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01.12.2018 | Study protocol | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2018

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

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2018
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
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12889-017-4602-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
An erratum to this article is available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12889-017-4709-6.



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.


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.


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).
Additional file 1: Performance objectives regarding four behavioral determinants in decision making on illness absenteeism: knowledge, attitude, self-efficacy and risk perception. (DOCX 23 kb)
Additional file 2: Theory-based methods to target four behavioral determinants in decision making on illness absenteeism: knowledge, attitude, self-efficacy and risk perception. (DOCX 21 kb)
Additional file 3: Format of registration booklet on illness absenteeism. (DOCX 24 kb)
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