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HealthSheets™

Well-Child Checkup: 12 Months

Toddler boy walking with toys.
At this age, your baby may take his or her first steps. Although some babies take their first steps when they are younger and some when they are older.
At the 12-month checkup, the healthcare provider will examine the child and ask how things are going at home. This sheet describes some of what you can expect.

Development and milestones

The healthcare provider will ask questions about your child. He or she will observe your toddler to get an idea of the child’s development. By this visit, your child is likely doing some of the following:

  • Pulling up to a standing position

  • Moving around while holding on to the couch or other furniture (known as “cruising”)

  • Taking steps independently

  • Putting objects in and takes them out of a container

  • Using the first or pointer finger and thumb to grasp small objects

  • Starting to understand what you’re saying

  • Saying “Mama” and “Dada”

Feeding tips

At 12 months of age, it’s normal for a child to eat 3 meals and a few snacks each day. If your child doesn’t want to eat, that’s OK. Provide food at mealtime, and your child will eat if and when he or she is hungry. Do not force the child to eat. To help your child eat well:

  • Gradually give the child whole milk instead of feeding breastmilk or formula. If you’re breastfeeding, continue or wean as you and your child are ready, but also start giving your child whole milk The dietary fat contained in whole milk is necessary for proper brain development and should be given to toddlers from ages 1 to 2 years.

  • Make solids your child’s main source of nutrients. Milk should be thought of as a beverage, not a full meal.

  • Begin to replace a bottle with a sippy cup for all liquids. Plan to wean your child off the bottle by 15 months of age.

  • Avoid foods your child might choke on. This is common with foods about the size and shape of the child’s throat. They include sections of hot dogs and sausages, hard candies, nuts, whole grapes, and raw vegetables. Ask the healthcare provider about other foods to avoid.

  • At 12 months of age it’s OK to give your child honey.

  • Ask the healthcare provider if your baby needs fluoride supplements.

Hygiene tips

  • If your child has teeth, gently brush them at least twice a day (such as after breakfast and before bed). Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (no larger than a grain of rice) and a baby's toothbrush with soft bristles. 

  • Ask the healthcare provider when your child should have his or her first dental visit. Most pediatric dentists recommend that the first dental visit should happen within 6 months after the first tooth erupts above the gums, but no later than the child's first birthday. 

Sleeping tips

At this age, your child will likely nap around 1 to 3 hours each day, and sleep 10 to 12 hours at night. If your child sleeps more or less than this but seems healthy, it is not a concern. To help your child sleep:

  • Get the child used to doing the same things each night before bed. Having a bedtime routine helps your child learn when it’s time to go to sleep. Try to stick to the same bedtime each night.

  • Do not put your child to bed with anything to drink.

  • Make sure the crib mattress is on the lowest setting. This helps keep your child from pulling up and climbing or falling out of the crib. If your child is still able to climb out of the crib, use a crib tent, put the mattress on the floor, or switch to a toddler bed. 

  • If getting the child to sleep through the night is a problem, ask the healthcare provider for tips.

Safety tips

As your child becomes more mobile, active supervision is crucial. Always be aware of what your child is doing. An accident can happen in a split second. To keep your baby safe: 

  • If you have not already done so, childproof the house. If your toddler is pulling up on furniture or cruising (moving around while holding on to objects), be sure that big pieces, such as cabinets and TVs, are tied down or secured to the wall. Otherwise they may be pulled down on top of the child. Move any items that might hurt the child out of his or her reach. Be aware of items like tablecloths or cords that your baby might pull on. Do a safety check of any area your baby spends time in.

  • Protect your toddler from falls with sturdy screens on windows and gates at the tops and bottoms of staircases. Supervise your child on the stairs.

  • Don’t let your baby get hold of anything small enough to choke on. This includes toys, solid foods, and items on the floor that the child may find while crawling or cruising. As a rule, an item small enough to fit inside a toilet paper tube can cause a child to choke.

  • In the car, always put the child in a rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat. Even if your child weighs more than 20 pounds, he or she should still face backward. In fact, it's safest to face backward until age 2 years. Ask the healthcare provider if you have questions.

  • At this age many children become curious around dogs, cats, and other animals. Teach your child to be gentle and cautious with animals. Always supervise the child around animals, even familiar family pets.

  • Keep this Poison Control phone number in an easy-to-see place, such as on the refrigerator: 800-222-1222.

Vaccines

Based on recommendations from the CDC, at this visit your child may receive the following vaccines:

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b

  • Hepatitis A

  • Hepatitis B

  • Influenza (flu)

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella

  • Pneumococcus

  • Polio

  • Varicella (chickenpox)

Choosing shoes

Your 1-year-old may be walking. Now is the time to invest in a good pair of shoes. Here are some tips:

  • To make sure you get the right size, ask a clerk for help measuring your child’s feet. Don’t buy shoes that are too big, for your child to “grow into.” When shoes don’t fit, walking is harder.

  • Look for shoes with soft, flexible soles.

  • Avoid high ankles and stiff leather. These can be uncomfortable and can interfere with walking.

  • Choose shoes that are easy to get on and off, yet won’t slide off your child’s feet accidentally. Moccasins or sneakers with Velcro closures are good choices.  

 

Next checkup at: _______________________________

 

PARENT NOTES:

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.