What are "Red Flags" in Physical Therapy? 5-9 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 5-9 month old that could be a red flag:
- Their hands are in a fist a lot of the day.
- They have a delay in grasping an object.
- They use one hand more than the other or one leg more than the other.
- They feel floppy or extra tight.
- They can't bring their head up when laying on their back.
- They frequently arch their back in sitting or when you're helping them stand.
- They sit with their back rounded instead of sitting up straight.
- They are unable to lift their head or reach their arms out.
- Their arms, legs, and back get stiff when you help them stand.
- They aren't able to bring their hands to their mouth.
- They aren't able to follow an object with their eyes.
- They don't like being in a swing or swinging.
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 5-9 month old:
- They are able to keep their head in the middle and bring their hands to their mouth when laying on their back or when sitting.
- They are able to sit by themselves.
- They are able to move arms and legs smoothly.
- They turn to sounds or to their name.
- They are able to keep their head up when sitting and look up when on their belly.
- They begin to bring objects (of all kinds) to their mouth.
- They should start to get on all fours as if to start crawling.
- They are curious when placed in the floor and want to move around.
If you have any questions, be sure to talk to your pediatrician!
-Cheyenne Allen, PT, DPT
B. (n.d.). Dev Red Flags. Retrieved 2020.
4-6 Months Development Milestones: Track Baby Milestones. (n.d.). Retrieved December 30, 2020, from https://pathways.org/growth-development/4-6-months/milestones/
7-9 Months Development Milestones: Track Baby Milestones. (n.d.). Retrieved December 30, 2020, from https://pathways.org/growth-development/7-9-months/milestones/