How well do you know the latest facts about your infant's health? Take our quiz to find out.


The Test

As a parent today, you have access to more sources of baby information than any other generation of moms and dads. But how much do you really know about the early life of an infant? Take our comprehensive quiz, then follow our advice on where to turn for more newborn knowledge.

1. By the end of his second month, your baby should be able to:

a. Regularly focus on objects that are several feet away from him

b. Respond to pastel colors more than bright, contrasting patterns

c. Visually follow moving objects

d. Demonstrate hand-eye coordination

2. What should you do if an infant younger than 4 months has a runny or congested nose?

a. Use a bulb syringe to suction mucus from her nose

b. Give her medicated nasal spray

c. Help her blow her nose

d. Give her aspirin

3. True or false: When you suspect your child has an ear infection, you should give him ear drops.

a. True

b. False


Baby's Health

4. Which of the following is not a symptom of colic?

a. Nonstop crying

b. Excessive sleepiness

c. An enlarged stomach

d. Passing gas

5. At what temperature does a newborn have a fever?

a. 99.6°

b. 100.2°

c. 101.4°

d. 103°

6. Which of the following statements about vaccines is not true?

a. Hepatitis A vaccines should be given only to those children who are living in high-risk countries

b. It's unsafe for those children who are allergic to eggs to receive the influenza vaccine

c. Rabies vaccines, when necessary, now require only five shots (instead of the dozen-plus from years ago) and have few side effects

d. The pneumococcal vaccine is in short supply and is currently recommended only for those children who are at high risk of developing illnesses such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections

7. All of the following can help prevent sudden infant death sydrome (SIDS) except:

a. Putting your baby in a crib free of loose bedding (including pillows, quilts, blankets, bumpers, and stuffed toys)

b. Closely watching him while he sleeps on his stomach

c. Avoiding exposing him to smoke from any kind of tobacco

d. Keeping the temperature in his room comfortable

Nutrition and Rashes

8. Which of these foods can be dangerous for infants if you prepare it at home?

a. Applesauce

b. Pureed carrots

c. Pureed pears

d. Pureed peas

9. True or false: Children under the age of 1 often suffer from seasonal allergies.



10. What should you do if your child has cradle cap, or scaly patches on his head?

a. Avoid scrubbing the baby's soft spot

b. Wash his hair and brush out the scales

c. Avoid washing his hair

d. Apply baby oil to his head

Answer Key

1. c. During the first few weeks after birth, your baby might seem to stare through objects waved in front of him, but after one to two months he should be able to track an object moving in front of him.

2. a. Using a bulb syringe to remove the mucus is the most effective treatment for your baby, especially before feeding her or putting her to sleep -- two times when nasal congestion is the most troublesome. Squeeze the bulb before inserting it into her nose, then gently insert the tip into her nostril and slowly release the bulb. Your pediatrician may also prescribe saline drops to put in the nose first to thin the mucus, making it easier to suction out.

3. b. If you spot symptoms of an ear infection -- which include extreme irritability, fussiness, difficulty sleeping or feeding, and fever -- you should contact your pediatrician. After examining your child, she may prescribe antibiotics or suggest using ear drops to relieve pain.


4. b. Inconsolable crying, an enlarged stomach, and passing gas, as well as an infant arching his back or pulling up his legs, are all known symptoms of colic, which is defined as crying on and off for more than three hours a day, three or more days a week. Excessive sleepiness is not a symptom, as infants with colic are quite fussy, due in no small part to the discomfort caused by the condition.

5. b. You must call your pediatrician if your child is 2 months or younger and is running a fever of 100.2° or higher, says Richard Saphir, M.D., a pediatrician in private practice and a clinical professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. You should also call if she's between 3 and 6 months and has a fever of 101° or is older than 6 months and has a temperature of 103°.

6. d. Between August 2001 and May 2003, shortages of the pneumococcal conjucate vaccine (PCV) -- which prevents pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections and can also lead to a decreased risk of ear infections -- meant that physicians were regularly withholding routine vaccinations. Since then, however, the supplies have been restored, and in most areas of the country the vaccine (and catch-up doses for children who missed them during the shortage) is being readministered.

7. b. A baby should never sleep on his stomach. Always put him to sleep on his back. Though the causes of SIDS remain largely unknown, research overwhelmingly shows that babies sleeping on their stomachs seem to be more likely to succumb to SIDS, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

8. b. Carrots -- along with beets, turnips, collard greens, and spinach -- that are grown in some parts of the country contain nitrates that can cause a low blood count (anemia) in infants. But store-bought versions of these baby foods are safe to give to your child, since manufacturers are able to screen for nitrate levels. It's impossible for you to do this at home.

How Did You Do?

9. a. Certain pollens, pollutants, and other elements in the air can irritate your baby's senses, causing itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. As your child grows, alert your doctor to symptoms that appear regularly. In the meantime, learn about prevention methods from the American Academy of Asthma Allergy and Immunology at

10. b. Seborrheic dermatitis, or cradle cap, is a form of eczema that affects the oil-secreting glands. Washing your child's hair may help control the condition, which usually goes away within a few months. In some cases, a prescription shampoo may be necessary.

What's Your Score?

9-10. Take a bow! And enjoy all that the first year brings -- you're ready for it.

6-8. Impressive. Treat yourself to one of the books we recommend for an instant infant refresher course.

3-5.Take a few baby steps to boost your knowledge. Start by reading a book from the list at left, then get age-by-age advice at

Less than 3. You could benefit from more guidance to help bring up your baby. In addition to checking out the books on our recommended-reading list, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to go over any questions you may have. In the meantime, download the American Academy of Pediatrics' Parent Resource Guides at


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This quiz is for entertainment and/or educational purposes only. All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Copyright © 2003. Reprinted with permission from the October 2003 issue of Child Magazine.