Milestone Tracking Made Easy

A New App for Infant Developmental Surveillance

Jennifer Zubler, MD


July 02, 2018

Editorial Collaboration

Medscape &

Hello. I'm Jen Zubler, a pediatrician and consultant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Learn the Signs. Act Early." program

As a physician who cares for young children, I follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP's) recommendations for developmental surveillance and screening, because both are important to identify children with developmental delays as early as possible.

Developmental screening involves the use of a validated screening test at recommended ages and whenever concerns are raised by a parent or provider. Developmental surveillance involves taking a developmental history, eliciting parents' concerns, observing the child, and identifying strengths and risks of both the child and family at each health supervision visit.

If you are like me, you may find it challenging to regularly conduct developmental surveillance. I am excited to share the new Milestone Tracker app from CDC that makes developmental surveillance easier.

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This free app can help parents track their child's development between health supervision visits and can help you review the child's developmental history, and identify strengths and elicit parents' concerns. Promoting the app within your practice is a great way to engage parents in developmental surveillance.

Now I would like to show you the app.

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The home screen highlights features that help with developmental surveillance.

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The Milestone Checklists feature interactive milestones for children aged 2 months to 5 years. The photos and videos help parents understand the milestones. Parents can respond "yes," "not yet," or "not sure" to each milestone, and they can document any comments they have about the milestone.

The milestones are adapted from the AAP book Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 and AAP's Bright Futures website. The milestones coincide with most of the recommended health supervision visits. The milestones reflect those that most children would have achieved by that age, which means that any missing milestones should be discussed and consideration should be given to administering a developmental screening tool.

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The When to Act Early tab shows what providers may refer to as "red flags," such as a child not responding to his or her own name at 9 months.

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If parents select any of these, they will receive a notification to contact their doctor, share their concern, and discuss developmental screening.

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The Tips and Activities tab helps parents learn about simple, age-appropriate activities for developmental promotion.

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The Milestone Summary page can be particularly helpful for you. It helps families keep a record of their child's milestones over time and allows them to share their observations with you directly on their phone or email it to you. The summary presents milestones missed and milestones met so that you can easily identify areas of concern and areas of strength.

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Finally, parents can receive reminders about when they are due for their next visit and when to complete the next checklist.

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CDC has materials to help you incorporate the app within your practice, like free printable flyers for exam rooms to help encourage your families to use the app. For more information on CDC's Milestone Tracker app, visit I hope you will consider using the Milestone Tracker app to enhance developmental surveillance within your practice. Thank you.