Babies may get a few shots at their 18-month checkup if they did not get them during their last checkup.
- Fourth dose of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
- Third dose of IPV (polio)
- Third dose of HepB (hepatitis B)
- HepA (hepatitis A)
- Any catch-up vaccination that may be pending from the earlier schedule
- Other additional vaccines, such as varicella, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), vaccines against pneumococcus and meningitis, according to the pediatrician’s recommendation
What to expect at your baby’s checkup at 18 months?
When your baby turns 18 months old, your baby’s pediatrician will want to know if the baby is growing normally and as expected. They will measure your baby’s height, weight and head circumference and plot them on a growth chart. In case they think there is delayed growth or some other problems with your toddler, they may also advise screening tests for developmental delays and autism.
The pediatrician will ask you a few questions and provide you guidance related to the same.
Question 1: Is your baby eating well?
Question 2: Is your baby peeing and pooping well?
Question 3: How well is your baby sleeping?
Question 4: Is your child meeting their developmental milestones?
The pediatrician would like to know if the child can
- Say 10 to 20 words
- Walk or run
- Walk up the stairs with support
- Throw a ball
- Scribble on paper
- Point at objects
During the visit, the doctor will also perform examinations, such as
What should you do after a child turns 18 months old?
You should take the following steps after your child turns 18 months old:
- Encourage your child to talk by talking with them, reading books aloud in front of them and having frequent interactions with them.
- When you are reading a story, ask them about the characters.
- Play music as the music also helps with language development.
- Potty training: Look for signs that indicate your baby is ready to get toilet-trained. They may pull their pants up and down or go to the toilet to show that they want to poop. Celebrate with your child when they use the potty, even if they did not do anything. This will encourage them to use the toilet for bowel movements.
- Dental care: Brush your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush and mild toothpaste. Schedule a visit to the dentist if you have not yet done so.
- Bedtime routine: Make your child go to the bed at the same time every day. Establish a good bedtime routine. If they are still active and not willing to sleep, you can play soft music or use white noise to calm them to sleep.
- Protection from the sun: To prevent your child from developing sunburn or photosensitivity while out in the sun, apply sunscreen of sun protection factor (SPF) 30 on their face and the exposed parts of the body. Reapply after every two to three hours.
- Protection from smoking: Do not smoke around the child. Protect them from second-hand smoke.
How to make sure your 18-month-old baby stays safe
Once your 18-month-old child learns to walk and run, their curiosity can make them do potentially dangerous things. Here is how to make your home safe for your child.
- Keep household chemicals (insect sprays, floor cleaners), medications, glass items and other hazardous things away from your baby’s reach. They may break the glass and hurt themselves. They can drink insect sprays or ingest medications out of curiosity.
- Install safety gates near the main door and your child’s room.
- Maintain a close watch when your child climbs the stairs.
- Your child may go to the bathroom, near the toilet seat and start playing with water. To avoid drowning, shut the bathroom doors.
- Never leave a child unattended.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Kids Health: "Your Child's Checkup: 1.5 Years (18 Months)." https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/checkup-18mos.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Immunization Schedules." https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html