9 months




These skills tend to be quite variable. But at this age the typical child:

  • Sits well.
  • Crawls, creeps on their hands.
  • Pulls to a stand; cruises around the furniture.
  • Uses a pincer grasp; pokes with the index finger.
  • Finger feeds partially.
  • Imitates vocalizations; uses one and two syllable babbling.
  • Responds to their name, and to questions such as "Where is mama?".
  • Understands a few words: "no-no" or "bye-bye."
  • Enjoys social games such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.
  • Reacts to strangers with caution or fear.
  • Retrieves a toy hidden by a cloth.


Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:

  • Use gates on stairwells, and safety devices on windows and screens.
  • As children begin to pull up, they may grab and pull down tablecloths on which heavy or hot containers have been placed.
  • Keep sharp objects in a secure place.
  • Prevent the child from playing with electrical sockets or cords.
  • Do not give infants foods (peanuts, hot dogs, popcorn, frozen peas, corn, beans, raw carrots, apple, grapes or raisins) that they may easily choke on.
  • Do not store toxic substances in empty pop bottles, glasses or jars.
  • Upgrade to a new toddler seat when your baby weighs 20 pounds.


These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:

  • Encourage babbling and communication. Imitate the baby's sounds.
  • Play social games to help develop interaction and imitation.
  • Encourage exploration by the child.
  • As your child becomes more independent and explores more, it is okay to set limits, give verbal "no's" and remove the infant from potential dangers.


Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:

  • Use table foods while the child is sitting at the table with the family.
  • Feeding may be reduced to four times daily.
  • Give toast or a teething biscuit for self-feeding.
  • Encourage drinking from a cup.
  • Be aware of how little and how whimsically the child may eat toward the end of the first year.
  • Continue fluoride supplementation if needed.


Childhood behavior may go from one extreme to another. This age is no exception:

  • Sleep problems may be alleviated if a regular bedtime routine is followed.
  • Infants will often have night awakening; use a favorite toy or object to ease the transition back to sleep.
  • Many children at this age cry when the parents leave their presence. This is a normal stage, and is not due to spoiling or a parents return to work.


Health maintenance is essential to a child's well-being:

  • Brush teeth twice a day with water; avoid fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Perform frequent hand washing.
  • Children may still nap once or twice a day.
  • Shoes are needed only to protect the feet from sharp objects and the cold.
  • Shoes should be flexible, the sole of the shoe should be of a nonskid material and the upper should be of a breathable material.
  • There is no scientific basis for shoes helping with out- and in-toeing.


The following items may be useful:

  • Brazelton, T. Berry. Doctor and Child. Dell, 1978.
  • Christopherson, Edward R. Little People: Guidelines for Common Sense Child Rearing
  • Green, Martin I. A Sigh of Relief: The First Aid Handbook for Childhood Emergencies
  • Larson, David E. Mayo Clinic Family Health Book. 2nd Ed. William Morrow & Co., Inc., NY, 1996.
  • Philadelphia Child Guidance Center. Your Child's Emotional Health. Macmillan, NY, 1993.
  • Schmidt, Barton, MD. Your Child's Health (Bantam Books)

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