support for the things you say in your second paragraph?
    – Carey Gregory
    Jan 21 at 16:41


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