Understanding Developmental Milestones in Early Childhood
Medical professionals use “developmental milestones” as a way to confirm when a child is developing normally – and when they may have a developmental disorder caused by brain damage. However, it can be hard to tell the difference at times: This is because children are always growing and learning, and delays are not always indicative of birth injuries.
Sadly, brain damage during childbirth is more common than you might think, and for many victims, it can take years before the injury becomes apparent. At Brown & Barron, LLC, our attorneys have represented many families in infant brain injury cases and can help you explore your legal options once you have a diagnosis.
When Is My Child Missing Milestones Due to Brain Damage?
According to the CDC, here are some of the main developmental milestones that medical professionals will look for in early childhood:
- 2 to 4 months: Around this age, infants should be able to coo, smile, follow objects with their eyes, and pay attention to faces. In most cases, they should also be able to hold their head up independently and push themselves up on their elbows from a prone position.
- 6 to 9 months: This is typically when babies begin to respond to names and other sounds. The child’s physical skills also start to include rolling over, sitting alone, and passing objects between mouth and hands.
- 9 months to 1 year: At this age, children start to stand or crawl without support, as well as watch objects around them carefully. From a cognitive perspective, children at this age might make a lot of different sounds (like “mama”) and show a clear preference for family members over strangers.
- 18 months: By the 18-month mark, many children can walk, eat, and play without direct assistance. Language and communication skills also become further developed, and the child may be able to say several single words.
- 2 years: At 2 years old, children may perform more complex physical tasks, such as running, kicking balls, and climbing. They also develop basic problem-solving skills and may communicate through pointing or speaking short sentences.
As mentioned before, developmental delays are not decisive proof that your child has suffered brain damage. All children grow at their own pace, with some achieving milestones much earlier or later than average. When there are multiple missed milestones over time, however, it may be a sign of a hidden birth injury.
Here are a few additional signs of brain damage to look for in infants and toddlers:
- Noticeably reduced mobility at every age (i.e. unable to hold up head at 4 months, unable to crawl by the year mark)
- Stiffness or “floppiness” in infancy
- Irritability and/or persistent crying
- Unusual lethargy and fatigue
- Difficulties with acquiring language at each new developmental stage
- Failure to retain newfound skills, such as toilet training
- Ongoing challenges with attention and focus
Helping Families Navigate Complex Birth Injury Claims
It’s important to consult with a medical professional when you first notice that your child has missed developmental milestones. The sooner you seek out a doctor’s advice, the better the odds that you will get an accurate diagnosis – and a chance of holding the right parties accountable for any brain injuries that occurred during birth.
At Brown & Barron, LLC, we focus much of our practice on medical malpractice and birth injury cases, and we bring almost 75 years of experience to every claim we take on. With millions recovered for our clients in Baltimore and throughout Maryland, we can represent your interests and help you find the best path forward if your child has suffered a preventable brain injury.