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Children in Day Care Likely Exposed to More Television

Study finds excessive exposure especially likely in home-based child care settings

MONDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In preschool-aged children enrolled in child care settings, previous estimates of daily television exposure may have underestimated actual viewing time, according to a study published online Nov. 23 in Pediatrics.

Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and a colleague surveyed licensed child care programs in Michigan, Washington, Florida and Massachusetts.

The researchers found that children in home-based child care programs were exposed to significantly more daily television than children in center-based programs (0.2 versus 0 hours for infants, 1.6 hours versus 0.1 hours for toddlers, and 2.4 versus 0.4 hours for preschoolers), equating to an average of 1.84 more hours of exposure per day. They also found that home-based programs run by staff with a two- or four-year college degree were associated with 1.41 fewer hours of television per day.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics statement in 1999 urged that television use be minimized for young infants and children; our data suggest that clinicians must encourage parents to engage their children's caregivers about screen time outside the home as well," the authors write.

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