Background50% of Malagasy children have moderate to severe stunting. In 2016, a new 10 year National Nutrition Action Plan (PNAN III) was initiated to help address stunting and developmental delay. We report factors associated with risk of developmental delay in 3 and 4 year olds in the rural district of Ifanadiana in southeastern Madagascar in 2016.MethodsThe data are from a cross-sectional analysis of the 2016 wave of IHOPE panel data (a population-representative cohort study begun in 2014). We interviewed women ages 15–49 using the MICS Early Child Development Indicator (ECDI) module, which includes questions for physical, socio-emotional, learning and literacy/numeracy domains. We analyzed ECDI data using standardized z scores for relative relationships for 2 outcomes: at-risk-for-delay vs. an international standard, and lower-development-than-peers if ECDI z scores were > 1 standard deviation below study mean. Covariates included demographics, adult involvement, household environment, and selected child health factors. Variables significant at alpha of 0.1 were included a multivariable model; final models used backward stepwise regression, clustered at the sampling level.ResultsOf 432 children ages 3 and 4 years, 173 (40%) were at risk for delay compared to international norms and 68 children (16.0%) had lower-development than peers. This was driven mostly by the literacy/numeracy domain, with only 7% of children considered developmentally on track in that domain. 50.5% of children had moderate to severe stunting. 76 (17.6%) had > = 4 stimulation activities in past 3 days.Greater paternal engagement (OR 1.5 (1.09, 2.07)) was associated with increased delay vs. international norms. Adolescent motherhood (OR. 4.09 (1.40, 11.87)) decreased children’s development vs. peers. Engagement from a non-parental adult reduced odds of delay for both outcomes (OR (95%CI = 0.76 (0.63, 0.91) & 0.27 (0.15, 0 48) respectively). Stunting was not associated with delay risk (1.36 (0.85, 2.15) or low development (0.92 (0.48, 1.78)) when controlling for other factors.ConclusionsIn this setting of high child malnutrition, stunting is not independently associated with developmental risk. A low proportion of children receive developmentally supportive stimulation from adults, but non-parent adults provide more stimulation in general than either mother or father. Stimulation from non-parent adults is associated with lower odds of delay.