Health and Safety, Birth to 2 Years - Healthy Habits for Preventing Infection and Illness
immune systems of babies and young children up to 24
months of age are still developing. This makes them especially prone to getting
sick after being exposed to viruses and bacteria. Exposure to common
pathogens can occur from person-to-person contact and
from improperly prepared food. Good hygiene practices can help you protect your
child from exposure to these germs.
Safe food preparation
You can prevent most cases of food poisoning by being careful when you prepare and store food. Wash your hands and working surfaces while preparing food, cook foods to safe temperatures, and refrigerate foods promptly. Be especially careful when cooking or heating perishable foods, such as eggs, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, and milk products.
To help prevent food poisoning:
For more information, see the topic
Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling.
Protect against the spread of illness
Colds and flu can occur at any time of year. These upper respiratory infections (URIs) spread easily. Babies and
young children have a higher risk for secondary infections
from these illnesses. Take extra care to help protect your child against
- Be sure your child gets all needed vaccines (immunizations). These vaccines provide important protection for your child against harmful disease. For more information, see the topic
- Avoid germs and people who are sick.
Keep your child away from other people who are obviously ill. And avoid exposing your child to a large crowd, especially when an easily spread illness is going around.
- Wash your hands and wash and disinfect surfaces and toys often to help prevent the spread of germs.
Visit the doctor regularly
Go to all
well-child visits. During these visits, the doctor:
- Gives your child a general physical exam.
- Gives or schedules immunizations.
- Asks you questions about your child's health and development and whether you have any concerns.