Healthcare tips for one-year-olds

Healthcare tips for one-year-olds

February 22, 2006

As the Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago celebrates its first year, we have put together 10 tips for your child's healthcare as he or she turns one.

These recommendations were developed with Dr. Joel Schwab and other leading pediatricians at Comer Children's Hospital.

Please note they are only guidelines. Please refer individual questions and concerns to your own child's pediatrician.

Immunizations: Immunizations are important to protect your child from many infectious diseases. Check with your child's physician to make sure they are up-to-date and get the vaccines that are scheduled for after your child's first birthday, such as DPT (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis), MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella), Varicella (Chicken Pox), Pneumococcus, Polio and Haemophilus influenza.

Safety: As your child begins to walk, it's essential to child proof your home so they can continue to test out their independence in a safe manner. Place safety gates around stairs and windows to prevent falls, cover electric outlets with plastic caps, hide all wires and cords, and remove poisonous cleaning products from cabinets that are accessible. A one-year-old child must always be supervised.

Oral hygiene: As your child is now developing teeth, make sure they are getting sufficient amounts of fluoride that helps prevent cavities through either tap or bottled water that contains fluoride. Not all bottled water contains fluoride and some water filters can also eliminate fluoride. Also avoid early childhood cavities by not allowing your child to take a bottle to nap or sleep that contains liquids that have sugar in them. If your child insists on taking a bottle, fill it with water instead of sugary liquids. Get in the habit of brushing your child's teeth with a small amount of toothpaste. Your child's first dental appointment should be between the first and second birthday.

Car seats: If your child is one year old and weighs more than 20 pounds, you may turn the car seat around to face forward.

Shoes: With your child either walking or nearing that milestone, think about buying shoes to protect them from injury as they take their first steps. When buying shoes, be practical, and remember they should be soft, wide and inexpensive, as you will be replacing them early and often. Shoes are not necessary to learn to walk and high tops are preferable because they stay on their feet better.

Healthy diet: With your child eating more solid foods, it's important to pay attention to quantity and quality. Avoid high-fat, high sugar, low-nutrition foods, such as chips, pop, and fruit juices. Focus on healthier alternatives, such as fruits and vegetables. Also, it is not too early to begin regulating portions and allowing the child to determine when they are full.

Outdoor care: Your child will be going outside more, so protect them with an appropriate sun block. Apply the sunscreen before they actually get in the sun. Number 15 SPF is sufficient and should be applied at four-hour intervals. With a child's fair skin, make them wear hats and sunglasses when outside, especially during the peak hours of damage from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Apply an appropriate child-safe, non-toxic insect repellent as well. While DEET formulas up to 30 percent are safe for toddlers, there are also non-DEET formulations available (Cutters Advance/Picaridin) that protect against mosquitoes. Directions on the containers must be followed.

Interaction: Parents should help their child's development by maintaining significant interaction with them on a daily basis. Talking, reading, singing to and playing with your child enhance their mental, emotional and social development.

Don't compare: Try not to compare your child's progress with another's as no two children develop alike. Look to see if they are gaining skills and growing their language and socialization talents, including pronouncing simple words, like "mama" and "dada" and being interactive and responsive.

Discipline: Set limits for your children that are appropriate for their age. Timeouts, distractions and being consistent are important ways to enhance good behavior and children should be praised when they do well.

This is not a complete list and should be used only as a guideline by parents. For specific questions and concerns, please seek expert advice from your child's pediatrician.