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NICU Follow-Up 15 months

Adjusted age: measured from the due date

What to expect this month

This can be a really fun time for you as a parent. Your little one is beginning to explore the world in new ways and is eager to do things “all by myself!” Children at this age are watching you very carefully and will copy a lot of what they see you do. This is one of the ways that your child is learning about how the world works. They are using their new physical, thinking and language skills to become a good problem-solver.

Caring for your toddler


At this age, your child should be learning to feed himself. He will use his fingers and maybe start to use a spoon. This is a messy process! That’s O.K.

Your child will learn about eating and food by experiencing it; touch, taste, smell and sight are all part of this process. Make this a fun and safe time. Cut the food into small pieces so that your child will not choke. Provide healthy foods at mealtime and also for snacks. Give snacks such as cheese, fruits and vegetables. Avoid highly processed, nutrient-poor foods that do not provide good fuel for growing bodies and minds.

By now, your toddler should be drinking from a cup only. If your child is still using a bottle, it will soon start to cause problems with his teeth and may even cause ear infections. Your child may be sad to give up his bottle, so try to replace it with another “comfort” item such as a blanket or a stuffed animal. Never let your child take a bottle to bed with him.

Home safety

Your toddler is becoming proficient at moving about his environment and can get from one place to another fairly quickly. It is extremely important at this stage to “toddler-proof” your home. There are several specific areas that should be considered now:

Choking and suffocation

  • Keep plastic bags, balloons, and small hard objects out of reach.
  • Use only unbreakable toys without sharp edges or small parts that can come loose.
  • Cut foods into small pieces. Avoid foods that could cause choking such as popcorn, peanuts, hot dogs and chewing gum.

Fires and burns

  • Keep lighters and matches up and away from reach.
  • Don’t let your child play near the stove.
  • Use back burners on the stove whenever possible and turn pan handles out of reach.
  • Check your hot water heater. Turn it down to 120° F (49° C).

Car safety

  • Never leave your child alone in the car.
  • Use an approved toddler car seat correctly and be a good example by always wearing your seat belt.
  • Never place your toddler in the front seat.

Pedestrian safety

  • Hold onto your child when you are around traffic.
  • Supervise outside play areas.

Water safety

  • Never leave and infant or toddler in a bathtub alone — NEVER.
  • Continuously watch your child around any water, including toilets and buckets. Keep lids of toilets down. Never leave water in an unattended bucket.


  • Keep all medicines, vitamins, cleaning fluids, and other chemicals locked away.
  • Put the poison center number near all phones.
  • Purchase medicines in containers with safety caps.
  • Be aware of houseplants that could be harmful if ingested.


  • It is always a good idea to quit smoking. Set a good example for your child. If you cannot quit, do NOT smoke in the house or near your children.
  • Children who live in a house where someone smokes have more respiratory infections. This is particularly harmful to children who have been born prematurely and are still developing healthy lung tissue.

NICU Follow-Up Program

612-813-6722 Children’s - Minneapolis
651-220-8063 Children’s - St. Paul

Last Reviewed 12/2015

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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