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Infant vs. Child: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on December 12, 2023
"An infant typically refers to a very young baby, especially from birth to one year old, while a child denotes a young person, usually between infancy and adolescence."

Key Differences

An infant is a term used for a very young baby, often considered to be from birth to 12 months. A child, in contrast, refers to a young person from the toddler stage up to puberty.
The developmental stages of an infant include rapid physical growth and beginning milestones in mobility and speech. In comparison, a child continues to grow and develop more complex skills in these areas.
Nutritionally, infants primarily rely on milk, including breast milk or formula. Children, however, have a more diverse diet, gradually including a variety of solid foods.
In terms of care, infants require constant supervision and assistance in all activities. Children gain increasing independence, learning to perform basic tasks on their own.
Legally and socially, the term infant can be used to define a child under a certain age, often under one year. The term child can encompass a broader age range, often until the age of 18.

Comparison Chart

Age Range

Birth to 12 months
Toddler stage to puberty

Developmental Stage

Rapid physical growth, beginning milestones
Continued growth, complex skill development


Primarily milk-based
Diverse, solid foods

Level of Dependence

Requires constant care
Gains independence

Legal Definition

Often defined as under 1 year
Broadly until the age of 18

Infant and Child Definitions


The term 'infant' can also refer to a person who is immature or inexperienced.
He approached the new task like an infant, unsure and tentative.


A child is a young human being, usually between infancy and adolescence.
The child played happily in the park.


In legal terms, an infant is a minor, particularly under a specific age, often under one year.
The law provides special protection for individuals classified as infants.


In legal terms, a child is a person under a certain age, usually under 18.
The law requires children under 16 to attend school.


An infant is a very young baby, particularly from birth to one year.
The infant cooed softly in her mother's arms.


The word 'child' can refer to a son or daughter at any age.
Even as an adult, she was still her parents' child.


In historical contexts, 'infant' referred to a noble or royal child.
The infant prince was third in line to the throne.


'Child' is used metaphorically to describe someone who is immature or inexperienced.
He acted like a child during the meeting, refusing to listen to reason.


'Infant' can be used metaphorically to describe something in its early stages.
The company, still an infant, was just beginning to grow.


In a broader sense, a child can refer to a descendant or offspring.
She is a child of the mountains, having grown up in a high-altitude village.


A child in the earliest period of life, especially before being able to walk.


A person between birth and puberty.


(Law) A person under the legal age of majority; a minor.


A person who has not attained maturity or the age of legal majority.


What is the legal age of a child?

Legally, a child is often considered as such until the age of 18.

How long do infants typically breastfeed?

Infants often breastfeed for the first 6 to 12 months.

What defines an infant?

An infant is a very young baby, typically under one year old.

At what age does a child start school?

A child usually starts school between 5 and 6 years old.

Are infants aware of their surroundings?

Infants gradually become aware of their surroundings over the first year.

Can infants recognize their parents?

Yes, infants can start recognizing their parents within a few months.

How do you care for an infant?

Caring for an infant involves feeding, bathing, and ensuring their safety.

Do infants need a lot of sleep?

Yes, infants require a lot of sleep for healthy development.

Can children work legally?

In most places, children can work from a certain age, often with restrictions.

How do children express themselves?

Children express themselves through words, play, and art.

When do children start making friends?

Children begin making friends in early childhood, often in preschool.

What activities are good for children?

Activities like playing, reading, and sports are good for children.

Do infants need regular check-ups?

Yes, regular check-ups are important for an infant's health.

What responsibilities do children have?

Children have responsibilities like attending school and following household rules.

What vaccinations do infants need?

Infants need several vaccinations, as recommended by health authorities.

Can infants see color?

Infants begin to see colors at around 4 to 6 months.

How do children learn language?

Children learn language through listening, imitating, and practicing.

When do children develop self-awareness?

Children develop self-awareness around 18 months to 2 years.

What rights do children have?

Children have rights like protection, education, and healthcare.

Is it normal for infants to cry often?

Yes, crying is a normal and important way infants communicate.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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