Toddlers attending large day-care centers are more likely to contract serious respiratory infections than are youngsters cared for at home or in small day-care homes, government scientists have found.

Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control, Emory University and the Georgia public health department in Atlanta recently compared the histories of more than 100 children age 2 or younger hospitalized for lower respiratory tract infections with those of about 200 healthy children."The suggestion made by our study and other studies was that for children under 2 years of age, care outside of the home is an important factor for acquiring lower respiratory tract illness, as well as other infectious diseases, and that this risk can be reduced by using a day-care home instead of a day-care center" where more than six children are cared for, the researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics.