The process of development is not unique to children, but the pace at which change occurs and the implications for patient care are maximal during this period of life. Developmental stages are described with associated age ranges, but these are best viewed as a sequence of events with significant individual variation in rate of progression. For purposes of facilitating patient care in the ED, two aspects of each developmental stage must be considered. Physical aspects include growth and physiologic parameters unique to a given developmental stage, a knowledge of which is essential to provide excellent care. Neurologic aspects include motor, language, and social/psychological milestones that impact on both patient assessment and responses during acute illness or injury. These milestones and their related strategies are summarized in Table 111-2. Based on a knowledge of these, the examiner is well equipped to proceed with a developmentally age-specific approach.
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