Worth a Shot
For tots younger than 5, the flu isn't only an inconvenience; it can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia that could land your baby in the hospital. That's why a flu vaccine, which can prevent 66 percent of infections in young children, is an absolute must for kids 6 months of age and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. Because an infant younger than 6 months is too young for the shot, anyone who will be in close contact with him (including parents, grandparents, siblings, and caregivers) should be certain to get one. "The idea is to create 'herd immunity' so everyone around your baby is protected, which, in turn, shields your child, says CDC spokesperson Jeff Dimond. This year's shot guards against H1N1 and two seasonal viruses (influenza A and B). If it's your child's first flu shot, he'll need two doses at least four weeks apart to be fully protected.