Frequently Asked Questions: 12 Months
When can I turn my baby's car seat around?
Before 1 year of age, all babies must ride in a car seat that faces the back of the car. This car seat should always be in the back seat of the car, especially if the front seat is equipped with an air bag.
Your baby can be turned around to face the front of the car when he weighs at least 20 pounds AND is older than 1 year of age. If your baby weighs more than 20 pounds before his first birthday, he should continue to ride in a rear-facing seat. Likewise, if your baby is 1 year old and does not yet weigh 20 pounds, he should continue to ride in a rear-facing seat.
Infant car seats can only be used in the rear-facing position. Some are approved for weights greater than 20 pounds; check the instructions that came with the car seat. Convertible seats are designed for both infants and toddlers, and can be used in either the rear-facing position or the front-facing position. Front-facing seats are designed only for children who are older than 1 year of age and weigh more than 20 pounds, and cannot be used in the rear-facing position.
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A pediatrician said that my child could switch from formula to whole milk at 12 months. Can my child drink skim milk instead?
A baby's first birthday marks the time doctors usually recommend switching from formula to milk because all the necessary iron, vitamins, and other nutrients are in the solid foods she is eating. Whole milk and other dairy products are important because they are fantastic sources of calcium, protein, vitamin D, fat and calories.
Low-fat (1 percent or 2 percent) and skim milk are NOT appropriate for children during their first two years of life because they do not contain enough fat and calories compared with whole milk. Babies and toddlers are growing fast and have high energy needs. The fat in whole milk provides meaningful fuel for proper brain growth and development. In addition, skim milk has proportionately too much protein and sodium (found in salt) for a 1 year old.
Once your child is 2 years old, she can then drink low-fat or skim milk along with the rest of the family. She can even begin to follow a heart-healthy diet, which includes no more than one-third of calories from fat and no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day, just like older kids and adults.
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When should my child have his first visit with the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist for the first time when their first tooth comes in, usually between 6 months and 1 year of age. Visiting the dentist at such a young age helps to establish good dental habits and keep teeth healthy.
Don't be nervous about your child's first visit to the dentist. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to care for children's teeth and will be able to pick up any early problems with your baby's teeth and help correct them right away. They are likely to be sensitive to your child's (and your) fears and anxieties. Prepare your child for the visit by explaining in simple terms what to expect. Avoid using words that might make him fearful (such as, "pain," hurt" or "needles"). The dentist will explain any necessary procedures to your child in a way he can understand.
You can also help keep your child's teeth healthy at home. Never prop the bottle in his mouth or put him to sleep with a bottle. Formula or juice that sits around his teeth can cause cavities. You can also begin cleaning his teeth and gums with a soft cloth or brushing them with a soft, child-sized toothbrush with no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste once or twice a day.