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Understanding Developmental Milestones

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Kids Health Watch is brought to you by our friends and Children’s Medical Group


Congratulations to all of our graduates this month! This is a huge step and milestone in your lives. Speaking of milestones, let’s get back to a more basic, but nonetheless important, variety – developmental milestones

The CDC made headlines- and un-doubtedly turned a few parents’ heads- a few months back when it referenced developmental milestones changing. What does this mean for you? First of all, what are milestones and why are they important?

Developmental milestones are a way for you as parents, and us as pediatricians, to track and evaluate how well your child’s brain and body are developing. They are generally grouped into categories such as: physical, language, cognitive, and emotional milestones. Pediatricians use these mile-stones, and more specifically, progression of milestones, to tell us how your child is growing and to make sure his or her brain is developing well. It is a huge part of your child’s health, and it is a main reason for your being peppered with so many questions when taking your child in for a check-up.

The goal of the changes made by the CDC was not to necessarily change the developmental milestones. Rather, they changed the way these milestones are presented to the public, and in turn helped to relieve some pa-rental anxiety associated with the previous lists

For example, instead of listing a given milestone based on an age by which 50%of children have reached it, the CDC has generally moved most of the milestones to be listed for the ages by which 75% of children have reached that specific milestone. They also made some changes to wording so as to reduce ambiguity, as well as clarified or even omitted a few milestones due to there not being a clear consensus on specific ages. This can help you to understand that, while a friend on social media has posted a video of their child (who happens to be the exact same age as your child) walking, it’s perfectly normal that your child may not be walking yet.

This helps to drive home the point that, by and large, children develop certain skills at their own pace. But herein lies the critical importance of regular check-ups: they enable us to document the progression of your child’s milestones, taking into account the numerous developmental variables specific to your child, and to make sure everything is developing at an appropriate pace. A final note: remember that you are your child’s biggest advocate – if you feel like your child is not progressing through their milestones like you think they should, it is absolutely ok to say so – the mom or dad “gut-feeling” is a powerful tool, and we are eager to listen to you.


Dr. Savannah Browning grew up in Fayette, AL. She moved to Mobile to attend Medical School at the University of South Alabama in 2009, and has been a proud Mobilian ever since. She joined Children’s Medical Group in 2016, and her office is at the Airport Boulevard location. She lives in Mobile with her husband, Andrew, and their three children: Jude, Luke, and Annie.

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Dr. Savannah Browning grew up in Fayette, AL. She moved to Mobile to attend Medical School at the University of South Alabama in 2009, and has been a proud Mobilian ever since. She joined Children’s Medical Group in 2016, and her office is at the Airport Boulevard location. She lives in Mobile with her husband, Andrew, and their three children: Jude, Luke, and Annie.

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