Parents have reported feeling forced to seek antibiotic treatment for their children so they can continue to attend day-care, regardless of whether they actually require the treatment, researchers said.
Many reported that day-care providers set strict policies – sometimes in writing – compelling parents to seek antibiotic treatments so their children will be allowed back.
The study, conducted in south-east Wales, interviewed parents of preschool children and day-care providers.
Unnecessary GP consultations
The authors warned this could result in unnecessary GP consultations and put pressure on GPs to prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily, adding to growing antibiotic-resistance problems.
More than half of parents said they had visited a GP and received antibiotics for their child when they were excluded from day-care due to illness.
Half of these parents admitted that they had sought antibiotics solely to enable their children to be readmitted to day-care.
Many reported that day-care providers would only allow them to readmit their children if they could show that they were taking antibiotics, regardless of whether the symptoms of illness persisted.
Preschool-aged children are the highest consumers of antibiotics, despite the fact that they consult mainly for viral infections.
Parents advised to demand antibiotics
The authors also sent out a survey to over 300 day-care providers, such as nursery managers and childminders, of which 217 replied.
Two out of five day-care providers said that they had recommended parents to seek antibiotics when children under their care were ill.
The study also revealed that 93% of day-care providers have advised parents to take their children to visit their GP if they appeared to be ill.
Follow-up interviews confirmed that such advice was routine, and beliefs about antibiotic indications among day-care providers was often poorly understood or went against clinical guidelines.
The authors of the study, which was published in the British Journal of General Practice, said: ‘Day-care providers encourage parents to consult general practice and seek antibiotics through non-evidence-based policies and practices.’