We frequently cite the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Health Tech Insider posts. The CDC’s long-established reputation as a source of valid and reliable statistics related to health conditions and diseases is respected worldwide. CDC scientists do more than track and report numbers and trends, however. In its role as the national health protection agency, the CDC also conducts “critical science” research to protect citizens against health threats and to develop appropriate responses. Health information is the CDC’s primary tool.

In October 2017, the CDC released a new free mobile app: Milestone Tracker. The app, available now on iOS and Android, was developed by the CDC’s “Learn the Signs, Act Early” initiative. This program’s charge is to improve the early identification of developmental delays and disabilities, including autism, so families can get the services and support their children need at the earliest stages. The Milestone Tracker helps parents, educators, and care and health providers track developmental milestones in young children. The app has five components:  milestone checklists for ages 2 months through 5 years, with photos and videos; tips and activities to help children learn and grow; information for when to act early to contact a doctor about a developmental concern; a sharable personalized milestone summary tracker; and an appointment and developmental screening reminder.

Parents use the app to record such events as a child’s first steps, first words, or waving goodbye. A tool that tracks milestones and sends alerts when it recognizes development delays can be invaluable in helping children and parents getting needed healthcare intervention at the earliest possible time.