We analyse the role of childcare for immediate and medium run health outcomes of children whose parents are unemployed. We estimate causal effects on health by exploiting time variation in childcare access in Swedish municipalities. According to our findings, access to childcare temporarily increases infection-related hospitalization for 4-6 year olds. This finding is mainly driven by children to low-educated mothers. For toddlers, aged 1-3, we find no immediate effects of access to childcare. In the medium run, when children are 10-11 years old, having not had access to childcare when parents were unemployed makes children less likely to be prescribed drugs for mental health problems such as ADHD-medicine. The effect is larger the younger the child was when exposed to parental unemployment and are driven by children with mothers with upper secondary or higher education. Our results hence suggest that the alternative mode of care to childcare and exposure age matter for the effects of childcare on mental health.