As a parent, if you are worried about your child’s development, it’s always best to share your concerns with your pediatrician. Be sure to clearly explain any developmental lags that you’ve noted and ask specific questions. If your instincts are correct and your child is experiencing a delay, you can take action immediately. Research suggests that the earlier a problem is recognized and addressed, the better the prognosis.

Here are some developmental red flags to watch out for in infants and toddlers:

By 3 Months

  • Not following moving objects or people with eyes
  • Not smiling
  • Poor head control
  • Baby feels stiff or floppy when held

By 6 Months

  • Does not roll from the stomach to the back
  • Does not reach for objects
  • Does not laugh or respond to games such as Peek-a-Boo
  • Keeps one hand fisted or only uses one side of the body

By 9 Months

  • Unable to sit upright independently
  • Unable to roll from stomach to back and back to stomach
  • No babbling
  • When you hold baby in standing, will not use legs to bear weight

By 12 Months

  • No words or language is present
  • Does not wave hello or goodbye or point
  • Does not sit upright independently
  • Has limited eye contact
  • Engages in repetitive activity such as rocking or hand flapping

By 18 Months

  • Unable to walk independently
  • Has limited interaction with others
  • Demonstrates unusual movement such as tremors
  • Has limited control/movement on one side of the body.
  • Does not point to body parts

By 24 Months

  • Does not imitate simple actions, gestures, or words
  • Unable to follow basic one-step instructions
  • Does not speak in sentences of at least 2 words
  • Removes and replaces toys from a container

If your pediatrician does express concern about your little one’s development, ask if physical, occupational, or speech therapy is appropriate.

Developmental Pro, Anne Zachry 

Anne Zachry, Ph.D. is a pediatric occupational therapist, child development specialist and mother of three. She's had articles published on Parenthood.com, Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine online, has written a parenting course for Daily OM, and writes for a variety of regional parenting magazines.

Dr. Zachry's research has been published in national peer-reviewed journals, including The Southern Medical Journal, The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, and The Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, and she's had articles published in her profession's trade magazines, Advance and OT Practice. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, and she has also given numerous presentations to parents and teachers on a variety of topics related to infant and childhood development.

Her websites are Dr. Anne Zachry and Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips.