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A Child's Milestones Between Months 12 - 18

Heather Morris, a Registered General Nurse and a State Certified Midwife of over 25 years, provides an overview of a infant's development during the age range of 12 months and 18 months. The below report details milestones babies may be reaching at this age, advice which may be helpful to parents and, potential red flags to look out for.

A Child's Milestones Between Months 12 - 18

Heather Morris, a Registered General Nurse and a State Certified Midwife of over 25 years, provides an overview of a infant's development during the age range of 12 months and 18 months. The below report details milestones babies may be reaching at this age, advice which may be helpful to parents and, potential red flags to look out for.

Overview of Milestones Expected Between 12 - 18 Months

Motor skills: walking independently often with uneven steps, can stand without help, kneels unaided, may be able to negotiate stairs.

Cognitive development and fine motor skills: demands desired objects out of reach by pointing with index finger, may build a tower of two or three blocks.

Hearing, Speech and Language Development: says two to six recognisable words, understands and follows simple, familiar instructions.

Social, Emotional and Behavioural Development: very curious, looks for a hidden toy, holds and drinks from a cup, manages finger foods quite competently.

An In-depth Review of a Baby’s Development at 18 months

By the age of 18 months, most babies are starting to walk independently taking uneven steps, with their feet wide apart and arms held out for balance. They will transition from standing to sitting by collapsing backwards with a bump, or by falling forwards onto their hands and then push themselves back to sitting. They may be able to climb upstairs and then come back down backwards.

At this age, a baby will need constant supervision as they become increasingly mobile and interested in exploring their environment. They will pick up small objects with a precise grip and point to toys they want, which are out of reach. After watching a demonstration, they may be able to build a tower using two or three blocks and be able to put pegs into holes with some precision. They may be able to start making marks using a crayon.

Their speech and language skills will be developing, and they will be able to say at least six recognisable words. Every week, they will understand more new words and will be able to follow simple instructions such as ‘Don’t touch’ and ‘Give me the toy’. They will point to familiar toys when asked to. Their needs will be vocalised with patterns of intonation that sound like connected speech. They will be affectionate with people they know but may be shy with strangers.

Babies of 18 months will show a lively interest in toys and games; and will be intensely curious about their surroundings. They will be able to hold and drink from a cup, manage finger foods quite competently and start using a spoon for eating.

Babies aged 12 to 18 months may develop nappy rash, particularly when new foods are added to their diet, as this may lead to bouts of diarrhoea. Regular nappy changing and a good skincare routine using a protective barrier ointment will help to prevent nappy rash.

Advice which may be useful for parents

At 18 months, a baby may be: saying a few recognisable words, standing up and walking a few steps without help, starting to feed themselves

  • Give them safe areas where they can explore and move around .
  • Sing and dance together to nursery rhymes and music.
  • Start drawing and colouring together.
  • Try messy play with sand, water and paint to help their creative development.
  • Continue to protect against nappy rash by changing nappies as soon as they are soiled, keeping the skin clean and using a protective barrier ointment.

Health checks / interventions (12-18 months)

At twelve months or just after their first birthday, a baby should receive the following vaccinations: Hib/Men C booster, Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) booster, Meningococcal B booster and Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

Potential ‘red flag’ warnings (18 months)

Any of the following could indicate a ‘red flag’ warning at 18 months:

  • Lacks interest in playing and interacting with others.
  • No clear words.
  • Not able to understand short requests (e.g. ‘Where is the ball?’).
  • Does not attempt to stack blocks after demonstration.
  • Does not scribble with a crayon.
  • Not standing independently.
  • Not attempting to walk without support.

It is also worth checking the ‘red flag’ warnings highlighted in previous milestones (newborns to 12 months). Allowances need to be made for babies born prematurely, based on their gestational i.e. corrected age.

 

Reference sources

CF Dosman, D Andrews, KJ Goulden. Evidence-based milestone ages as a framework for developmental surveillance. Paediatr Child Health 2012;17(10):561-568.

Ajay Sharma, 2014, Mary Sheridan's From Birth to Five Years: Children's Developmental Progress 4th Edition

Morris H, The bottom line on nappy rash, British Journal of Midwifery, 2012, Vol 20, No 9

Red Flags early identification guide – birth to five years, Childrens Health Queensland hospital

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/831680/

Greenbook_chapter_11_UK_Immunisation_schedule.pdf  accessed 1st October 2019

 

Read more from Heather on a baby's development

Months 9 - 12

Months 9 - 12

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18 months - 2 years

18 months - 2 years

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