Developing Motor Skills
Your child will rapidly become more sure-footed between 16 and 18 months. A beginning walker staggers about with hands held high for balance. Gradually, though, he'll begin to feel more comfortable walking with his hands at his sides. By 18 months, he'll smooth out that awkward, wide-legged lurch and start walking more smoothly. He may even pick up the pace and try running. Another new milestone: picking up something and carrying it, made possible by better balance and stronger muscles.
This may be the age when your baby's inner daredevil begins to surface. "Most children can climb stairs in a crawl position by now," says Dr. Sonnen, "and by 18 months, many can climb onto chairs and couches."
Not to worry, though: Your child may be more cautious than she appears. In one recent study, 16-month-olds were given the choice of walking across a narrow wooden board or a wide one. The toddlers had no trouble crossing on the wide boards but wisely stayed off the narrow ones unless the experimenters added a handrail.