American families are changing; more parents are working, and most young children are being cared for in some form of child care.1 To promote optimal child health and development, pediatricians should work not only with parents, but also with other caregivers, agencies, and organizations that are part of the child's and family's support system. This statement discusses the roles pediatricians should play in the care of infants and young children enrolled in early childhood education and child care settings.
Beginning at the prenatal visit and at each subsequent visit, the pediatrician should review the plans and arrangements that parents may have made for alternative care of their children. The child's adaptation to these arrangements should be reviewed.2 The pediatrician should discuss with parents how they are balancing their work and family life. As a trusted family advisor, the pediatrician can help parents identify, evaluate, and choose among their child care options.
Adjusting Work and Schedules and Getting Help From Employers
When both parents work, they can sometimes coordinate their work hours to share the child's care or make arrangements with their employers to provide some child care at the work site. One or both parents might be able to arrange for part-time work while the children are very young. Some parents may want to share care with another family by staggering work and child care hours. Some families have relatives who are able and willing to provide good-quality, low-cost child care. One or both parents may be eligible for financial help from their employers for child care in community facilities.
- Copyright © 1993 by the American Academy of Pediatrics