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The CDC and AAP are adjusting the milestone benchmark to easily track development for babies

Pediatric developmental milestone changed for the first time in nearly two decades
Pediatric developmental milestone changed for the first time in nearly two decades
Published: Mar. 5, 2022 at 8:23 AM EST
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Maine (WMTW) - For the first time in 18 years, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their milestone checklist for babies.

According to a newly released report, babies are expected to walk at 18 months instead of 12 months and talk at 15 months rather than 12 months. The previous checklist focused on when 50% of babies may reach milestones, while the new checklist is focused on when 75% of babies should achieve them.

The CDC and AAP began collecting this data a couple of years before the pandemic started. They collected data from in-person testing, questionnaires, and research studies to gather what age children reach certain milestones.

Dr. Carol Hubbard, at Maine Medical Center’s developmental pediatric office, said the previous milestone checklist was purely based on clinical opinion.

“About 80% of the milestones in this new set are supposed to be based on evidence and about 20% are still based on clinical opinion, but I do think it’s an improvement from the previous milestones,” Hubbard said.

Crawling is no longer considered a milestone according to the new checklist.

Hubbard said crawling was removed because there was not enough evidence to add it to the checklist.

“Children crawl typically, if they crawl, between age 6 and 11 months,” Hubbard said. “So, it’s a really big range.”

Dr. Danielle Scholze, who works in developmental pediatrics at Northern Light Health, said a hard cut-off with these new guidelines is meant to help catch more kids with autism.

“If you see that your child is not meeting any of those milestones on that checklist then that is when you need to call your doctor,” Scholze said.

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