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Developmental Delays, Milestones and Birth Injuries

Learn how an experienced Cleveland birth injury attorney can help your family

Newborn children develop at their own, unique pace. But many times, children develop slower than normal due to a birth injury. That’s why development delays and missed milestones are among the most common warning signs of a birth injury. And in many cases, such developmental delays are due to negligence and other mistakes made by medical professionals.

An estimated one in six children (roughly 17 percent) ages 3 to 17 years old have some type of developmental disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And the sooner you can identify such developmental delays in your child, the earlier your child can receive the medical treatment and support they need and deserve.

Ohio birth injury lawyer John A. Lancione thoroughly understands how birth injuries can cause developmental delays in your child. For more than three decades, attorney Lancione and his dedicated legal team at The Lancione Law Firm near Cleveland have been helping families tackle such tough legal cases in Ohio and across the country.

Attorney Lancione has a national reputation for successfully resolving birth injury claims due to medical negligence. That’s the reason why many other lawyers routinely refer such cases to our law firm. They know we know how to get the job done right.

How do birth injuries cause developmental delays?

A developmental delay simply means that a child does not reach certain milestones at the same time as the majority of children the same age. Many times, such developmental delays occur due to birth injuries caused by negligence. Some of the reasons why include:

  • The mother’s health was not carefully monitored during her pregnancy.
  • The mother has a pre-existing medical condition commonly associated with certain birth injuries, but medical professionals failed to take her medical history into consideration.
  • The fetus’ health and well-being were not carefully monitored during pregnancy.
  • Medical professionals wrongly decided to not perform a C-section or another medical procedure that could have prevented a birth injury.
  • Medical professionals made mistakes during the baby’s delivery, resulting in a birth injury.

Proving that a developmental delay was caused by a birth injury and medical negligence might seem straightforward. But the reality is there’s often a great deal of debate when it comes to why birth injuries occur. This is because many medical professionals deny doing anything wrong.

Our Ohio law firm knows how to overcome such obstacles and gather evidence in support of your birth injury claim. And in many cases, successful birth injury claims involve identifying missed developmental milestones in a child’s life due to medical negligence.

What are common milestones?

There are many established developmental milestones when it comes to newborn children. The CDC and other medical institutions have a wide range of milestones for newborn babies to children 5 years old or older. The CDC’s developmental milestones include:

Bullet list

  • By 2 months – Baby should smile at people, turn head towards sounds, pay attention to people’s faces, can start to hold their head up, follow movements with their eyes and coos or makes gurgling sounds.
  • By 4 months – Baby should lift their head on their own, copy baby sounds made by adults, respond to voices, smile at people, cry when people stop playing with child, hold their head steady and reach for toys with one hand.
  • By 6 months – Baby recognizes familiar faces, likes to play with others, responds to sounds with sounds, responds to name, brings objects to mouth and can start to sit up without support on their own.
  • By 9 months – Baby has favorite toys, is clingy with familiar adults, understands the word “no,” copies sounds and gestures, watches objects move in a continuous path, can sit up on their own, crawl and stand up while holding onto something.
  • By 12 months – Baby says simple single words, has favorite people, cries when mother or father leaves, enjoys playing games, responds to spoken requests, waves goodbye to people, copies other people’s gestures, follows simple directions and can sit up on their own.
  • By 18 months – Baby can walk on their own, eat with spoon, drink from cup, says several words, plays pretend games, hands things to other people to play with, points to get other people’s attention, draws on own and follows instructions.
  • By two years – Baby can stand on tiptoes, can kick a ball, can say simple sentences, can repeat words, can find hidden objects, can build a small tower of blocks, can follow simple instructions, copies adults and older children’s movements and behavior, sometimes doesn’t follow instructions and knows names of familiar people.
  • By three years – Child runs easily, can ride a tricycle, walks up and down stairs, copies other people, shows affection without prompting, can dress and undress themselves, follows more complex instructions, knows their name and can say it and can speak in simple sentences.
  • By four years – Child can catch a bouncing ball, enjoys doing new things, enjoys playing with other children, understands time, can say full name, understands some colors and numbers and uses pronouns correctly.
  • By five years – Child can stand on one foot for at least 10 seconds, can count to 10, knows name and address, can tell a story in simple sentences, knows verb tenses, likes to sing or dance, wants to play with friends, understands real and make believe and can draw objects relatively well.

Again, every child develops at their own pace. If you child has not achieved these milestones, that doesn’t automatically mean they have a birth injury or a type of developmental delay. But it’s important to be aware of such milestones and talk to your doctor about your concerns. You should also consult a birth injury lawyer to learn more about your legal options.

What are missed milestones?

Missed milestones may be an early indication of a developmental delay due to a birth injury. According to the CDC, warning signs of a missed milestone include:

  • By 2 months – Baby does not respond to sounds, doesn’t smile at people, doesn’t watch moving objects or cannot lift head up on their own.
  • By 4 months – Baby does not smile at people, doesn’t coo or make other sounds, doesn’t bring objects to their mouth or has trouble moving both eyes in the same direction.
  • By 6 months – Baby does not respond to nearby sounds, doesn’t roll over, shows little or no affection for others, doesn’t make vowel sounds, doesn’t laugh or has very stiff or very floppy muscle movements.
  • By 9 months – Baby does not sit up on their own, doesn’t play games, doesn’t look where adults point, doesn’t respond to name or doesn’t recognize familiar people.
  • By 12 months – Baby doesn’t crawl, cannot stand up when supported, doesn’t say simple single words, doesn’t point at people or objects, doesn’t learn gestures or often forgets skills previously learned.
  • By 18 months – Baby doesn’t walk, doesn’t point at objects or other people, doesn’t copy others, doesn’t know more than six words or doesn’t notice when other people leave or arrive.
  • By two years – Baby doesn’t know simple phrases, doesn’t follow instructions, doesn’t copy other children or adults, cannot walk steadily or doesn’t know what to do with familiar objects, like a spoon or toothbrush.
  • By three years – Child has trouble walking on stairs, cannot operate simple toys, doesn’t understand simple instructions, doesn’t play with other children, doesn’t make eye contact or doesn’t play pretend or make believe.
  • By four years – Child cannot jump in place, cannot draw, ignores other children, doesn’t respond to people outside family, doesn’t use pronouns correctly, cannot dress themself or speaks unclearly.
  • By five years – Child doesn’t express a wide range of emotions, doesn’t respond to other people, doesn’t draw pictures, cannot brush teeth or get dressed without help, doesn’t understand the difference between reality and make believe or can be easily distracted.

These are just some of the most common missed milestones. Any developmental delays need to be taken seriously right away. That’s why it’s important to talk with your doctor and an experienced birth injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Learn more about how we can help your family. Contact our Ohio law firm

Building a successful birth injury claim based on missed milestones in a child’s development can be very difficult. The doctors who care for women during their pregnancy and obstetricians who deliver babies often insist they did everything right, even if their negligent actions resulted in your child’s birth injury.

Cleveland birth injury lawyer John A. Lancione understands the legal obstacles facing families. That’s why he wants to meet with you. You’ll notice the difference the first time you meet with attorney Lancione. He’ll take the time to listen to you explain in your own words exactly what happened. And if you ever have a question about your case, you reach him directly on his personal cellphone anytime.

We do things different at The Lancione Law Firm. Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free consultation. We handle birth injury claims throughout Ohio and nationwide. You can reach us online or call (440) 331-6100 or (877) 515-4369 to speak with Ohio birth injury attorney John A. Lancione. He’s on your side.

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