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The quality of care offered in four different types of non-parental child care to 307 infants at 10 months old and 331 infants at 18 months old was compared and factors associated with higher quality were identified. Observed quality was lowest in nurseries at each age point, except that at 18 months they offered more learning activities. There were few differences in the observed quality of care by child-minders, grandparents and nannies, although grandparents had somewhat lower safety and health scores and offered children fewer activities. Cost was largely unrelated to quality of care except in child-minding, where higher cost was associated with higher quality. Observed ratios of children to adults had a significant impact on quality of nursery care; the more infants or toddlers each adult had to care for, the lower the quality of the care she gave them. Mothers' overall satisfaction with their child's care was positively associated with its quality for home-based care but not for nursery settings. © 2008 Taylor & Francis.

Original publication




Journal article


Early Child Development and Care

Publication Date





177 - 209