BACKGROUND: Children in child care centers represent an important population to consider in attempts to mitigate the spread of an influenza pandemic. This national survey, conducted in 2008 and 2016, assessed directors’ reports of their child care centers’ pandemic influenza preparation before and after the 2009 H1N1 novel influenza pandemic.
METHODS: This was a telephone-based survey of child care center directors randomly selected from a national database of licensed US child care centers who were queried about their preparedness for pandemic influenza. We grouped conceptually related items in 6 domains into indexes: general infection control, communication, seasonal influenza control, use of health consultants, quality of child care, and perceived barriers. These indexes, along with other center and director characteristics, were used to predict pandemic influenza preparedness.
RESULTS: Among 1500 and 518 child care center directors surveyed in 2008 and 2016, respectively, preparation for pandemic influenza was low and did not improve. Only 7% of directors had taken concrete actions to prepare their centers. Having served as a center director during the 2009 influenza pandemic did not influence preparedness. After adjusting for covariates, child care health consultation and years of director’s experience were positively associated with pandemic influenza preparation, whereas experiencing perceived barriers such as lack of knowing what to do in the event of pandemic influenza, was negatively associated with pandemic influenza preparedness.
CONCLUSIONS: Pandemic influenza preparedness of child care center’s directors needs to improve. Child care health consultants are likely to be important collaborators in addressing this problem.
- Accepted March 6, 2017.
- Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics