Many working carers rely on daycare for day time child supervision and the pressures are high to send children even when ‘borderline’ or marginally unwell.  This may in part be responsible for high transmission rates of infectious illnesses such as sore throats, coughs, colds as well as more serious illnesses such as bronchiolitis. This may be especially true in younger children with no sense of the importance of personal hygiene and methods to prevent transmission of infections.

Higher levels of self or daycare facility imposed quarantining could reduce levels of illness, benefiting all carers and children, but it is not clear whether carers would be willing to sign up to such practices for the benefit of the wider community and thereby themselves.

This research will be the first to examine what factors are important to carers when considering sending their unwell child to daycare. With a growing financial pressure on carers to be in work, there is real concern about what impact this has on daycare for their children. The transmission of infectious illnesses via children is well known and this has the potential to also affect the wider community.  Yet what is unknown is whether carers are aware of the potential impact their unwell child has on others, and whether this is considered and/or influential in their decision making. This study will help to understand whether carers are willing to consider actions that benefit both themselves and the wider community by keeping unwell children away from daycare facilities, and whether this is a realistic option for their circumstances.

Reducing the transmission of illnesses among children and the wider community is an important issue with consequences for general practitioners and the wider NHS in terms of the cost implications of reducing transmission. 

This is a mixed methods study employing both qualitative interviews and quantitative choice modelling techniques.

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