Optimising decision making on illness absenteeism due to fever and common infections within childcare centres: development of a multicomponent intervention and study protocol of a cluster randomised controlled trial

K K B Peetoom*, R Crutzen, J M H A Bohnen, R Verhoeven, H J M G Nelissen-Vrancken, B Winkens, G J Dinant, J W L Cals

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Evidence has shown that children 0-4 year-old attending childcare are prone to acquire infections compared to children cared for at home, with fever being the most common symptom. Illness absenteeism due to fever and common infections is substantial and mostly driven by unrealistic concerns and negative attitude towards fever of both childcare staff and parents, resulting in illness absenteeism from childcare, work absenteeism among parents and healthcare service use. The objective of this study is to optimise decision making among childcare staff on illness absenteeism due to fever and common infections in childcare. Underlying determinants of behavioural change were targeted by means of a multicomponent intervention.

METHODS: A multicomponent intervention was developed to improve decision making, using the stepwise approach of Intervention Mapping, and in close collaboration with stakeholders and experts. The intervention consisted of 1) a two-hour educational session on fever among childcare staff; 2) an online video for childcare staff and parents emphasising key information of the educational session; 3) a decision tool for childcare staff and parents in the format of a traffic light system to estimate the severity of illness and corresponding advices for childcare staff and parents; 4) an information booklet regarding childhood fever, common infections, and self-management strategies for childcare staff and parents. The multicomponent intervention will be evaluated in a cluster randomised trial with a 12-week follow-up period and absenteeism due to illness (defined as the percentage of childcare days absent due to illness on the total of childcare days during a 12-week period) as primary outcome measure. Secondary outcome measures are: incidence rate and duration of illness episodes, knowledge, attitude, self-efficacy, and risk perception on fever and common infections of childcare staff and parents, healthcare service use in general and paracetamol use, and work absenteeism of parents.

DISCUSSION: This study aims to develop a multicomponent intervention and to evaluate to what extent illness absenteeism due to fever and common infections can be affected by implementing a multicomponent intervention addressing decision making and underlying determinants among childcare staff and parents of children attending daycare.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NTR6402 (registered on 21-apr-2017).

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2017


  • Journal Article
  • Fever
  • Childcare centres
  • Common infections
  • Illness absenteeism
  • Intervention mapping

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