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Archivos argentinos de pediatría

Print version ISSN 0325-0075


LEJARRAGA, Horacio et al. Growth, development, social integration and parenting practices on children living with their mothers in prison. Arch. argent. pediatr. [online]. 2011, vol.109, n.6, pp.485-491. ISSN 0325-0075.

Prisons are considered a very high risk environment, but there is very scarce scientifc information on the growth and development of children who live there. Objective. With the purpose of evaluating growth and development of children living with their mothers in prison, a cross sectional survey was performed in 68 children aged 0-3 years in Unit 31, a prison for mothers with children located at 30 km from Buenos Aires. Methods. Weight, supine length, and developmental quotient (Cats Clams) was measured, PRUNAPE, and SQE-SE test were administered (screening tests for detecting developmental and emotional disorders, respectively). Mother´s child rearing practices were assessed with a previously standardized questionnaire. Results. Age range of mothers was 18-46 years, median 23.5 yr. Duration of stay in prison of children was 0.05-35 months. Mean ± standard error of "Z" score for height was -0.30 ± 0.12, weight 0.40 ± 0.12; body mass index 0.91 ± 0.18; head circumference 0.19 ± 0.14; and developmental quotient 92.4 ± 1.7. There were only 7 children out of 67 who failed the PRUNAPE. Mean Cats Clams developmental score was 91.3. ASQ-SE test showed high prevalence (39%) of emotional and social integration problems. Mother´s knowledge about child rearing practices was poorer than that found in a normal urban local population. There were no trends for results to be related to the length of stay in prison. Conclusion. Children are shorter and with higher BMI than reference. Emotional disorders are frequent (39%). Mother's knowledge about child care was poorer than that found in a near population. A program for longitudinal surveillance for all prisons in the country was proposed to the authorities.

Keywords : Growth and development; Correctional health care; Pediatric screening test; PRUNAPE.

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