The potential negative impact of early blood oxygenation on development of specific cognitive and motor outcomes in children born at very low birth weight (VLBW; 1000-1500g) has not been examined even though these infants are exposed to varying durations and amounts of oxygen as part of their neonatal care. While this is the largest group of preterm infants, they receive much less research attention than extremely low birth weight infants (ELBW<1000g). Although neonatologists are questioning the routine use of oxygen therapy for all neonates, research has focused primarily on the more medically fragile ELBW infants. To date there are no systematic studies available to guide decision making for oxygen supplementation for a large segment of the preterm infant population. The aim of the present study was to determine if there is an association between blood oxygenation in the first 4h of life and specific cognitive and motor skills in preterm infants with acute respiratory disorders but no severe intracranial insult using a selected cohort from a longitudinal study children recruited in 1991 and 1992 designed to examine the role of biological immaturity as defined by gestational age and parenting in development. From this cohort, 55 children had acute respiratory disorders without severe intracranial insult. Of these, 35 children had at least one partial pressure of oxygen obtained from arterial blood (PaO2) during the first 4h of life as part of their clinical care. Higher early PaO2 values were associated with lower impulse control and attention skills in the elementary school age period. Models that were examined for relations between PaO2 values that also included birth weight and parenting quality across the first year of life revealed that higher PaO2 remained associated with impulse control but not attention skills. Birth weight was not associated with any outcomes. These results suggest that hyperoxia may be a risk factor for developmental problems that are not expressed until school age.