The feasibility of a crowd-based early developmental milestone tracking application

Ayelet Ben-Sasson, Kayla Jacobs, Eli Ben-Sasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Parents’ tracking of developmental milestones can assist healthcare providers with early detection of developmental delays and appropriate referrals to early intervention. Crowdsourcing is one way to update the content and age data distribution of developmental checklists for parents and providers. This feasibility study examined which developmental milestones parents chose to track and what they added beyond traditional milestones, using the babyTRACKS crowd-based mobile app. Method We analyzed the developmental diaries of 3,832 children, registered in the babyTRACKS app at an average age of 9.3 months. Their parents recorded a median of 5 milestones per diary, selecting from the accumulating lists of age-appropriate milestones or authoring new milestones. The final database included 645 types of milestones; 89.15% were developmental, of which 43.6% were comparable to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) milestones while the rest were crowd-authored. Milestones were categorized into developmental domains: Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Oral Motor, Self-Care, Cognitive, Language Comprehension, Speech, Non-Verbal Communication, Social, Emotional, and Regulation. Results On average, the milestone domains of Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Cognitive and Social were the most added to diaries (20%-30% of a diary). Within the Cognitive, Speech and Language Comprehension domains there were significantly more CDC comparable versus crowd-authored milestones (29% versus 21%, 22% versus 10%, 8% versus 4%). In contrast, within the Regulation and Oral Motor domains there were more crowd versus CDC milestones (17% versus 3%, 9% versus 3%). Crowd-authored Speech milestones were significantly older by 7 months than CDC milestones. Conclusion Tracking daily observations of child development provides a window into personally relevant milestones for the child and parent. The crowd of parents can independently track and add new milestones across main developmental domains. Regulation and Oral Motor development especially interest parents. Parents may be less aware of early progress in Language Comprehension and Speech; thus, these domains require more structured screening. Designing mobile early screening which is crowd-based engages parents as proactive partners in developmental tracking.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0268548
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Ben-Sasson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Checklist
  • Child
  • Child Development/physiology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Parents
  • Speech

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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