Why This liver infection is mainly spread through contact with blood and other bodily fluids, but family members and caregivers who may not even know they're infected can also pass it on to babies. Infants who contract hepatitis B are more likely than adults to develop severe liver disease (including cirrhosis and cancer), which is why newborns should get their first dose shortly after birth.
When At birth, between 1 and 2 months, and again at 6 to 18 months
Common Side Effects Pain, redness, and tenderness at the injection site
DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis)
Why About 1 in 20 babies infected with diphtheria, an extremely contagious bacterial disease, dies from suffocation or heart failure or suffers paralysis. The illness causes a thick coating to form on the back of the throat that makes it hard to swallow and breathe. Tetanus (lockjaw) results from certain bacteria (sometimes found in soil) entering the body through a cut or wound, causing painful spasms and muscle stiffness. The initial symptoms of pertussis (whooping cough) are similar to those for the common cold: sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever, and cough. Pertussis is most serious for babies, who can suffer seizures, develop pneumonia, become brain damaged, or even die. Approximately two-thirds of infants under age 1 who get pertussis need to be hospitalized.
When 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months
Common Side Effects Pain, redness, and tenderness at the injection site; mild fever; drowsiness; fussiness