Health and Safety, Birth to 2 Years
Healthy Habits for Preventing Infection and Illness
The Reference immune systems Opens New Window 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 Reference pathogens Opens New Window 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.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the following steps to prevent food poisoning:
- Reference Prepare food safely.
- Reference Shop safely.
- Reference Cook foods safely.
- Reference Store foods safely. Take special care when Reference storing breast milk or formula for bottle-feedings.
- Reference Follow labels on food packaging.
- Choose restaurants wisely. Be sure they handle food safely.
For more information, see the topic Reference Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling.
Protect against the spread of illness
Colds and flu can occur at any time of year. These Reference upper respiratory infections (URIs) Opens New Window spread easily. Babies and young children have a higher risk for Reference secondary infections Opens New Window from these illnesses. Take extra care to help protect your child against infections.
- 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 Reference Immunizations.
- Reference 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.
- Reference Wash your hands and Reference wash and disinfect surfaces and toys often to help prevent the spread of germs.
Visit the doctor regularly
Go to all Reference 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.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 25, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics