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    Baby Development: Your 6-Month-Old

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    You may be lucky enough to have a friend or relative nearby to babysit. If not, here are a few tips for choosing a safe and trustworthy childcare provider:

    • Visit several childcare centers. Spend as much time as possible at each one to get a feel for what your baby might experience there. If you’re able, drop in unannounced so you can see how the center runs when they’re not prepared for a visit.
    • Check to make sure that the facility provides a clean, safe environment. There should be no obvious safety hazards -- such as dangling cords, open outlets, or small toys -- and emergency procedures should be clearly posted.
    • Ask about the ratio of staff members to children. The fewer children per staff member, the better. Each state’s requirement for licensed childcare centers varies, but most stipulate no more than three to six babies for every one childcare worker.
    • Find out about the background of every person who will be watching your child. Make sure the facility conducts careful background checks of all their employees, from the childcare workers to the maintenance people.

    Tips for Baby’s Sixth Month

    • Be on the lookout for signs that your baby is not hitting important milestones, like babbling, sitting unassisted, smiling, making eye contact, or responding to sounds. If you’re concerned she has missed any milestone, call your pediatrician.
    • Play peek-a-boo and similar games with your baby. It will help teach the idea of object permanence -- that objects still exist, even when they’re out of sight.
    • Place toys just out of reach on the floor to encourage your baby to start crawling.
    • If you have older children, make sure to put away toys with tiny pieces to prevent your baby from choking.
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