A new study suggests preschoolers are spending a lot more time watching TV in day care than most parents may have thought -- as many as two hours a day.
Washington state researcher and pediatrician Dimitri Christakis says that, when that time is added to the two to three hours many parents already admit to allowing at home, those preschoolers may be spending more than a third of their 12 waking hours in front of the electronic baby sitter.
That's double the TV time Christakis found in a previous study based on parental reports of home viewing.
Of the child care programs surveyed, 70 percent of home-based child care and 36 percent of child-care centers said children watch TV, DVDs and videos daily.
The study did not include passive TV time, when the TV is on in the background but no one is actively watching it. Christakis says that any time a TV is on, children speak less and adults interact with them less frequently. The figures come from a telephone survey of licensed child-care programs in Michigan, Washington, Florida and Massachusetts. The findings are published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.