The toddler months continue to bring the medical challenges of colds,
scrapes and bruises, and other minor emergencies. You'll
also find yourself dealing with an emerging personality and increasing conflicts.
Your doctor will see your child four times for routine well visits during this
period, at 12, 15, 18, and 24 months. If your toddler has missed any immunizations,
or if a problem has been detected that needs special attention, additional visits
may be scheduled.
What to Expect During the Office Visit
The well-child checkups
during your child's second year are similar to those before, but discussions with
your doctor about behavior and habits may become more detailed as your toddler gets
Your toddler's checkup will include:
Measurement of your child's length, weight, and head circumference. Growth will
be plotted on the growth
chart, and you'll be advised of your toddler's progress.
A physical exam.
A review of your toddler's development through both observation and your progress
report. Is your tot starting to walk? Scribbling? Following simple instructions? Saying
a few words? Combining two words by age 2? The doctor may ask you these questions
and others like them.
The doctor may go over safety questions such as: Have you childproofed your home?
(You'll need to review your babyproofing
efforts now that your toddler can stand and reach.) Is your tot in an appropriate
safety seat while riding
in the car?
A discussion of your child's eating habits. Is he or she eating a variety of foods?
Finger feeding or using a spoon? Using a cup? Being weaned
from the breast or bottle? Most doctors advise a switch from bottle to cup between
12 and 18 months.
Advice on what to expect in the coming months.
If they haven't already, kids this age might undergo a tuberculin skin test, especially
those at risk for tuberculosis.
You'll be given instructions on how to monitor the test and report results to the
doctor's office. Your doctor may recommend a blood test to check for anemia
and lead poisoning.
Address any questions or concerns you have, and write down any specific instructions
the doctor gives you regarding special care. Keep updating your child's permanent
medical record, listing
information on growth and any problems or illnesses.
Immunizations Your Child Will Receive
A child who did not have them at the 12-month visit will get these vaccines at
the third or fourth Hib
vaccine, depending on the manufacturer
Your child may also get a flu
shot, which is recommended every year before flu season for children older than
6 months. If your child is at high risk for developing meningococcal disease, a serious
infection that can lead to bacterial meningitis,
your doctor may offer the meningococcal
vaccine as well.
Discuss possible vaccine reactions with your doctor and get advice on when to call
There is a wide range of normal when it comes to reaching developmental milestones.
But by 18 months, most toddlers:
walk on their own
speak at least 15 words
By age 2, toddlers should be able to:
put two words together to form a sentence
follow simple directions
push and pull a toy
Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your child's development.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
By now you have probably called your doctor's office many times with questions
and concerns about your child's health. Don't hesitate to notify the doctor if you
think that something is wrong — you know your child best.
And always call the doctor if your child has a fever,
is acting sick, has serious problems sleeping, is refusing all food or drink, is vomiting, or has diarrhea.