Tis the season

While still a dangerous infection, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reports child mortality rates due to pneumonia decreased by 44 percent between 2000 and 2013. Most cases of pneumonia (an infection of the lung) are caused by other infections — respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, parainfluenza — that spread to the chest.

Pneumonia usually produces a fever and loss of appetite and energy. Infected babies and toddlers may also become pale and cry more than usual.

Because pneumonia is a lung infection, you may also notice the following symptoms: cough, labored breathing, wheezing or pain in the chest. Here are a few other warning signs:

  • Signs of an infection throughout the body, including swollen joints, neck stiffness or vomiting.
  • Fever lasts more than a few days despite using antibiotics.
  • Breathing difficulties.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children, starting at two months old, receive this immunization; either PCV13 or pneumococcal conjugate. Another vaccine (PPV23) is recommended for children between the ages of 24 months and 59 months.

Speaking their language

By the time your baby can speak their first words, they already have a basic understanding of about 70 words. Parents love talking, reading and singing to their babies. Those little moments when changing a diaper, or trying to calm or sing baby to sleep, really add up. By the time your baby turns one, they can understand a lot of what you’re saying, even if baby can only speak a small amount.

Twin magic

The number of twins being born in the United States is multiplying. A 2012 study by the National Center for Health Statistics shows a rise in twin births by 76 percent between 1980 and 2009. Several factors, including the increased use of fertility drugs and the number of women getting pregnant after the age of 30, contribute to the chance for a twin birth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2013 that out of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. that year, 33.7 were twins.

Slippery situation

Being pregnant changes your center of gravity and as conditions get icy, it’s understandable that expectant mothers want to be extra cautious while venturing outside. Good, supportive, no-slip boots are a safe bet during wintery conditions. Also, make sure you aren’t carrying anything too heavy that could throw off your balance even further.