Children & Adolescents Clinic

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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
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Well Child Care at 12 Months


Now that your child is 1 year old, you may start using whole milk instead of formula or breast milk. Babies need whole milk (instead of low-fat or skim) until they are 2 years old. Some babies have harder bowel movements at first with whole milk. Now is also the time to wean completely off the bottle and switch to the cup.

Table foods are best now. Baby food is usually not needed anymore. Most babies have 1 to 2 snacks each day. Cheese, fruit, and vegetables are all good snacks. Serve milk at all meals.

Babies do not grow as fast during the second year of life. Your baby may not eat as much as he used to. Trust your baby's appetite.


All babies are different. Some babies have learned to walk before their first birthday. Most 1-year-olds use and know the meaning of words like "mama" and "dada." Pointing to things and saying the word for them helps babies learn more words. Allowing children to touch things while you repeat the word also helps them learn new words. Be sure to smile and praise your child when he learns new things. Babies enjoy knowing that you are pleased that they are learning.

As babies learn to walk they will want to explore new places. This is normal. Watch your baby closely. Babies need parents to protect them.

For more information see: Normal Development: 12 Months

Safety Tips

Avoid Choking and Suffocation

  • Avoid foods on which a child might choke easily (candy, hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts).
  • Cut food into small pieces, about half the width of a pencil.
  • Store toys in a chest without a dropping lid.

Prevent Fires and Burns

  • Practice a fire escape plan.
  • Check your smoke detector. Replace the batteries if necessary.
  • Put plastic covers in unused electrical outlets.
  • Keep hot appliances and cords out of reach.
  • Keep all electrical appliances out of the bathroom.
  • Don't cook with your child at your feet.
  • Use the back burners on the stove with the pan handles out of reach.
  • Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees F (50 degrees C).

Prevent Drowning

  • Never leave an infant or toddler in a bathtub alone -- NEVER.
  • Continuously watch your child around any water, including toilets and buckets. Keep toilet seats down and store buckets upside down.

Avoid Falls

  • Make sure windows are closed or have screens that cannot be pushed out.
  • Don't underestimate your child's ability to climb.

Prevent Poisoning

  • Keep all medicines, vitamins, cleaning supplies, and gardening chemicals locked away or disposed of safely.
  • Install safety latches on cabinets.
  • Keep the poison center number on all phones. The poison control number is ______________________.
  • Ask your doctor about syrup of Ipecac. Use it only if you are told to do so.


At the 12-month visit, your baby may receive shots. Your baby may run a fever and be irritable for about 1 day after the shots. Your baby may also have some soreness, redness, and swelling in the area where the shots were given. You may give your baby acetaminophen drops (1 dropperful, or 0.8 ml, every 4 to 6 hours) to help to prevent fever and irritability. For swelling or soreness, put a wet, warm washcloth on the area of the shots as often and as long as needed for comfort.

Call your child's physician if:

  • Your child has a rash or any other reaction to the shots besides fever and mild irritability.
  • Your child has a fever that lasts more than 36 hours.

If your child received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, please note the following: A small number of children get a rash and fever 7 to 14 days after the MMR shot. This pink rash occurs usually on the main body area and lasts 2 to 3 days.

Call your child's physician immediately if:

  • The rash changes to purple spots.

Call your child's physician within 24 hours if:

  • The rash becomes itchy.
  • The rash lasts more than 3 days.

Next Visit

Your child's next visit should be at the age of 15 months. Please be sure to bring your child's shot card at that time.

Written by Robert Brayden, M.D.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems