Pediatrician weighs in on new CDC child guidelines

WISCONSIN—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their developmental milestones for the first time in nearly 20 years.

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Those changes include extending the age a child should walk to 18 months old, and lowering the expectations of children learning and pointing to body parts from one to two years old.

Not all professionals who work with children are sympathetic to these changes, but pediatrician Dr. Sharyl Paley of Children’s Hospital Wisconsin said the changes shouldn’t concern parents.

“In the past, our milestones were based on the 50th percentile. So when 50% of the kids reached a certain milestone, they said it was a normal milestone and to be aware if they haven’t reached it yet. Now they have changed it to 75 percent.”

The changes recognize that it may take a little longer for children to catch up to the majority, but it is now seen as normal rather than a potential problem.

However, that does not mean that intervention is not necessary; dr. Paley said it’s best to at least discuss concerns with your provider if you have any questions.

“As a pediatrician, sometimes if you don’t tell me you’re concerned about something, I can’t help but relay your fears or say, ‘No, let’s explore that a little more.'”

dr. Paley said that if intervention is needed, doctors will work with other providers, such as speech or physical therapists, to help the child reach those milestones and provide appropriate assistance.

Read the CDC’s updated development milestones here.

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