• We performed a case-control study to examine the relationship of child abuse to several perinatal risk factors. Cases were children who had been born at Yale—New Haven (Conn) Hospital and were reported for physical abuse to the Hospital's Child Abuse Committee. For each case, a control was chosen from the hospital's log of births and matched according to five demographic variables. We identified 117 case-control pairs. No relationship was found between either prematurity or low birth weight and child abuse. In contrast, there was an association between child abuse and young maternal age (both at the birth of the index child and at the birth of the first child). We conclude that prematurity and low birth weight are not risk factors for physical abuse but that young maternal age is related to abuse.