Kimberly Yolton, PhD

Academic Affiliations

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Phone 513-636-2815


Infant and child development and behavior; environmental exposures

Visit the Yolton Lab.

Kimberly Yolton, PhD, was formerly the director of a follow-up clinic serving high-risk infants and young children. She has extensive experience with infants and children who were prenatally exposed to substances of abuse, were born prematurely or at low birth weight, or who come from disadvantaged home environments. She was involved in the initial development of the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS), a neurobehavioral assessment tool used with healthy and high-risk newborns. She is certified to train others in the proper administration, scoring, and interpretation of the NNNS and has used the tool for clinical, research, and teaching purposes locally, nationally, and internationally. She is currently using the NNNS to study subtle differences in the neurobehavior of newborns who have been prenatally exposed to environmental toxicants such as tobacco smoke, plastics (phthalates and bisphenol A), insecticides, and mercury.

Dr. Yolton’s current research focuses on the impact of exposure to common environmental toxicants on developmental and behavioral outcomes from infancy through childhood. Her research has demonstrated associations between exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and in childhood and cognitive deficits, behavior problems, and sleep difficulties in infants and children. She has also published findings regarding associations between plastics, and organophosphate pesticides and early infant neurobehavior. Work in progress includes examination of the impact of methyl mercury, air pollution, flame retardants (PBDEs), and perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs) on neurobehavioral outcomes. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI).

Dr. Yolton came to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center as a postdoctoral fellow in pediatric environmental health in 2000 and joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2003. She earned her master's degree in family and child development from Virginia Tech, and her doctoral degree in child development and developmental psychology from The Ohio State University.

PhD: Family Relations & Human Development, Developmental Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 1992.

Fellowship: Pediatric Environmental Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2000-2003.

View PubMed Publications

Yolton K, Xu Y, Sucharew H, Succop P, Altaye M, Popelar A, Montesano MA, Calafat AM, Khoury JC. Impact of low-level gestational exposure to organophosphate pesticides on neurobehavior in early infancy: a prospective study. Environmental Health. 2013; 12:79-88.

Beebe DW, Rausch J, Byars KC, Lanphear B, Yolton K. Persistent snoring in preschool children:  Predictors and behavioral and developmental correlatesPediatrics. 2012; 130:382-389.

Byars K, Yolton K, Rausch J, Lanphear B, Beebe DW. Sleep During Early Development: A Longitudinal Study of the Prevalence, Patterns, and Persistence of Sleep Problems in the First 3 Years of Life. Pediatrics. 2012; 129:1-9.

Yolton K, Xu Y, Strauss D, Altaye M, Calafat A, Khoury J. Prenatal Exposure to Bisphenol A and Phthalates and Infant Neurobehavior. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 2011; 33:558-566.

Yolton K, Xu Y, Khoury J, Succop P, Lanphear B, Beebe D, Owens J. Associations between second hand smoke exposure and sleep patterns in children. Pediatrics. 2010; 125:e261-e268.

Yolton K, Khoury J, Xu Y, Succop P, Lanphear B, Bernert J, Lester B. Low-Level Prenatal Exposure to Nicotine and Infant Neurobehavior. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 2009; 31:356-363.

Yolton K, Khoury J, Hornung R, Dietrich K, Succop P, Lanphear B. Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Child Behaviors. Journal of Devel and Behav Pediatrics. 2008; 29:456-463

Lanphear BP, Hornung R, Khoury J, Yolton K, Baghurst P, Bellinger D, Canfield RL, Dietrich KN, Bornschien R, Greene T, Rothenberg SJ, Needleman HL, Schnaas L, Wasserman G, Graziano J, Roberts R.  Low-level environmental lead exposure and children’s intellectual function: an international pooled analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005; 113:894-899.

Dietrich K, Eskenazi B, Schantz S, Yolton K, Rauh V, Johnson C, Alkon A, Canfield R, Pessah I, Berman R. Principles and practices of neurodevelopmental assessment in children: Lessons learned from the Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005; 113:1437-1446.

Yolton K, Dietrich K, Auinger P, Lanphear BP, Hornung R. Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Cognitive Abilities among US Children and Adolescents. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005; 113:98-103.

Bone mineral accretion in young children. Co-Investigator. NICHD. Dec 2013-Nov 2018. R01 HD076321-01.

Traffic Exposure, Childhood Allergy and Neurobehavioral and Neuroimaging Effects. Co- Investigator. NIEHS. Jul 2012-Mar 2016. R01 ES019890.

NICHD Cooperative Multi-Center Neonatal Research Network. Co-Investigator and Principal Investigator of Follow-Up Studies. NICHD. Apr 2011-Mar 2016. 2U10 HD027853-16.