One thousand and thirty-one singleton children of teenage mothers were compared with 10 950 singleton children of older mothers in a national longitudinal cohort study. Children born to teenage mothers and living with them during the first 5 years were more liable to hospital admissions, especially after accidents and for gastroenteritis, than were children born to and living with older mothers. Frequent accidents, poisoning, burns, and superficial injuries or lacerations were more often reported by teenage mothers. The association of teenage mothering with greater likelihood that children would have accidents or be admitted to hospital remained highly significant even after controlling for social and biological confounding influences. Although in part a marker for adverse socioeconomic circumstances, low maternal age appears to be a health hazard for children.
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