BACKGROUND Prematurity and hereditary factors predispose to cerebral palsy (CP). Previously, low cord blood levels of the anti-inflammatory chemokine CCL18 have been found to be associated with risk of CP in preterm children. OBJECTIVES To investigate the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCL18 and susceptibility to CP, as well as the association between the SNPs and cord blood levels of CCL18. METHODS The original population comprised very-low-gestational-age (VLGA; <32 weeks) children from northern and central Finland (25 cases, 195 controls). Five CCL18 SNPs were genotyped and examined for associations with CP and cord blood CCL18. The replication population comprised Caucasian VLGA children from southern Finland and Canada (23 cases, 248 controls). RESULTS In the original population, SNP rs2735835 was associated with CP; the minor allele A was underrepresented in cases compared to controls (OR = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.21-0.83, p = 0.01). This association remained significant after adjustment for multiple testing and risk factors of CP, and after combining the original and replication populations (OR = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.33-0.83, p = 0.005). Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) additively predicted CP. The Rs2015086 genotype was modestly associated with CCL18 concentration. CONCLUSIONS A common CCL18 polymorphism together with IVH had an additive influence on CP susceptibility. Developmentally regulated CCL18, confined to primates, may be involved in the complex sequence of events leading to brain injury and predisposition to CP phenotype.