Many extant studies on the use of non-parental child care are based on data from the youngest child in the household. To date, it has not been addressed whether this approach introduces bias. We present reasons why child care arrangements for youngest children may differ from those of same-age older children and examine whether the use of child care, type of arrangement, and use of care in combination with mother's employment differ for youngest versus middle/oldest toddlers and preschoolers with data from the 1999 National Household Education Survey. We find that youngest preschoolers are more likely to attend child care on a regular basis than middle/oldest preschoolers. Further, youngest toddlers and preschoolers are more likely than middle/oldest toddlers and preschoolers to have an employed mother. How families combine the use of child care and maternal employment differs by birth order. Controlling for other child and household characteristics does not explain these differences. Differences in the types of care arrangements used for youngest versus middle/oldest toddlers and preschoolers in non-parental care do not reach statistical significance.
- Birth order
- Child care
- Maternal employment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science