Parents Seeking Childcare Centers That Mandate Full Vaccination

Few things are more important to parents of young children than their health. When new parents are shopping for daycare or childcare centers, they are likely to consider a number of factors, including the steps owners take to maintain a healthy environment. A new University of Michigan poll from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital reveals that childcare centers which are vigilant about requiring up-​to-​date vaccinations are more attractive to parents.

Most parents agree that all children in daycare centers should be vaccinated, and that daycare providers should be checking vaccine records every year, according to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

All states require vaccines for children who attend daycare, but those requirements may not include every vaccine from birth to age 5 years. As a result, some children still don't receive all recommended vaccines—leaving daycare providers and parents to decide how to handle the situation of a child who is not up-​to-​date on vaccines.

In this national sample of parents of children between 0–5 years, most indicate that daycare providers should review children's immunization status every year to ensure they are up-​to-​date (52 percent strongly agree, 22 percent agree).

"Results of this poll indicate that most parents want strong policies around making sure children in daycare are up-​to-​date on vaccines," says Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., associate director of the National Poll on Children's Health and associate research scientist in the University of Michigan Department of Pediatrics. "Checking vaccination records every year is beyond the scope of many state requirements, and may represent a significant change in practice at many daycares."

The poll gave parents a scenario where 1 in 4 children in their daycare center were not up-​to-​date on vaccines. In response to this scenario, 74 percent of parents would consider removing their own child from the daycare.

"This scenario mirrors the national statistics that show approximately 25 percent of preschool children in the United States are not fully vaccinated," says Clark. "Parents may not realize that so many children are not up-​to-​date; in some daycares, this scenario is a reality."

When asked about how daycare centers should deal with a child who is not up-​to-​date on vaccines, 41 percent of parents support excluding the child until all vaccines are received; 28 percent would allow a grace period to get the child vaccinated, and 21 percent would insist that the parents seek a waiver from the child's doctor. Only 1 in 10 parents would support allowing a child to attend daycare regardless of not being up-​to-​date on vaccines.

Two-​thirds of parents indicate they should be informed of the number of children at their daycare center who are not up-​to-​date on vaccines. But only 25 percent of parents believe they should receive the names of children who are not up-​to-​date on vaccines.

"Our poll finding that parents want to know the number of children lacking vaccines makes sense," says Clark. "That information might help parents understand the risk that their child could contract a vaccine-​preventable disease – or transmit the disease to a vulnerable family member, such as a person with cancer.

"The bottom line is this poll shows that parents of young children have real concerns about whether vaccination standards are upheld in the daycare setting. Parents should feel empowered to ask about daycare vaccination policies, such as how the daycare handles the situation of children who are not up-​to-​date, and whether they check children's vaccination status every year."

Childcare centers have an opportunity to promote themselves as stringent on the topic of vaccinations. At least 24% of likely childcare clients strongly agree that they don't mind paying more for quality services and products and this likely includes daycare. As many of these consumers are parents of children under the age of 10, other family-​focused marketers may want to promote to them. These marketers should know that likely childcare clients over-​index for taking family-​friendly vacations. About 55.3% plan to visit a zoo in the next year and 48% will go to an amusement park. AudienceSCAN data shows that 43% of these consumers took action as a result of a daily deal in the past 30 days. Marketers targeting this audience may want to look into using Groupon or LivingSocial as part of their promotional packages.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.