12 Worries Not to Stress Over

Newborn Fears

"I'm afraid my baby will stop breathing while he's sleeping."

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is linked to about 2,250 deaths in the U.S. every year, is a legitimate worry for new parents. But you can easily cut your baby's risk in half by following these simple rules: Put him to sleep on his back; get rid of blankets, pillows, bumpers, and sleep positioners; and don't co-sleep with him. Bedsharing has been linked to a heightened risk of accidental suffocation and strangulation. "Although the risk of SIDS ends when your child turns 1, you can rest a little easier once he hits the 6-month mark," says Rachel Moon, M.D., a pediatrician and SIDS researcher at Children's National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. Still hovering over your child's crib, searching for a steady breathing pattern long after his first birthday? Chalk it up to a basic protective parent reflex, and know that you're not alone.

"I'm afraid we'll never have enough money for college."

You run a race one step at a time, and the same is true of building a college fund, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of finaid.org, which provides financial-aid information to families. His suggestions:

Don't let the numbers scare you. Parents whose kids will graduate in 2030 will be expected to fork over $240,000 for four years at a public university. But college costs aren't the only thing that will increase over time. Your salary will also be adjusted for inflation (and, hopefully, promotions).

Factor in financial aid. A typical middle-class family pays only about one third of a child's college cost from their savings. The rest comes from aid, scholarships, and student loans.

Start saving today. If you open a 529 College Savings Plan (which grows tax-free as long as you use the money to pay for qualified higher-education costs) the year your child is born, put in $2,000 annually, and average an 8 percent return, you'll have more than $72,000 socked away by the time she enrolls. But if you wait until she's 10, you'll save only $19,300. Choose your state's 529 plan if you get a state income-tax deduction. Otherwise, look for one with a low fee (less than 1 percent) and a high rating from morningstar.com.

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