Just the word alone sends shivers down a parent’s spine. Puberty. And now recent studies suggest that U.S. children are developing some signs of sexual maturation earlier than in the past. But here’s the good news: a new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics says these early signs of development don’t necessarily mean a child has started puberty. In fact, signs of puberty (such as early development of pubic hair or the ever-so-lovely B.O.) are often normal variations of puberty that do not require extensive testing or treatment. So you should be clued in to the changes in your kiddo’s body but without having to worry that puberty may have kicked in too early. And if you’re concerned that the onset of puberty may have come too soon (or if you and your child have q’s), it’s always a good idea to speak to the pediatrician and get an expert opinion.