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Differing Views of Day-Care Dilemma

May 31, 1990

Shari Roan's health article ("RX Lacking in Day-Care Dilemma" (May 22), lacked a crucial point in discussing pediatricians' opinions on how young children are affected by their mothers working. The American Academy of Pediatrics' Working Mother survey results (that 68% of doctors thought it might be harmful for an infant under 6 months to have a full-time working mother) reflect a summary overwhelmed by the opinions of older, male pediatricians.

The breakdown of the opinion of doctors by their age and sex gives more insight. Only about one-third of all doctors under the age of 40 had concerns about children under 6 months whose mothers worked full time, while 71% of those doctors over age 60 were concerned. About half of female doctors of all ages, and 77% of male doctors, were concerned for children under 6 months.

Clearly, a family that has to make hard decisions regarding child care will try to use information from surveys such as these. Shari Roan has done an excellent job of displaying the controversy and need for further study. But we must let the decision be balanced by knowing whose opinion we're hearing.

DEBRA JUDELSON, M.D.

Los Angeles

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