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Well Child Care at 12 Months


Now that your child is 1 year old, you can start using whole milk. If you are ready to wean your child from breast-feeding you can now wean him to whole milk. Toddlers need the calories of whole milk (instead of low-fat or skim) until they are 2 years old. Some children 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 that are cut up into very small pieces are best now. Baby food is usually not needed anymore. It is important for your toddler to be eating foods from many food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products). Most babies have 1 to 2 snacks each day. Cheese, fruit, and vegetables are all good snacks. Serve milk at all meals.

Your child will not grow as fast during the second year of life. Your toddler may eat less. Trust his appetite.


All children are different. Some 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 helps them learn more words. Speak in a conversational voice with your child and give them lots of encouragement to use their voice. Smile and praise your child when he learns new things. Allow your child to touch things while you name them. Children enjoy knowing that you are pleased that they are learning.

As children learn to walk they will want to explore new places. This is normal. Watch your child closely.

Read to your child every day. Children who have books read to them learn more quickly. Choose books with interesting pictures and colors.

Normal Development: 12 Months


Shoes protect your child's feet, but are not necessary when your child is learning to walk inside. When your child finally needs shoes, choose shoes with a flexible sole.

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 120F (50C).

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, never leave water in an unattended bucket, 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.


At the 12-month visit, your child may receive shots. Your child may run a fever and be irritable for about 1 day and may also have soreness, redness, and swelling in the area where the shots were given. You may give your child 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 health care provider if:

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

If your child received either the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or the varicella vaccine, please note: A small number of children get a rash and fever 7 to 14 days after these shots. The rashes usually appear on the main body area and last 2 to 3 days.

Call your child's health care provider immediately if:

  • The rash changes to purple spots.

Call your child's health care provider 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. Bring your child's shot card to all visits.

Written by Robert Brayden, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-09-12
Last reviewed: 2006-08-22
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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