What are "Red Flags" in Physical Therapy? 19-24 Months

A "red flag" is a term used in the medical field that indicates there could be a problem with your child's development. Let me emphasize here the word could. It doesn't mean your child has or will have a problem, it just means that they could. Typically, we grow concerned if your child has a combination of red flags, rather than just one. Your child's pediatrician will spot these flags and then send in referrals for your little one to be checked out. Referrals can be to a neurologist, geneticist, or other types of doctors. Physical, occupational, and speech-language pathologists can receive these referrals as well. If you think your child has any of these red flags, please reach out to your pediatrician!

Things to look for in your 19-24 month old that could be a red flag:

  1. They struggle to move in and out of sitting or standing.
  2. They are not yet walking independently.
  3. They lose balance when bumped or when standing on one leg to kick a ball.
  4. They prefer to use only one hand or one leg.
  5. They are not able to go up and down stairs.
  6. They are not able to use their hands together.
  7. They are unable to sit in a chair without leaning over.

If your child has any of these red flags, this means that there could be a problem and that their pediatrician would need to see them. Your pediatrician can send out referrals to the correct medical professionals (including PT!) to make sure your precious new baby is on the right track.

Things you should see in your 19-24 month old:

  1. They are crawling, climbing, and walking to move around.
  2. They are able to play for long periods of time prior to needing to rest.
  3. They can throw a ball and attempt to catch it.
  4. They can kick a ball forward.

If you have any questions, be sure to talk to your pediatrician!

-Cheyenne Allen, PT, DPT


19-24 Months Development Milestones: Track Baby Milestones. (n.d.). Retrieved August 17, 2021, from https://pathways.org/growth-development/19-24-months/milestones/

B. (n.d.). Dev Red Flags. Retrieved 2021.