Growing Healthy: The Services Your Child Needs at Every Stage of Life

As a parent, it can be challenging to keep track of all the developmental milestones your child should be hitting, or the immunizations and screenings they should receive. However, monitoring these aspects of your child's growth is essential to ensure their well-being.

That is why AltaMed is here. We are your community health care provider, and we know what your baby, toddler, adolescent, tween, and teen need when it comes to key health services.

Birth to two years

Your child will undergo rapid physical and cognitive development during the first two years of life. At birth, babies can typically move their arms and legs and turn their heads toward sounds and light. However, they are entirely dependent on their caregivers for all their needs.

By six months, babies start to sit up, roll over, and crawl. They can also understand simple commands and respond to their name. By 12 months, they can stand on their own and begin to take their first steps. They also start to develop their language skills, saying simple words such as "mama" and "dada."

Health Needs: Children at this age should receive several vaccines to protect them against preventable diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that infants receive vaccines for hepatitis B, rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal disease, and polio. Your pediatrician will also conduct regular checkups and developmental screenings to monitor your child's progress.

Two to five years

Your child's physical development will continue to progress rapidly, and their language and social skills will also develop at an increasing rate. They will become more independent and start to form strong bonds with family members and friends.

By age two, most children can run, climb stairs, and jump with both feet. They can also speak in simple sentences and understand basic concepts such as "more" and "mine." By age three, they can ride a tricycle, dress themselves, and use the toilet independently. They also start to play with other children and engage in imaginative play.

Health Needs: Your child will continue to receive vaccines, including those for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), chickenpox, and the flu. Your pediatrician will also conduct regular checkups and developmental screenings to monitor your child's progress.

Six to 12 years

Children continue to develop their cognitive and social skills, and their physical abilities will become more refined. They will start to form strong opinions and interests and develop a sense of their own identity.

By age six, most children can ride a bike, are able to learn to swim, and participate in organized sports. They can also read and write and understand basic math concepts. By 10, they can engage in complex social interactions, have a deeper understanding of abstract concepts, and develop critical thinking skills.

Health Needs: Your child will receive vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap), human papillomavirus (HPV), meningococcal disease, and the flu. Your pediatrician will also conduct regular checkups and developmental screenings to monitor your child's progress.

13 to 18 years

During this period, your child will undergo significant physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. They will become more independent and start to plan for their future.

By 14, most teenagers can engage in complex reasoning and have developed a sense of their own identity. They may also experience significant emotional changes, such as mood swings and increased stress. The part of their brain that allows them to make reasonable decisions has not formed yet, which explains a lot of why they do what they do. By 18, they are legally considered adults and are responsible for their own decisions.

It is important to continue monitoring their development during this period to ensure they remain healthy and receive necessary care. They should continue having regular checkups and developmental screenings with their pediatrician. These screenings can help identify any developmental delays or health concerns that may require further attention.

Health Needs: Necessary vaccines may include the tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, meningococcal disease vaccine, and the flu vaccine.

As teenagers start to become more independent and make their own decisions, it is essential to encourage open communication and discuss the importance of preventive health care measures such as regular check-ups and vaccinations — like regular flu and COVID-19 shots. By doing so, you can help ensure that your child receives the necessary care to support their continued health and well-being.

With You from the Start

AltaMed provides a complete host of pediatric services, including age-appropriate immunizations and screenings. For information or to make an appointment call (888) 499-9303.

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Bullying Happens. Here's How to Stop It.

It’s unfortunate, but we have all experienced bullying at least once in our life or know someone who has. With every new generation, bullying continues, and only it’s gotten more complex.

Physical attacks have given way to cyberbullying which cause emotional trauma that can be spread to hundreds, thousands, if not millions of people. The new ways in which children and adolescents— and even adults — can be bullied, may be one of the reasons National Bullying Awareness Month is such a relatively new thing.


Bullying Awareness Month was started as a week-long awareness campaign by the Minnesota-based PACER Center, a resource for children with disabilities and their parents. In 2010, it became a month-long event designed to provide information to educators, students, families, and individuals about ways to stop bullying and promote acceptance and kindness.

For years bullying has been seen as a childhood “rite of passage.” The reality is it can be devastating, leaving emotional scars, diminished self-esteem, and long-term psychological damage.


Bullying by the Numbers

PACER has amassed a staggering collection of statistics about bullying that include frequency, bullying by gender, victims’ gender, age, location, type of bullying, etc. Some particularly striking numbers include: 

  • One of every five students report being bullied
  • 6% of male students report being physically bullied versus 4% of female students
  • 18% of female students report being subjects of rumors versus 9% of male students
  • 7% of female students report being excluded from activities versus 4% of male students
  • 41% of students who reported bullying at school think it will happen again
  • A slightly higher percentage of female students (24%) report being bullied at school compared to male students (17%)

Results of Bullying

Bullying is a threat to student health, safety, and well-being. It also affects a student’s ability to learn and succeed. It even has negative effects on the bullies themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bullied students most often experience low self-esteem and isolation. They perform poorly in school and can have physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, or problems sleeping. They can also experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

Witnesses to bullying also suffer. They are more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, have mental health problems, and miss or skip school.

Bullies have been shown to be at increased risk for substance abuse, academic problems, and violence in late adolescence and adulthood. Bullies who are also bullied are at the greatest risk for behavioral and mental health problems.

Why Do People Bully?

Children who bully others want control. Bullies won’t stop because they like that feeling of power or control. They realize they are stronger than someone else, so they exploit that power.

The power comes from:

  • Being more assertive or confident
  • Being bigger or more physically capable
  • Having greater numbers
  • Having greater social status
  • Being more manipulative

How to Stop Bullying

Ask your children if they have experienced or witnessed bullying. It can be difficult to admit being a victim or bystander, which is why it’s important to create a safe space. If you learn something troubling, alert school faculty as soon as possible.

Peer support is also a strong deterrent to bullying. Nearly 60% of all bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes. However, that happens less than 20% of the time.

Student bystanders are often aware of bullying situations long before the adults know what’s going on. That’s why it’s essential that they feel encouraged and empowered to intervene, and such behavior should be rewarded. Help your child understand how and when to say something.

Finally, schools can teach the proper ways to intervene and offer resources supporting that behavior. When these tools are available, bullying drops.

Resources Beyond Health Care

AltaMed helps in the community with access to resources that go beyond health care workers. Our licensed social workers speak English and Spanish and can connect you with resources to help you start community improvement programs.

Call us today at (855) 425-1777 to learn more about our services.

Child and mom

What to Know about Early Childhood Development Milestones

The first few years of a baby’s life are crucial for development. How they move, act, talk, and respond to different stimuli are indicators of whether they are on track in their growth. These are all milestones.

All children should be able to do certain things from two months to five years. Some may be a little ahead of their development and some may be a bit behind. It’s important for parents to know what to look forward to and when to call the doctor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a great resource for a child’s developmental milestones along with a free mobile app parents can use for tracking. But here's the timeline to watch for:

Two Months

Most babies will start to smile at people. They will try to look at their parents and can briefly calm themselves by sucking on their hands. They begin to coo or make gurgling sounds and will follow sounds. They pay attention to faces and will start to follow things with their eyes. They can hold their heads up and may start pushing up when lying on their tummies.

Talk to your doctor if the baby:

  • Doesn’t respond to loud sounds
  • Doesn’t watch moving objects
  • Doesn’t smile at people
  • Doesn’t bring hands to mouth
  • Can’t hold head up when on tummy

Six Months

Most babies know their parents by this age and like playing with them. They also like to look at themselves in a mirror. They make sounds in response to sounds. They will start putting vowels together when babbling and will respond to their name. They bring things to their mouth, pass items between hands, and try to get things that are out of reach. By six months they should be able to roll over from front to back and back to front. They will start to sit without support and can support their weight when standing. Sometimes they crawl backward.

Talk to your doctor if the baby:

  • Doesn’t reach for things
  • Shows no affection for caregivers
  • Doesn’t respond to surrounding sounds
  • Has difficulty getting things to their mouth
  • Doesn’t make vowel sounds
  • Doesn’t roll over
  • Doesn’t laugh or squeal
  • Seems stiff or flops like a rag doll
Mom Smiling to Her Baby

12 Months

By year one they should at least be shy with strangers and cry when their caregiver leaves. They have favorite things and people. They show fear. They will hand you a book when they want a story and help you get them dressed, and will repeat sounds and actions for attention. They will shake their head “no” and wave “goodbye.” They will try to say the words you say and respond to simple spoken requests. They start to do things correctly like drinking from a cup or brushing their hair. They will start banging, shaking, and throwing things. They will look at pictures of the right thing when it’s named. They may be able to stand alone, take a few steps without holding on, be comfortable walking while holding furniture, and sit up without help.

Talk to your doctor if baby:

  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Can’t stand when supported
  • Doesn’t search for things you hide
  • Doesn’t say words like “mama” or “dada”
  • Doesn’t point at things
  • Doesn’t shake their head or wave
  • Loses skills they once had

18 Months

Tantrums may start around this time. Children will start using their imagination when playing. They will also hand things to others when playing. They will likely be afraid of strangers and affectionate with familiar people. They will start exploring on their own if their parents are nearby. They should have a vocabulary of several words, including “no,” and will point to show what they want. They know what ordinary things are, will scribble, and can follow simple verbal commands. By this time, they should be able to walk up steps and run. They can also pull toys when walking, help undress themselves, drink from cups, and eat with a spoon.

Talk to your doctor if the child:

  • Can’t walk
  • Doesn’t show things to others
  • Doesn’t gain new words
  • Doesn’t have at least six words in their vocabulary
  • Doesn’t notice or care when a caregiver leaves or returns
  • Doesn’t know what familiar items are for
  • Doesn’t copy others
Little Girl Playing on a Slide

Two Years

Your child will show more independence and even defiance by this age. They will get excited when they’re with other children and will play more often with other children. They copy the behavior of others. They can point to things or pictures of things when they’re named. They should know the names of familiar people and body parts, and will point to things in books and form sentences with two to four words. They will start to build with blocks, sort shapes and colors, play simple make-believe games, start using one hand more than another, complete sentences, and rhymes from familiar books, and follow instructions like, “pick up your clothes and put them in the hamper.” Finally, they can climb on furniture without help, walk up and down stairs holding the handrail, throw balls overhand, stand on tiptoe, and start to run.

Talk to your doctor if the child:

  • Doesn’t use simple two-word phrases
  • Doesn’t know what to do with common things like spoons or cups
  • Doesn’t copy actions or words
  • Can’t follow simple instructions
  • Can’t walk steadily
  • Loses any skills they once had
Little Girl and Her Mom in a Doctor Appointment

Development Goes On

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for general development through 30 months and for autism at 18 and 24 months. The CDC has guidelines for other milestones to look for through the age of five years, along with warning signs of when to contact your doctor.

AltaMed provides a complete host of pediatric services including age-appropriate immunizations and screenings. For information or to make an appointment call (888) 499-9303.

Growing Healthy: The Services Your Child Needs at Every Stage of Life