The following are the American Medical Associations’ age designations:

  • Neonates or newborns (birth to 1 month)
  • Infants (1 month to 1 year)
  • Children (1 year through 12 years)
  • Adolescents (13 years through 17 years. They may also be referred to as teenagers depending on the context.)
  • Adults (18 years or older)
  • Older adults (65 and older)*

*The National Institute on Aging’s guidance considers 65 and older an older adult, but understandings and definitions about this age range vary by source. When an official or organization uses one of these terms, ask for specifics.


Avoid vague terms such as babies, school-aged children, or teenagers, without first defining them (e.g., infants ages 5 months to 1 year, children ages 6-12 years, adolescents ages 13-17 years). When possible, use a specific age or age range.

Older adults vs. the elderly

Use older adults or people over age X instead of the aged, elders, the elderly, or senior citizens. The word adult affirms agency and personhood, as does person-first language. When possible, use a specific age or age range. The only exception to this rule might be when referencing Tribes/American Indian/Alaska Natives, for which the term elders may be preferred and culturally appropriate.

This page last reviewed on September 2, 2022