Older mothers make better parents, according to an international study of children born to women over 40.
Their offspring are less likely to be injured in accidents, less likely to be admitted to hospital, and more likely to have had all their immunisations; but they tend to be slightly overweight.
Alastair Sutcliffe, a paediatrician, told the annual conference of the Royal College of Paediatrics at the University of Warwick yesterday that the findings provided a valuable corrective to warnings from obstetricians about the dangers of delaying childbirth. He said: "It may be more difficult to have children late but once they have them older mothers do fantastically."
The results held regardless of the mother's economic background.