Worried About Your Child?

Children develop at different rates and a wide range of behaviors are considered ‘normal.’ However, failure to achieve certain developmental milestones or the presence of some behaviors suggests that a child may be struggling.

Below is a list of ‘red flags’ grouped by stages of childhood development. If your child has any of these ‘red flags,’ discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor. A ‘red flag’ is not a reason to panic, but does suggest that more information should be gathered to understand your child.

Remember, acting early and honestly sharing concerns with your child’s doctor will give your child the best chance to do well.

Infants (0-3)

  • Seems either very stiff physically or very floppy like a rag doll (7 months)
  • Refuses to cuddle, seems inconsolable at night, or shows no affection for the primary caregiver (7 months)
  • No babbling, pointing or other gestures present (12 months)
  • Avoids eye contact (12 months)
  • Cannot stand when supported (12 months)
  • Does not walk or walks exclusively on the toes (18-24 months)
  • Does not imitate actions or words or follow simple instructions (18-24 months)
  • Persistent echolalia or repeating what was just said (3 years)
  • Is unable to communicate in short phrases or understand simple instructions (3 years)
  • Any loss of language or social skills

Toddlers (4-5)

  • Ignores or does not respond to children or people outside the family (4 years)
  • Shows no interest in interactive games or fantasy play (4 years)
  • Lashes out with no self-control when angry or upset (4 years)
  • Resists dressing, sleeping, or using the toilet (4 years)
  • Is extremely fearful, timid or aggressive (5 years)
  • Is unable to concentrate on any single activity for more than five minutes (5 years)
  • Cannot separate from her or his parents without major protest (5 years)
  • Cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality (5 years)
  • Any loss of language or social skills

Children (6-12)

  • Change in childhood interests
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • New friends who make you feel uncomfortable
  • Sleep problems and/or on-going headaches or stomach aches
  • Withdrawn and moody behavior that lasts more than a few days at a time
  • Sudden self-esteem issues

Teenagers (13-18)

  • Changing friends abruptly or becoming a loner
  • Anxiety and depression, beyond normal ups and downs
  • Dramatic change in performance at school and a desire to constantly miss school
  • Behavior that can be considered destructive (hurting self or others, cruelty to animals, vandalism)
  • Difficulty in coping with daily life
  • Dramatic changes in sleeping habits or eating patterns
  • Mood swings
  • Increasingly argumentative, defensive and violent

Resources for Parents

Are you struggling to care for a baby who is fussy, crying excessively, or has difficulties with sleeping or feeding? Contact the Fussy Baby Network.

Call the warmline at 1-888-431-BABY (2229) for telephone support nationwide.