How can I keep baby healthy outside the home?
By Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell
You can take your newborn to the park, the supermarket, or to grandma's house. Avoid crowded places, though, if it's the peak of flu and cold season. And wait to visit friends or relatives who have a contagious illness. This is especially important until your baby is a month old.

Have visitors wash their hands before they hold your baby. Ask them not to touch your baby's hands at all. Any germs on his hands will almost certainly end up in his mouth. Young children can touch your baby's feet or legs instead of his hands or face. If friends or friendly strangers on the street reach for your newborn's fingers, just clean your baby's hands with a diaper wipe as soon as the well-wishers are gone.

Remember to wash your own hands often, too, especially if you have older children, whose germs you may be carrying. Good hand-washing on your part is the best way to see that neither you nor baby brings an illness home with you. And always bring your baby's health card and immunization record along in case you need medical attention while on the road. If your child has a complex medical problem, take along a summary (which your child's primary care provider can give you).

Don't shy away from taking baby out into the world. Infants are excellent travelers if you keep their point-of-view in mind. And they benefit from all the new sights and sounds. Today it's easier than ever to bring everything baby needs with you.