Article Text

other Versions

Does childcare influence socio-economic inequalities in unintentional injury? Findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study
  1. Anna Pearce1,*,
  2. Leah Li1,
  3. Jake Abbas2,
  4. Brian Ferguson2,
  5. Hilary Graham3,
  6. Catherine Law1
  1. 1 UCL Institute of Child Health, United Kingdom;
  2. 2 York and Humberside Public Health Observatory, United Kingdom;
  3. 3 University of York, United Kingdom
  1. Correspondence to: Anna Pearce, UCL Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1EH, United Kingdom; a.pearce{at}


Background: In recent decades the proportion of infants and young children being cared for in childcare has increased. Little is known about the impact that non-parental care has on childhood unintentional injury and whether this varies by socio-economic group.

Methods: Using data from a contemporary UK cohort of children at age 9 months (N=18,114) and 3 years (N=13,718), we used Poisson regression to explore the association between childcare type (parental, informal, formal) and the risk of unintentional injury, overall and by socio-economic group.

Results: At age 9 months there was no overall association between childcare and injury. However, when stratifying the analyses, infants from higher socio-economic groups were less likely to be injured if they were cared for in formal childcare (compared to being cared for only by a parent), whereas those from lower social groups were more likely to be injured. At age 3 years informal childcare was associated with an increased risk of injury overall; in the stratified analyses this increased risk occurred only in less affluent groups. Formal childcare was no longer associated with injury at age 3 in any strata.

Conclusions: Previous findings have shown that childcare can have a positive influence on childhood injury; however, a recent UNICEF report highlighted that a lack of access to high quality childcare could lead to a widening of inequalities. Our analyses indicate that childcare does have the potential to widen inequalities in injury; further research is required to understand why childcare has a differential impact on unintentional injury and how this might be prevented.

Statistics from


    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.