'One in four parents worry about child's development'

·2-min read

A quarter of parents worry their children aren't hitting development milestones.

As babies grow into toddlers there can be plenty of questions about when they should be talking, walking, and socialising, but a new U.S. poll has revealed some parents are seriously concerned their kids are falling behind.

While many mums and dads prefer to seek professional advice to discuss their worries, others choose to talk to friends or search online to compare how their children are developing.

"Parents may be unsure whether their child is progressing appropriately for their age and are on track with peers," said co-poll director and Mott paediatrician Gary L. Freed, M.D., M.P.H. "While most do seek a professional's advice, some parents may turn to potentially less reliable sources, like friends or online content."

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, which analysed responses from 779 parents who had at least one child under the age of five, reveals that 80 per cent of worried parents consulted either a healthcare provider or childcare provider about their fears.

However, almost one fifth of those surveyed admitted they had only used the internet or social media or spoken to friends and family to tackle their concerns.

One in three parents said they have compared siblings to assess development, with a similar number comparing their children to the kids of their friends or family.

"When parents seek advice from friends, family or social media, they may hear inaccurate or outdated information about what's expected during different stages of development," Freed warned.

"It's important for parents to keep in mind that child development is a process that unfolds over time. Each child is unique. Some children might reach certain milestones earlier or later than same-age peers. This doesn't necessarily mean that one child is advanced or that another is delayed."

The poll also revealed that dads were more likely than mums to compare their children to their friends' kids or other little ones in their family.

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