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      Colds and Sniffles
      1)
      Elevate the head of the crib to help your baby breathe better at nap- and nighttime.
      2)
      To make sure the medicine goes down--especially if she's a squirmer--squirt it into the side of her mouth, toward the back.
      3)
      Skip cough, cold, and flu medicines: They're not safe for small children.
      4)
      Call the doctor if your baby is under 2 months old and has a fever over 100.4 degrees F; if she's between 3 and 6 months old and her fever is over 101; or she 6 months or older and her fever's above 103.
      5)
      Wash your hands--a lot. It's the best way to make sure you don't catch whatever's ailing your baby.

      Essentials for Sniffles and Colds

      It's a hard fact about colds: Your child will catch between eight and 10 of them before she's 2--and every little cough will break your heart. Make it easier on both of you by keeping these essential feel-better items on hand.

      THERMOMETER
      For an infant, the best bet is a rectal one with a flexible tip. It'll give you the most accurate reading. Move on to an underarm or ear model for older babies and toddlers (keeping in mind that these tend to be a degree or so off, and ear thermometers can be tricky to position in kids under 1). Some features to consider in general: a digital readout, glow-in-the-dark numerals, and versatility: Some thermometers can be used orally, which is ideal for kids over 4.
      PAIN RELIEVER
      You can give your baby acetaminophen right from the start; at 6 months, she can have ibuprofen instead (it lasts longer). Your pediatrician will tell which drug to use, and how much and when to give it to your child. When you're purchasing baby pain meds, keep in mind that liquids are the only option for infants and very young kids (chewables and meltables are safe for kids over age 2); they come in different flavors; some are colorless--no stains if your baby spits right out what you put in!
      MEDICINE DISPENSER
      Most over-the-counter liquid pain relievers come with a medicine dropper, but for prescription drugs (antibiotics, for example) you'll need another method of delivery (kitchen spoons vary greatly in size). The best bet for infants: an oral syringe: Options for older babies and toddlers include tubes with a spoon on the end; medicine cups; and droppers. Make sure the dosages are clearly marked.
      BULB SYRINGE
      This is also called a nasal aspirator. Whatever name it goes by, it can be a lifesaver, given that little babies are years away from being able to blow their own noses. Options range from truly basic to battery-powered, with or without disposable covers for the business end of the bulb--a boon if you need to use the thing on more than one kid.
      SALINE DROPS
      They're nothing but salt and water, but when your baby's so stuffed up she can hardly breathe, you'll appreciate them as if they were a fine wine --even if they do go in her nose! Saline drops (which also come in spray form; both work equally well) thin out the gunk in there, so you can slurp it out more easily with the bulb syringe. (Tip: Often a saline drop or two will make a baby sneeze it all out.)
      VAPORIZERS OR HUMIDIFIER
      Both moisturize the air to help relieve a stuffy little nose. Vaporizers do it with warm steam; humidifiers emit a cool mist. Both have pros and cons: Vaporizers get really hot (a potential burn hazard); humidifiers are mold-prone (but are fine if kept clean). When shopping for either, look for a unit that's big enough for the room you'll be using it in, that holds enough water to last throughout the night, and that's easy to empty, fill, and clean. You might also consider an ultrasonic humidifier, which uses high-frequency sound waves to break water into a mist.
      REHYDRATING SOLUTION
      A baby who's been vomiting (or suffering from diarrhea, or both) can become dehydrated pretty quickly. A rehydrating solution will help to replace those lost fluids. An unflavored one is perfect for infants; older babies and toddlers will appreciate a kid-friendly flavor. Your pediatrician can help you figure out how much to give your child.
      The last thing you'll need to see your baby through a bellyache or a cold is an extra dose of fortitude: It'll be tough to see your little one feeling rotten, but when you know that you're doing all you can to help him feel better (including lots of cuddles), you'll be able to weather whatever ails him.