CDC Milestone Checklist Template

Keep track of your pediatric patient progress by using our CDC Milestone Checklist Template!

By Priya Singh on Jul 05, 2024.


Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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CDC Milestone Checklist Template PDF Example
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What is a CDC Milestone Checklist?

Milestones are significant markers that help you keep track of how your child is growing. The way your child behaves in their learning, speaking, movement, and actions provides valuable insights, which are important to monitor. Having these indicators can give you an idea of how your child is developing and provide insight as to when to be concerned. 

Despite being exposed to different environments or experiences, many children often reach milestones around the same age. The CDC Milestone Checklist lists the behaviors a child is expected to demonstrate at a certain age. These include social and emotional milestones, cognitive milestones, language or communication milestones, as well as movement and physical milestones. 

The checklist begins from 2 months of age, with lists for various ages until the child reaches age 5. Although the aspects of development remain the same, the degrees of behavior progress with age, and the checklist provides examples of how the child may demonstrate these behavioral milestones. Furthermore, the checklist includes reminders for wellness or development screenings, which are essential for the child’s well-being and early detection of abnormalities (Zubler & Whitaker, 2022).  

By using the CDC Milestone Checklist, parents, caregivers, and health practitioners can monitor a child’s development and complete any screening procedures or referrals when there may be concerns (Zubler & Whitaker, 2022).

CDC Milestone Checklist Template

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CDC Milestone Checklist Template Example

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How does it work?

The CDC Milestone Checklist Template is a resource designed to help caregivers and health practitioners track and document a child’s development. To show you how to use the checklist, we have devised the following steps: 

Step 1: Access the checklist

Access the checklist electronically here, or download the PDF to print for a physical document using the following link:

Download the Printable CDC Milestone Checklist here. 

Step 2: Become familiar with the milestones

Before using the checklist, become familiar with the behaviors and milestones to look out for in the child at the appropriate age list. Doing so may help you look out for particular behaviors, giving you insight into the child’s development. 

Step 3: Introduce the checklist

Introduce the checklist to parents and caregivers within initial wellness or developmental visits for pediatric patients. Explain how it works and the importance of documenting these developmental milestones. 

Step 3: Using the checklist

Once caregivers are familiar with the checklist, they may notice the child developing or expressing some of the behaviors on the list for their age group. Encourage them to tick off behaviors or any further progressions they notice on the document, which they may bring to the next visit. 

Step 4: Document milestones

During the child’s wellness or development visit, ensure that you discuss any milestones or changes with caregivers, documenting these using your practice management software. Doing so will ensure a thorough and accurate patient record. 

Step 5: Continue monitoring

Continue following the checklist as the child ages, and make note of any new developments or changes. Additionally, if caregivers express any concerns about certain behaviors or lack of development, make sure to address these concerns by completing appropriate screening procedures where required.

CDC Milestone Checklist example (sample)

We have created an example using a fictional child to demonstrate how to use a CDC Milestone Checklist PDF practically. This example uses the steps in our previous ‘How to’ section to document the milestones of a child who is 18 months of age. 

It is advised to refer to this to understand how the checklist may be used; however, please consider that this is just an example that should not be used in comparison with another child’s development. If you are feeling concerned about your child’s development, it is essential to consult with your child’s doctor. 

The example can be accessed here, or download a PDF version for a printed physical copy.

CDC Milestone Checklist example (sample)

When would you use this Template?

The following are some ways in which the CDC Milestone Checklist Template can be used:

Developmental surveillance 

A CDC Milestone Checklist Template can be applied by health practitioners, such as pediatric doctors or nurses, as a form of clinical documentation to track the child’s developmental history. Keeping an accurate record of the child’s milestones also allows parents to voice their concerns and discuss these with the pediatrician during wellness or developmental visits (Zubler & Whitaker, 2022). 

Education for parents

For new parents who are still learning about their child and what signs to look for, this checklist can provide information and reassurance about their child’s development. 

Wellness visit reminders 

The checklist reminds parents and caregivers when the child is due for a wellness visit or developmental screening. These screenings are necessary for screening conditions such as autism in toddlers, which are necessary for the child’s well-being and preparing parents. 

Early detection of developmental disorders 

A CDC Milestone Checklist may identify developmental differences between the child, and the expected developmental milestones for their age group. Parents or pediatricians may notice something within the child that may place them at a higher risk of developmental disabilities and complete screening procedures and developmental-behavioral evaluations. This allows for early identification and intervention that may hold better outcomes for the child.

What do the results mean?

Results using our free CDC Milestone Checklist Template are multi-faceted and may differ according to several factors. These may include the child’s genetics, experiences and environment. Here are some common results using this resource and what they may mean for the child and those around them:

Regular development

Parents and pediatricians may observe that the child is following along with the milestones for their age group as they grow. With continued wellness and developmental visits when recommended, the child will likely continue developing regularly for their age bracket. 

Slower development

When using the checklist and observing their children, parents or caregivers may find their children are not quite demonstrating all of the developmental milestones for their age group.

In this instance, it is important to consider that not all milestones may happen at once; some may take longer to develop than others. If this is the case, record what you observe, and you may find it beneficial to discuss this with your child’s doctor at your next appointment. 

Developmental differences

There may be instances where a child is developing differently from other children of their age, which may be a sign of developmental difficulties or disorders. In this case, caregivers need to discuss their concerns with their child’s doctor, who may recommend completing a developmental screening such as one for autism. 

This may lead to early detection of a developmental disorder, which is essential for informing parents and treatment procedures.

Research & evidence

Beginning in infancy or childhood, developmental disorders, disabilities, or delays (DD’s) are prevalent within the population, where it is estimated that 1 in 6 children experience a DD (Cogswell et al., 2022; Zubler & Whitaker, 2022). 

When identified, caregivers and health practitioners can introduce strategies to enhance developmental progress and overall life functioning. However, these are often missed, resulting in many children not receiving necessary care. 

Issues surrounding lack of identification led to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs) devising the ‘Learn the Signs. Act Early’ initiative (Zubler & Whitaker, 2022). The program aimed to enhance developmental surveillance amongst parents and practitioners by introducing resources like the CDC Milestone Checklist. This allowed for documentation of any progressions or changes related to development. 

With tools and examples of expected behaviors at different ages, the checklist provides a set of things for parents to look out for, which can be both informative and reassuring for new parents. Additionally, the resource serves as a reminder for wellness visits, screenings, and tips to promote development. 

For health practitioners, such as pediatric doctors or nurses, the resource has been shown to inform an accurate patient history and support parents during consultations. Furthermore, the checklist can serve as a discussion point for any concerns surrounding behavior and development, which may result in screening procedures to identify any delays (Zubler & Whitaker, 2022).

Why use Carepatron as your CDC Milestone Checklist app?

At Carepatron, our mission is to provide practical solutions that enhance your practice, and support better client outcomes. By using our CDC Milestone Checklist app and software provides reliable general practice management software that helps health practitioners support the needs of their pediatric patients, and their caregivers. Here are some reasons explaining why Carepatron is the ideal platform for you:

Mobile access

As an online platform, Carepatron provides mobile access to thousands of resources like the CDC Milestone Checklist, which are essential for effective practice. This allows health practitioners, pediatric patients, and caregivers to access relevant information and documentation from anywhere. 

Ongoing documentation

With ongoing clinical documentation, our software allows health practitioners to organize all patient records, medical history, and developmental milestones in one place. Having a secure, accessible way to manage patient documents is essential for tracking developments in children and informing screenings or interventions where appropriate. 

Patient portal 

With a user-friendly interface, our patient portal provides patients with easy access to the records and the information they require. This is most beneficial for parents on the go, as the CDC Milestone Checklist can be accessed using the portal, allowing them to track their child’s developmental progress. 

Simplify and optimize this practice using Carepatron today!

CDC Milestone Checklist app


CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022). Developmental Milestone Checklist for WIC. CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.). Module 2: Understanding Children’s Developmental Milestones. CDC.'s%20developmental,judge%20if%20concern%20is%20warranted.&text=Developmental%20milestones%20fall%20into%20categories%20of%20development%20called%20domains.Cogswell, M. E., Coil E., Tian L. H., Tinker S. C., Ryerson A. B., Maenner, M. J., Rice, C. E., & Peacock, G. (2022). Health Needs and Use of Services Among Children with Developmental Disabilities - United States, 2014-2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep, 71(12), 453-458., S. S., Boehning, A. P., & Shar, M. (2023). Development Milestones. StatPearls.,motor%2C%20language%2C%20and%20cognitive.Zubler, J., & Whitaker, T. (2022). CDC’s Revised Developmental Milestone Checklist. American Family Physician, 106(4), 370-371.

How do you create a CDC Milestone Checklist?
How do you create a CDC Milestone Checklist?

Commonly asked questions

How do you create a CDC Milestone Checklist?

A CDC Milestone Checklist can be easily created by using our CDC Milestone Checklist Template! The template provides all of the essential information, reminders, and milestones to look for, all in one organized document.

When are CDC Milestone Checklists used?

These checklists are typically used to track developmental milestones from infancy to childhood. This can be used for clinical documentation, developmental surveillance, and information sources for new parents.

How are the CDC Milestone Checklists used?

With a ‘checklist’ format, this resource provides an overview of the various behaviors a child may express as they age. Caregivers can use the section for their child’s age, for example, the 18-month checklist, and observe their child’s behavior. If the child demonstrates a listed development, they can ‘tick off’ the milestone. 

Who creates a CDC Milestone Checklist?

The CDC Milestone Checklist was first devised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, health practitioners or caregivers can adapt it.

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