TORONTO -- Twelve thousand children and youth under the age of 17 were readmitted to hospital within a month of receiving treatment in Canada last year.

Most pediatric readmissions were due to a respiratory illness, according to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

The report says the top three reasons for readmission were pneumonia and respiratory tract infections, digestive conditions and surgical complications.

“It’s not surprising and it’s not alarming,” Dr. Dina Kulik said on CTV’s Your Morning Thursday. “Twelve thousand seems like such a big number but it was out of 170,000 kids so we’re talking a 7 per cent readmission rate.”

Kulik explained that children’s health is “not super predictable” and that the litany of reasons for readmission can be anything from developing a fever, stomach pain or not tolerating pain medicine or antibiotics.

Kulik said that there are “lots of emotional and social reasons” as to why it is so stressful to have a child readmitted to hospital outside of medical reasons.

“If you then have to take off more time off of work, more time off of school, financially it’s expensive if you’re not working to pay to stay near the hospital, paying for parking -- there’s lots that’s complicated for families when you’re readmitted,” she said.

Kulik said that seeing your primary care physician or pediatrician after a hospital stay can help cut down on readmission, along with things like making sure your child is vaccinated, has their flu shots and is regularly washing their hands.

CIHI also provides an interactive tool that allows Canadians to “explore [their] health system” to better understand the factors that affect their community’s access to health care, such as emergency room wait times, readmission rates and expenses – factors that affect pediatric patients as well.

“If you stay on top of those things, ideally they’re going to keep getting better,” she said, but acknowledged that exposure to viruses is difficult to prevent, and that parents cannot keep their children in “bubbles.”