⚠ COVID-19 INFORMATION: Vaccine Information, Other Resources 

Past Reports

You can browse the topics of our previous reports below, and click on a topic to view the full report.

Chicago Parents Are Still Dealing with Stress From the Ongoing Pandemic

June 23, 2022

During the past two years, Chicago parents and families have faced new challenges and heightened levels of unpredictability due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America Survey of March 2021, 1 nearly half of parents (48%) said the level of stress in their life has increased compared with before the pandemic. Another study revealed 70% of mothers and 54% of fathers felt overwhelmed in the past two weeks due to the pandemic. In this month’s Voices of Child Health in Chicago Report, we provide insight on parental stress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Parental Concerns about Climate Change

April 21, 2022

As Earth Day approaches on April 22, our April 2022 Voices of Child Health in Chicago report provides insight into Chicago parents’ concerns about climate change. Chicago experiences climate-related weather events as well as rising water levels, which have the potential to affect more than 1 million children living in the city. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, rising temperatures and decreased air quality affect kids by increasing the risk of asthma and allergies, worsening pregnancy outcomes and creating food insecurity. The 2020 State of Global Air reported that air pollution accounts for 20% of newborn deaths worldwide. From a mental health perspective, extreme weather events caused by climate change patterns can cause children to experience major trauma from enduring events such as wildfires or intense storms.

Climate change is documented to already be affecting human health and well-being. Despite this, little is known about parental concerns about climate change and their family’s future.

Update on Youth COVID-19 Vaccines in Chicago

March 03, 2022

Public opinion about COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States is constantly changing, with experts relying on vaccines as the main line of defense against the ongoing pandemic. According to the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 Dashboard, as of February 2022, 69% of the population had completed the vaccine series. In Chicago, 41% of children 5–11 years old have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with about 51% receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of February 2022. The authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for 6-month-old to 4-year-old children may be forthcoming in Spring 2022 pending review of trial data and Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. Since the authorization of vaccines for children 5 years and older last year, parent perspectives have been varied — many have felt confident vaccinating their children, while some remain hesitant or unsure about the vaccine. Healthcare providers have been working to hear and address parents’ concerns by discussing the importance of the protection vaccines offer as well as the strong safety data for the available COVID-19 vaccines.

Infant Sleep Practices

January 25, 2022

Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is the term used to describe the death of an infant who is less than 1 year old in which the cause of death was not obvious before investigation. SUID often occurs in the baby’s sleep area and includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The most current data (2014–18) reveal that 42% of infant deaths are now attributed to SUID. Almost 3,500 infants die from SUID in the United States each year, an average of nine babies every day. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks these numbers and there has been no decline in SUID rates in over two decades. Nationally, rates of SUID demonstrate significant racial and ethnic disparities with American Indian/Alaska Native and non-Hispanic Black infants experiencing 2x the rate of SUID compared to non-Hispanic White infants.

Continuing Pandemic and Worsening Stress: Behavioral Health for Chicago's Children

December 15, 2020

As we approach the end of 2021, the second calendar year that the nation and world have grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to check in on the status of youth mental health in Chicago to provide an update to our March 2021 Voices of Child Health in Chicago report. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, one in five U.S. children experienced a mental health condition each year according to Sound the Alarm for Kids, a program to educate on the child and teen mental health crisis presented by the Children’s Hospital Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Top 10 Youth Social Problems in Chicago in 2020

November 20, 2021

Chicago youth have dealt with ongoing social challenges that have continued to shape their daily interactions and experiences over the past 20 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn what social issues Chicago adults were most concerned about for youth in the city, we teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2020 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. We asked adults, including parents and non-parents, from all 77 community areas in Chicago which social issues they considered to be “big problems” for all children and adolescents in Chicago — not just for their own kids.

Some of the top social concerns identified by adults were connected to violence (e.g., gun violence, violence in schools), others were connected to inequity (e.g., racial disparities in health, racism) and others included social determinants of health (e.g., poverty, lack of job opportunities). In this report, we share the “Top 10” social issues facing youth in Chicago identified by Chicago adults.

Parent Attitudes About COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

October 4, 2021

With recent surges of COVID-19 infections in Chicago and across the country, new variants of the COVID-19 virus that are more infectious and the potential for rise of new variants, some employers and schools have mandated COVID-19 vaccines. In this month’s Voices of Child Health in Chicago Report, we examine parents’ attitudes about requiring vaccines against COVID-19 in different contexts. We asked 1,620 Chicago parents from all 77 community areas in the city about their thoughts about requiring the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as questions about themselves and their families.

Top 10 Youth (non-COVID-19) Health Problems

September 14, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago youth have dealt with new mental and physical health challenges over the past 18 months. Children and adolescents in Chicago continue to face many health challenges that existed before the pandemic, and that may be worsened by the pandemic. To learn what health issues besides COVID-19 Chicago adults were most concerned about for youth in the city, we teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2020 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. We asked adults from all 77 community areas in Chicago which non-COVID-19-related health problems they considered to be “big problems” for all children and adolescents in Chicago — not just for their own kids.

Firearm Safety, Gun Violence and Chicago Families

August 05, 2021

Chicago has seen continuing firearm violence, with over 2,000 shooting victims so far in 2021. The epidemic of firearm violence impacts children across the state, as it remains the number one cause of death in children and youth across Illinois. In some of our previous reports, Chicago parents identified gun violence as their top social concern for kids in the city, and in recent years, they reported it was the main social problem getting worse the fastest for Chicago youth.

Swimming and Water Safety For Chicago Families

June 16, 2021

Everyday Experiences of Discrimination Among Chicago Parents

May 13, 2021

Discrimination in general, and racism specifically, have profound negative effects on health, for adults and children alike. The impact of discrimination has come into sharp focus over the last year as the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the effects of systemic racism on health.

Even before the pandemic, for the past two years, Chicago parents identified discrimination and racism as top social concerns for youth in Chicago. In this month’s Voices of Child Health in Chicago report, we focus on parents’ own experiences of “everyday discrimination,” defined as unfair treatment that is chronic, routine and occurs in everyday life. We asked over 1,500 Chicago parents from all 77 community areas in the city about their experiences with everyday discrimination, as well as other family demographic and health questions.

Youth Mental Health in Chicago During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 01, 2021

Parents, clinicians and the public have been concerned about the impact of the pandemic on youth mental and behavioral health. Children and parents in the United States have reported worsening behavioral health since the pandemic started in March 2020. Here in Chicago, hospitals have reported that emergency department visits and hospitalizations for mental health concerns have increased substantially during the pandemic, as have requests for youth psychiatric services. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago parents listed mental health issues as their top concerns for youth health for the past two years. Additionally, local data indicate that that the number of mood and depressive disorder hospitalizations for youth and teens has been increasing over the last two decades.

Parenting Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic

February 25, 2021

Parenting — even under normal circumstances — comes with challenges, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents have faced unprecedented challenges raising their families. Heightened concerns about their family’s health, navigating remote learning and remaining socially distant from loved ones and friends are just a few of the challenges parents have faced over the last 11 months. Recent research has shown that the pandemic has been particularly stressful for American parents, who reported feeling significantly higher levels of stress than adults without children. However, parental support may have a protective effect on parental stress during the pandemic.

Parent-Child Communication About Substance Use

February 02, 2021

For this Voices of Child Health in Chicago report, we focus on parents’ communication with their children about substance use. We asked parents questions about youth substance use such as: “Do you have clear rules for your child about alcohol and drug use?”; “In the past year, have you talked with your child about NOT using the following [substances]?”; and, “Do you believe you would know if your child had been doing the following [behaviors]?” We also asked parents questions about their family and their family’s health.

Bullying Prevention and Social Emotional Learning in Childhood and Adolescence

December 29, 2020

Childhood bullying — or peer victimization — is unwanted, repeated behavior directed at a child or group of children causing physical, mental, psychological, emotional and/or spiritual harm. Peer victimization can result in many short- and long-term consequences that affect health, learning and development. To understand and effectively respond to bullying, contextual factors such as peer group dynamics, modern technology and changing societal norms must be considered.

Chicago Parents’ Intentions to Vaccinate their Children Against COVID-19

November 29, 2020

 

Chicago has experienced high case rates of COVID-19, and parents in Chicago have high levels of concern about COVID-19 affecting their families' health. In this report, we explore parents' intentions to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their children if a vaccine becomes available. At the time that parents were surveyed for this report (May-July 2020), COVID-19 vaccines were in testing phases but none were yet approved for use. 

For this report, we asked over 1,600 Chicago parents from all 77 community areas in the city, "How likely would you be to get you and/or your child(ren) vaccinated against coronavirus/COVID-19, if a vaccine were available?" We also asked about their family and their family's health.

Parental Concern and Trusted Health Information During the COVID-19 Pandemic

October 29, 2020

The data in this report come from a newly launched survey project, the Voices of Child Health in Chicago Parent Panel Survey. Through this new project, we are surveying Chicago parents several times each year about health and well-being topics that impact Chicago children and families, and we will release regular reports on these data. For this report, we asked parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago how concerned they were about the COVID-19 pandemic, and how much confidence they have in information about COVID-19 from different sources. We surveyed families from May–July 2020.

How healthy are Chicago parents?

September 30, 2020

Parent health is a topic closely connected to children’s health, and research has shown that when parents are healthier and have healthy habits, their kids tend to be healthier and have healthy habits too. Additionally, in our previous reports we have seen that one of Chicagoans’ top concerns for youth health is how parents’ health may impact their children’s health. That’s why, in this Voices of Child Health in Chicago report, we are diverging from our typical focus on child and adolescent health and instead focusing on parent health. To do this, researchers at Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2018–19 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. to ask parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago about their own health and health-related behaviors.

Data Brief: Chicago Parents' Attitudes about Youth Vaping

September 08, 2020

86% of Chicago parents think state or city government should create policy to prevent youth vaping

In a survey conducted by Voices of Child Health in Chicago at Ann Robert H. Children’s Hospital, 1,642 Chicago parents from all 77 community areas in the City of Chicago were asked about their attitudes on policy to prevent youth vaping. Specifically, parents were asked:

“Do you think the state or city government should create policy to help prevent youth vaping or e-cigarette use?”

Child Vision Testing in Chicago

August 26, 2020

Vision screening in children is a critical tool that aids in early detection of vision problems. Early detection is important because it has been shown to reduce the risk of vision loss at age 7 by 50%. Furthermore, children with undetected vision problems have lower academic performance than children with good vision. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend that starting at age one, children should have visual acuity testing using age appropriate “optotypes” such as pictures, shapes or letters. Children younger than 1 year old should have their vision examined through methods such as external inspection of the eyes and examination of the pupils.

Childhood Asthma in Chicago

July 31, 2020

Nationally, asthma is the third leading cause of preventable hospitalizations for children, and children with asthma miss twice as many schools days as other children. Asthma is also the most common serious chronic disease for infants and children. To examine childhood asthma in Chicago, researchers at Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2018-19 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. to ask parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago whether their children had asthma. 

On Father's Day: Examining Dads' and Kid's Health

June 17, 2020

Fathers play an important role in their children’s lives and research shows that when dads are more involved in caring for their kids, it benefits the whole family. Researchers at Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2018-19 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. to ask dads (34%) and moms (66%)  from all 77 community areas in Chicago about issues related to parenting, youth health, and family health.

Youth Health and Social Problems Getting Worse the Fastest in Chicago

May 20, 2020

In this report, we explore which youth health and social issues parents in Chicago considered to be the problems that were getting worse the fastest. Researchers at Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2018-19 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. to ask parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago about health and social issues facing youth in Chicago.

Child Health Status in Chicago

March 25, 2020

In this Voices of Child Health in Chicago report, we explore child health and how it is associated with factors at the family level, such as parent health, household income, and race and ethnicity, and with factors at the neighborhood level, such as local park use and perceptions of neighborhood safety. To learn more about these topics, researchers at Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2018-19 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. to ask parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago about their children’s health and their own health.

Child and Family Dental Health in Chicago

February 26, 2020

In this report, we examine child dental health as well as parent dental health in Chicago. Researchers at Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2018-19 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. to ask parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago whether their child had a preventive dental visit in the last year, and whether parents themselves had a preventive dental visit.

Children with Special Health Care Needs in Chicago

December 19, 2019

In this report, we explore the issue of children with special healthcare needs in Chicago. Researchers at Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2018–19 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. to ask parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago about their children’s health. Specifically, we asked parents, “Is your child/Are any of your children limited or prevented in any way in his or her/their ability to do the things most children of the same age can do?” We also asked parents questions about their own health.

Chicago Parents Identify the Top 10 Social Issues Affecting Youth 2018-19

December 2, 2019

Children and adolescents in Chicago continue to face many social challenges. In our second wave of data collection, we again asked parents in Chicago which social issues they were most concerned about for youth in the city. To do this, researchers at Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2018-19 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. We asked parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago which social problems they considered to be “big problems” for all children and adolescents in Chicago – not just for their own kids.

Chicago Adults' Concerns about Youth Drug Use

October 28, 2019

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention month. In Chicago, drug use among youth has been a top concern among parents and adults in Chicago in both 2018 and 2019. In this report, we explore this issue in more depth. Researchers at Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2018-19 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. We asked adults whether they considered drug use a “big problem” facing Chicago youth, and if so, what drug they were most concerned about. We also asked adults questions about themselves and their families.

Chicago Adults Identify the Top 10 Health Problems Facing Chicago Youth 2018-2019

September 19, 2019

Last year, the first Voices of Child Health in Chicago report covered the “Top 10” health problems facing Chicago youth as identified by Chicago adults. This year, we asked adults across the city about this topic again, enabling us to explore trends in attitudes about child and adolescent health issues over time. For instance, many of the Top 10 health problems remained the same from 2017-18 to 2018-19, but there were some changes.

The Family Context of Health for Youth

August 26, 2109

In this month’s Voices of Child Health in Chicago report, we examine how parent health is associated with their children’s health, then we explore how factors such as parent health insurance are associated with child health. To learn more about these issues, Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2017-18 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. We asked 1,002 Chicago parents and guardians (referred to here as parents) to report on their own health and the health of their children.

Food Access, Parents' Nutrition and Challenges to Healthy Eating for Kids

July 29, 2019

In this second report in our two part series on challenges to healthy eating for kids, we explore how challenges to healthy eating for kids are connected to family variables and parents’ weight and nutrition. To learn more about these issues, Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago teamed up with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the 2017-18 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr. We asked 1,002 Chicago parents and guardians (referred to here as parents) about challenges to healthy eating for their children. We also asked parents questions about their families and their own health and nutrition.

Challenges to Healthy Eating for Kids

June 14, 2019

June 17 is National Eat Your Vegetables Day. We know that getting kids to eat healthy foods such as vegetables can be a challenge for parents. But promoting healthy nutrition and a healthy lifestyle for children and adolescents is important to prevent childhood obesity and establish healthy habits that last into adulthood. To learn more about challenges to healthy eating for youth in Chicago, Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) teamed up on the 2017-18 Healthy Chicago Survey, J. In this report, we share results about challenges Chicago parents face in getting their children to eat a healthy foods.

Parent Concerns about Bullying and Cyberbullying

April 22, 2019

In the 2017-18 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr., Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) teamed up to learn more about child health in the city. In this report, we share results about parental concern about bullying and cyberbullying in Chicago.

Parental Paid Leave and Youth Health in Chicago

March 25, 2019

In the 2017-18 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr., Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) teamed up to learn more about child health in the city. In this report, we share results about parental paid leave and youth health in Chicago.

Chicago Parents Identify the Top 10 Social Issues Affecting Youth in the City

February 22, 2019

In the 2017-18 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr., Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) teamed up to learn more about child health in the city. Individuals were asked which social issues are "big problems" for children and adolescents in the city—not just their own kids. Here we list the Top 10 social issues for children and adolescents in Chicago, as seen by parents in Chicago. 

Chicago Parents’ Behaviors and Beliefs about their Children’s Flu Vaccinations

January 17, 2019

In the 2017-18 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr., Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) teamed up to learn more about child health in the city. In this report, we share results about parents’ decisions regarding their children’s vaccination against flu.

Adults Across the City Identify the Top 10 Health Problems for Youth in Chicago

December 3, 2018

Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) conducted a telephone survey of 3,310 adult Chicagoans in 2017-2018. Individuals were asked what their biggest concerns were for the health of children in Chicago. Here we list the Top 10 health problems for children and adolescents in Chicago, as seen by the people of the city.