Babies who spend more than 10 hours in day care may have chronic “stress and future illnesses”

in News · 08-08-2020 16:00:00 · 2 Comments

Pedopsychiatrist Pedro Caldeira da Silva warns that babies and children who spend, on average, 10 to 12 hours in daycare centres and kindergartens can suffer from chronic stress that can cause diseases in adults such as hypertension or cancer.

Portugal “is one of the European Union countries where our babies spend the most hours a day, between 10 and 12 hours on average, in a group situation, being cared for by others in daycare centres”, he said in an interview with the Lusa agency.

For the paediatrician, it is necessary to think about this situation in terms of chronic 'stress': “A baby who is in a group situation for so many hours, every day, has a high level of 'stress' repeatedly”.

There are studies related to chronic 'stress' show that “this exposure to 'stress' is toxic to the brain and that it is later associated with a set of diseases of adults”, which “are of great concern” such as hypertension, stroke, cancer, diabetes, says the team leader of the Early Childhood Unit of Hospital D. Estefânia, which is part of the Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Central.

For Pedro Caldeira, “very young children do not need to be kept in a group, despite handling it”. However, they should not be in this situation for many hours because they have fewer opportunities for “one-to-one interaction” and have to adapt “to a set of environmental situations other than those for which babies are programmed”.

Regarding the ideal age at which children should attend daycare, he argues that, in general, they do not need to go before 3 years old.

“Of course, there are children who go to the daycare centres and have opportunities for stimulation that sometimes families cannot provide”, but in general, daycare centres are more useful for parents than for children, because the adults need to work and do not have other options but to put their children in a daycare centre.

In his view, it is “very important” to distinguish what is the child's experience from what are the ideas of adults.


Even if the daycares were well equipped and financed, the results would be the same. The point is, the very young are separated from their parents when nurturing and bonding are needed, hence stress to the child.

By William from Other on 11-08-2020 09:55

I couldn't agree with Pedro any more.

Unfortunately, we are 'slaves to the Space rythm' so people are forced/driven to dump they're children in poorly equiped/financed kindergartens to keep food on the table.

Love Steve

By Love Steve from Alentejo on 09-08-2020 09:16
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