Are your kids coming home sick from daycare? Check the IAQ

Are your kids coming home sick from daycare? Check the IAQ


Henry Ukpeh, a pediatrician in Peterborough, Ontario, confirms that it’s normal for toddlers starting group child care to develop as many as 8 to 12 colds within the first year. This is because daycares are “the perfect environment for the transmission of viruses,” he says.

To prevent our kiddies from constantly coming home sick, we need to stop germs from spreading.  Teachers and caretakers do their due diligence by regularly sanitizing toys and cleaning the surrounding environment, but these actions target diseases that are transmitted through direct contact or spread through contact with contaminated surfaces. Respiratory viruses, however, spread from person-to-person by droplets that come from coughing and sneezing. Airborne particles from an infected person can move throughout an indoor space and linger in the air after a person has left the space. In some cases, they can also remain airborne for hours.

Concerns about indoor air quality at daycares are not limited to parents of young children. Caretakers, teachers, and staff also express concerns about the risks to children’s health and well-being posed by air pollution. According to a 2022 survey conducted by the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE) and the Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF), nearly half of childcare respondents (48.5%) felt that there were unhealthy conditions in the childcare setting where they were working.

When asked about specific factors for their concern, the top responses from childcare workers were as follows:

  • 32.9% Windows that cannot be opened in rooms where children spend time
  • 30.6% Peeling paint on walls, woodwork or other surfaces
  • 30.4% Basement area(s) where children spend time
  • 28.8% Noticeable air pollution or fumes

64.4% of respondents were concerned about poor indoor air quality and when asked if measures have been taken to increase ventilation or improve the air quality since the start of the COVID pandemic, 46.3% indicated that measures had been taken.

  • 67.2% opened windows more frequently
  • 52.7% used portable air cleaners (e.g., devices with HEPA filters)
  • 41.3% increased ventilation using the building’s existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system
  • 32.4% increased filtration in the existing HVAC system
  • 23.2% used fans to bring in more fresh air
  • 11.8% used ‘fogging’ devices that propel disinfecting/sanitizing chemicals into the air
  • 10.6% installed a new HVAC system
  • 6.7% used ozone air purifiers
  • 6.0% used handheld UV sanitizers (e.g., for toys)
  • 5.1% used ultraviolet (UV) sanitizer boxes

The survey results show actions are being taken to improve indoor air quality. However, accurate information on safe and effective measures is not reaching practitioners, proven by how nearly one in twelve respondents (6.7%) reported the use of ozone air purifiers, devices for which Health Canada issued an interim order in 2021 to avoid use due to health risks. Similarly, 12% of respondents reported use of “fogging” devices that propel disinfecting/sanitizing chemicals into the air, a practice that can increase inhalation of such chemicals by children and staff.

Getting kids to wear sweaters will keep them warm. Opting for vaccines will protect them against some diseases. Getting scientifically proven medical-grade air filtration systems into daycare centers will maintain clean indoor air quality and protect them against airborne viruses.

DFS technology is the latest breakthrough in air purification proven to eliminate up to 99.99% of air pollutants contaminating indoor air quality. DFS outperforms standard HEPA air filters that many Canadian school boards and daycares have installed. While HEPA filters are typically efficient at capturing particles down to 0.3 microns in size, Intellipure’s patented DFS technology captures ultrafine particles as small as 0.007 microns! For reference, COVID-19 is 0.125 microns. This makes DFS technology the most-efficient air purification system for capturing dust, pet dander, CO2, smoke and viruses like COVID-19.

DFS air filtration can be installed with a plug-in portable air purifier added to your existing HVAC system. If you have any questions about how DFS technology can be integrated into your space, reach out to us.