Milestones: Red Flags to Watch For

toddler playing with blocks
Fancy Photography/Veer
While young children can reach milestones at different ages, the CDC says you should talk to your doctor and consider an early-intervention evaluation if your child displays any of these signs or has a dramatic loss of skills.

New babies are constantly learning and growing—but each newborn will progress at a different speed. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these developmental red flags.

PhotoAlto/ Matton
PhotoAlto/ Matton

Birth to 4 months

Has trouble moving eyes or crosses them most of the time

Doesn't respond to loud noises

Doesn't notice own hands (by 2 months)

Doesn't follow moving objects with eyes (by 3 months)

Doesn't grasp objects (by 3 months)

Doesn't smile at people (by 3 months)

Can't support head (by 3 months)

Doesn't babble or try to imitate sounds (by 4 months)

Doesn't bring objects to mouth (by 4 months)

Doesn't push down with legs when feet are on firm surface (by 4 months)

Each baby grows at a different speed but generally at 5 to 7 months, you can expect to see your baby rolling over and sitting. Consult a doctor if you are concerned or notice any loss of skills.

Image Source/Veer
Image Source/Veer

At 7 Months

Seems very stiff, with tight muscles

Seems very floppy, like a rag doll

Head still flops back when body is pulled to a sitting position

Reaches with only one hand

Refuses to cuddle

Shows no affection for the person who cares for him

Persistent tearing, eye drainage, or sensitivity to light

Difficulty getting objects to mouth

Doesn't roll over in either direction (by 5 months)

Can't sit with help (by 6 months)

Doesn't laugh or make squealing sounds (by 6 months)

Your baby is growing into a toddler! Here’s what you can expect to see and when you should talk to a doctor.

Image Source/ Veer
Image Source/ Veer

At 1 Year

Doesn't crawl or drags one side of body while crawling

Can't stand when supported

Doesn't search for objects that he sees being hidden

Says no single words

Doesn't use gestures such as shaking head "no"

Doesn't point to objects or pictures

Can't walk (by 18 months)

Doesn't walk heel-toe within a few months of walking

Your toddler will grow and change at their own pace but you can guess around year two, you’ll start to celebrate some major milestones. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these red flags.

Image Source/Veer
Image Source/Veer

At 2 Years

Doesn't speak at least 15 words

Doesn't use two-word sentences

Doesn't imitate actions or words

Doesn't follow simple instructions

Can't push a wheeled toy

Although every child reaches milestones at different times, here’s what to expect from your 3-year-old. Talk to a doctor if you notice some of these things.

Fancy Photography/Veer
Fancy Photography/Veer

At 3 Years

Frequently falls or has difficulty with stairs

Drools persistently or speaks unclearly

Can't build a tower of more than four blocks

Has trouble manipulating small objects

Can't copy a circle

Can't communicate in short phrases

Doesn't engage in pretend play

Doesn't understand simple instructions

Shows no interest in other children

Makes poor eye contact

Has little interest in toys

Originally published in the June 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

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