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HealthSheets™

Well-Child Checkup: 15 Months

Child standing in a toy box.

At the 15-month checkup, the healthcare provider will examine the child and ask how it’s 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:

  • Walking

  • Squatting down and standing back up

  • Pointing at items he or she wants

  • Copying some of your actions (such as holding a phone to his or her ear, or pointing with a remote control)

  • Throwing or kicking a ball

  • Starting to let you know his or her needs

  • Saying 1 or 2 words (besides “Mama” and “Dada”)

Feeding tips

At 15 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:

  • Keep serving a variety of finger foods at meals. Be persistent with offering new foods. It often takes several tries before a child starts to like a new taste.

  • If your child is hungry between meals, offer healthy foods. Cut-up vegetables and fruit, unsweetened cereal, and crackers are good choices. Save snack foods, such as chips or cookies, for special occasions.

  • Your child should continue to drink whole milk every day. But, he or she should get most calories from healthy, solid foods.

  • Besides drinking milk, water is best. Limit fruit juice. You can add water to 100% fruit juice and give it to your toddler in a cup. Don’t give your toddler soda.

  • Serve drinks in a cup, not a bottle.

  • Don’t let your child walk around with food or a bottle. This is a choking risk and can also lead to overeating as your child gets older.

  • Ask the healthcare provider if your child needs a fluoride supplement.

Hygiene tips

  • Brush your child’s teeth at least once a day. Twice a day is ideal (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 happen within 6 months after the first tooth visibly erupts above the gums, but no later than the child's first birthday.

Sleeping tips

Most children sleep around 10 to 12 hours at night at this age. If your child sleeps more or less than this but seems healthy, it is not a concern. At 15 months of age, many children are down to one nap. Whatever works best for your child and your schedule is fine. To help your child sleep:

  • Follow a bedtime routine each night, such as brushing teeth followed by reading a book. 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, or 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

Recommendations for keeping your toddler safe include the following: 

  • At this age, children are very curious. They are likely to get into items that can be dangerous. Keep latches on cabinets and make sure products like cleansers and medicines are out of reach.

  • 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.

  • If you have a swimming pool, it should be fenced. Gates or doors leading to the pool should be closed and locked.

  • Watch out for items that are small enough to choke on. 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 car 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. Ask the healthcare provider if you have questions.

  • Teach your child to be gentle and cautious with dogs, cats, and other 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:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b

  • Hepatitis A

  • Hepatitis B

  • Influenza (flu)

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella

  • Pneumococcus

  • Polio

  • Varicella (chickenpox)

Teaching good behavior and setting limits

Learning to follow the rules is an important part of growing up. Your toddler may have started to act out by doing things like throwing food or toys. Curiosity may cause your toddler to do something dangerous, such as touching a hot stove. To encourage good behavior and keep your toddler safe, you need to start setting limits and enforcing rules. Here are some tips:

  • Teach your child what’s OK to do and what isn’t. Your child needs to learn to stop what he or she is doing when you say to. Be firm and patient. It will take time for your child to learn the rules. Try not to get frustrated.

  • Be consistent with rules and limits. A child can’t learn what’s expected if the rules keep changing.

  • Ask questions that help your child make choices, such as, “Do you want to wear your sweater or your jacket?” Never ask a "yes" or "no" question unless it is OK to answer "no". For example, don’t ask, “Do you want to take a bath?” Simply say, “It’s time for your bath.” Or offer a choice like, “Do you want your bath before or after reading a book?”

  • Never let your child’s reaction make you change your mind about a limit that you have set. Rewarding a temper tantrum will only teach your child to throw a tantrum to get what he or she wants.

  • If you have questions about setting limits or your child’s behavior, talk to the healthcare provider.

 

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.