In the study, the researchers found that having a grandmother watch a child was associated with a decreased risk of injury for the child, compared to organized daycare or care by the mother or other relatives.
This is the first study to examine the relationship between grandparents' care and childhood injury rates.
"Recent growth in the number of grandparents providing childcare has some observers concerned they don't adhere to modern safety practices," said lead study author David Bishai, MD, PhD, MPH, a professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health.
"To the contrary, this research tells us not only is there no evidence to support this assumption, but families that choose grandparents to care for their children experience fewer child injuries," he added.
For the study, Bishai and colleagues analyzed data from the National Evaluation of the Healthy Steps for Young Children Program, which includes information on over 5,500 newborns enrolled in 15 U.S. cities in 1996-97 with follow-up for 30-33 months.
The study is published in the November 2008 issue of Pediatrics.