Top 5 things doctors wish you'd do for your toddler

1. Don't turn the car seat around on your child's first birthday
Many parents eagerly do, since some kids like the car better once they're facing forward and it's easier to see the child that way. But it's safer to hold off. Studies show it's safer for kids all the way up to 4 years old to sit rear-facing, thus it's better to keep your toddlers facing backward until they outgrow the height and weight limits of their convertible car seat (meaning one designed to face either backward or forward), usually sometime around 15 to 18 months.

2. Know this life-saving number
Make sure everyone who cares for your toddler knows this number: 1-800-222-1222 (for US only).
That's the nationwide number for Poison Control, and once you have a mobile, curious toddler, it's important to display it someplace prominent. Everyone caring for your child should have easy access to this number, including grandparents and babysitters. Program it into your cell phone, too, in case your toddler swallows something while you're out of the house.

3. Go easy on the juice
Many kids are getting way too much of it. It's leading to weight problems and cavities, among other nutrition and health issues.
Your toddler doesn't necessarily need juice at all, but if you do offer it, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 4 to 6 ounces a day for kids age 1 to 6 so it doesn't replace other foods. A lot of toddlers start to fill up on liquids – they drink mostly milk or juice – and they have no appetite for meals. To prevent tooth decay, don't let your toddler wander around with a sippy cup of juice for too long, and don't serve it at bedtime.

4. Stay strong during food battles
Just continue offering healthy foods rather than just catering to your child's preferences. Food jags are normal, but that doesn't mean you should cave in and start serving, say, only white foods. If kids are hungry, they'll eventually eat at least some of what you serve. And remember, at this age, one day they'll love zucchini and one day they won't. Just because they reject it once doesn't mean they won't eat it the next time.

5. Drink a glass of milk