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How to Keep Your Baby Healthy continued...

Practice crowd control. "When you've got a newborn, you really don't want to be around a lot of people," Frenck tells WebMD. "There's always the potential that some of them will be sick." So when your baby is small, you may want to avoid large family gatherings and crowded places like malls. Once your baby's a little older -- at least over the 3-month mark -- then you can start being more adventurous.

Screen your guests. People may forget just how vulnerable little babies are to germs. So it won't hurt to remind anyone who's planning a visit that they should stay home if they're sick. Offer to reschedule as soon as they're feeling better.

Invoke a higher authority. If you're worried that you won't be able to stop a particularly determined relative from kissing your baby's cheeks, cite doctor's orders. "I usually tell parents to blame it on me," says Altmann. "I suggest that they tell people that because their baby is just so small, the pediatrician said that no one should touch him because he might get sick."

Coping with sick sitters. Here's one scenario that parents dread: opening the door to a babysitter to find her pale and sniffling. What's a parent to do when a child-care worker is sick? There's no easy answer. If your baby's in day care, ask the management about their policies. Are teachers supposed to stay home when they're sick? If they do work sick, what extra precautions do they take to protect the kids? One thing to consider when choosing a day care is whether employees get paid sick days. If they don't, the staff is more likely to work sick out of necessity.

Ultimately, you have to make a judgment call. In some cases, it may be better to cancel your plans or take a day off instead of letting a sick person take care of your kid. But that's not always an option. If you have to leave your baby with a person who's sick, just ask that they do what they can to keep your baby healthy – and make sure they're stocked with lots of hand sanitizer and tissues.

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