Globalization has transformed the workplace at the same time that increasing numbers of children live in families in which all adults work for pay outside the home. Extensive research evidence demonstrates the importance of parental involvement in the early years of a child's life. Yet, parents caring for young children may face challenges in fulfilling both work and family responsibilities under current labor force conditions. In this article, we review the evidence on the importance of parental care for meeting young children's routine care needs, preventive health care needs, and curative medical treatment requirements. We examine the evidence regarding the impact of four policies in particular on young children's health and development: parental leave, breastfeeding breaks, early childhood care and education, and leave for children's health needs. Last, we examine the availability of these policies worldwide and discuss the potential economic implications.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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