This paper addresses an important pre-requisite for promoting child health; namely the promotion of sound child development.
The study aimed at identifying factors affecting child development in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
A cross-sectional study with a multi-stage stratified random sample of children.
Well-baby clinics of the primary health care centers in urban and rural areas of the Madinah region, North-western Saudi Arabia.
A sample of 1219 “normal” children below the age of six.
Tools used for the study were the modified and translated Denver Revised-Pre-screening Developmental Questionnaire (R-PDQ), and the Denver Developmental Screening Test (DDST) kit together with a social questionnaire. Logistic Regression analysis was used to show any significant association(s) between the study variables and the 104 developmental items in the R-PDQ.
Eight variables were found to be strongly associated with each of the developmental items. Mothers’ education was found to be significantly associated with 21 developmental items. Number of children in the household was next to mothers’ education in its association with child development. Place of residence and gender were found to be significantly associated with seven and one abilities respectively.
Findings emphasized the importance of girls and mothers’ education as an aid in stimulating the development of their children and enabling mothers to prepare children for school. Adequate birth interval, and prolonged breastfeeding are recommended to enable mothers to care for their children, communicate with them and foster sound development. Scrutinizing the child's home environment and involving parents in the developmental progress of their children are also considered important. More stimulation and educational play are recommended for rural children and male urban children.