To determine the prevalence of preferential posture in infants up to the age of six months; to determine the percentage of referrals for diagnostics and (or) treatment; to gather information about risk factors.
Infant Health Care (IHC) centres in the Netherlands.
Descriptive controlled investigation.
During September 1995 a total of 7609 infants were examined by 167 IHC doctors for the presence of preferential posture. Data on the physical examination and on the occurrence of risk factors were registered for every child with preferential posture (n = 623) and for a next child of the same age and the same sex without preferential posture. Six months later 468 children with preferential posture were re-examined.
The prevalence of preferential posture was 8.2 and was highest in children below 16 weeks of age. The ratio boy:girl was 3:2. Firstborns, premature children and children in breech position at the time of delivery, had a higher risk for preferential posture. The position of the child after the first week of life and the way of feeding proved to be significant risk factors. After six months 32 of the children with preferential posture had been referred for additional diagnostics and, if necessary, treatment.
Preferential posture is frequently observed and leads to referral, additional diagnostics and (or) treatment in 2.5 of all children up to 6 months of age.