"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.