In 1972 the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that the purview of pediatrics begins in the period prior to birth when conception is apparent and continues to age 21 years. The Committee on Adolescence believes that the terminology used in all Academy materials should be changed to reflect the pediatrician's expanded role.

The words "infant," "child," "adolescent," and "young adult" connote different images which, in turn, provoke the age-specific response. The Committee on Adolescence recommends that all references to pediatric patients give proper semantic recognition to infants, children, and adolescents, and that the Academy adopt the policy that the term "child" should no longer be used for all age groups. The words "youth," "adolescent," or "adolescence" should be used when referring to those between puberty and maturity.

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