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Child Care Health Dev. 2000 Nov;26(6):471-85.

Comparison between two common methods for reporting cold and diarrhoea symptoms of children in daycare centre research.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montréal, Canada.



The increasing number of children attending day care centres (DCCs) in industrialized countries has refocused attention on the occurrence of infections and infectious diseases in these settings.


To evaluate the agreement between two methods (parent method vs. educator method) for reporting the occurrence of respiratory and diarrhoeal infections.


Fifty-two DCCs in Quebec, Canada, participated. Both educators and parents were invited to fill in calendars on which they would indicate the occurrence of colds and diarrhoea. For the parents' method, parents were telephoned biweekly to record their calendar information. For the educators' method, educators returned their calendar pages monthly (following prompting by phone, when necessary).


Three hundred and thirty-three parents of toddlers participated in the 15-month reporting period between September 1996 and November 1997. The average agreement between the two methods was low (13.5% for colds and 9.8% for diarrhoea). Overall estimates of the incidence rates of respiratory and diarrhoeal infections based on parents' method were higher than those based on educators' method.


Parents' data lead to larger estimations of incidence rates and are probably more valid than educators' data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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