Skip to content
First Things First First Things First

Regular check-ups and shots can prevent many childhood health problems. They also help prevent costly visits to the emergency room. Taking care of your child’s health helps them grow and learn. Try to take your child to the same health care provider each time. They will get to know you and your child, her records will be in one place, and she is likely to be more relaxed in a familiar place.

A child during a health checkup

When Your Child Is Sick

At your baby’s first doctor visit, ask when you should call the doctor and when you should call 9-1-1.

  • Always call the doctor or clinic if you are worried, or if your baby does not get better in a few days.
  • Call the doctor if your infant is less than 3 months old and has a fever.
  • Call the doctor if your baby has repeated diarrhea or vomiting. And make sure she gets plenty of liquids.
  • For fever, ask your doctor if you should give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or another medicine. Do not give aspirin. It can cause a rare but serious disease called Reye’s Syndrome. And do not use ibuprofen before 6 months.
  • For more information, contact the Birth to Five Helpline. Or visit KidsHealth.




Children at a poolProtect Your Child from the Sun

Too much sun and heat can cause sunburn, skin cancer and overheating.

  • Use baby-safe, broad-spectrum sunscreen and a hat with a brim. Cover as much skin as possible with clothing. Use sunglasses with 99% UV protection.
  • Keep babies under 6 months out of direct sunlight. Use a shaded stroller, and look for shady play areas.
  • When the weather is very hot, keep children inside.
  • Call 9-1-1 if your child has signs of overheating: weakness, nausea, headache, heavy sweating, rapid heartbeat, confusion, muscle cramps or dry skin with no sweating.

Protect Your Child’s Lungs

Children’s lungs are more easily damaged than adults’ lungs. To protect them:

  • Do not allow anyone to smoke around your children.
  • If it is windy and dusty, keep children inside.
  • Open windows and doors when weather permits.
  • Try to avoid scented cleaners and candles.
  • Vacuum often.

Hearing and Vision Care

  • Parents are often the first to notice a hearing or vision problem. If you are worried about your child, talk to her doctor and ask for a screening.
  • Be sure to follow up if problems were found in your child’s newborn hearing test.
  • Your child should have her first eye exam at age 3 or 4.
  • For vision and hearing care for children, call your health care provider.
  • For low-cost vision care, contact Sight for Students.

The First Things First Parent Kit was developed in partnership with Health Research for Action/UC Berkeley. © 2018 The Regents of the University of California. Additional video, graphic and other content © 2018 First Things First. All rights reserved.

Stay Up To Date.

Join our email list to keep up with the latest news and information from FTF

Send me:

© First Things First. All Rights Reserved. • Privacy PolicyAccessibilityWebsite FeedbackOmbudsman-Citizens Aide