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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices

Warning Signs of Slow Development

While every baby grows and develops at his or her own pace, at certain ages your baby should be able to do certain things. For example, by three  to four months of age, most babies can sit with support. By six to eight months, they have development strong back muscles and can sit without any help at all.

Some babies, for a variety of reasons, have developmental delays. They do not achieve the developmental milestones as soon as expected. If you are concerned about your child's development, always trust your instincts. After all, you know your child better than anyone. If you feel that your child is not developing normally, mention it to your youngster's pediatrician. Remember, premature infants tend to be a little behind full term babies, and second children often are a little slower in their development than their older siblings.

Warning Signs of Delayed Development
  • After three months, has poor head control
    when you pick her up from lying on her back.
  • After two months, still feels stiff or floppy
  • After two months, when you cradle him in
    your arms the baby acts as if he is pushing
    away from you or arching his back.
  • After two or three months, crosses, or
    "scissors" his legs when you pick him up
    under his arms
  • After two months is not lifting her head from
    stomach position
  • Does not smile after three months
  • Difficulty drinking a baby bottle or
    controlling liquids in the mouth
  • By three months doesn't grasp or at least reach
    for a toy
  • By three months can't support his head very well
    in the sitting position
  • By four months, isn't bringing objects to his mouth
  • By four months, doesn't push down with her legs
    when her feet are placed on a firm surface
  • By six to months, can't sit with help
  • After six months, keeps one or both hands fisted
  • After six months always reaches out with only one
  • After six months is not rolling over, either from
    back to stomach or stomach to back
  • By seven to nine months has poor head control
    when pulled to a sitting position
  • By seven months, is unable to get objects into her
  • By seven months, doesn't bear some weight on her
  • By eight months, can't sit by herself
  • By nine months will not transfer an object from
    one hand to the other
  • By 12 months is not crawling
  • By 12 months is not standing with support
  • by 18 months, can't walk
  • By 24 months doesn't walk confidently
  • By 24-30 months consistently walks on toes
  • After her second birthday, is growing less than
    two inches per year
  • By 36 months falls frequently
  • By 36 months is unable to use the stairs
  • Drools persistently after 30-36 months of life

According to the Pathways Awareness Foundation, there are many reasons not to wait and see if you are worried about your baby's development:

  1. Early therapy can dramatically improve your baby's development
  2. Early therapy can prevent secondary concerns, such as feeding problems, inappropriate movement patters, or movements that interfere with your baby's normal development.
  3. Taking part in an early intervention program will help you understand and accept your baby's diagnosis. It will also give you confidence that you are doing everything possible to ensure your baby is reaching his or her full potential.
  4. Evaluating and referring your baby at the first possible sign of a developmental delay will avoid any "lost time" for therapy that can never be made up.
  5. If you "wait and see," you could delay catching a medical concern that has a specific treatment, such as an inborn error of metabolism or hypothyroidism.
  6. Importantly, Federal legislation mandates that Early Intervention services are free for children from birth to three years of age. Do not miss out on what these valuable services have to offer.

see also: Common Signs of Slow Development


As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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