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August 1987

Reduced Prevalence of Abuse in Low-Birth-Weight Survivors

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics St Joseph's Hospital 268 Grosvenor St London, Ontario N6A 4V2 Patrick Holland, CQSW Family & Children's Services of London & Middlesex 164 Albert St London, Ontario NSA 4Z5

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(8):832-833. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460080018013

Sir.—For neonatologists and those involved in developmental surveillance of low-birth-weight survivors, the possibility that infants may graduate from intensive care units only to experience abuse in the home, or that outcome measures may be contaminated by consequences of abuse, ranging from emotionally determined behavior disorders to acquired cerebral palsy, remain constant concerns. The past impression that low-birth-weight infants formed a grossly excessive proportion of the total population of abused children, some studies suggesting rates up to 25%, has been shown to stem from methodologic inadequacies.1 Employing a rigorous case-control technique, Leventhal et al2 reported in the November 1984 issue of AJDC a study of 117 case-control pairs in which no relationship was found between either prematurity or low birth weight and child abuse.

Our facility, St Joseph's Hospital, London, Ontario, is a regional tertiary perinatal center that provides care for all infants born weighing less than 1500