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NYS Parent Guide

Prenatal: Growth and Development

Baby On the Way

Protecting Your Child

Protecting Your Child

The decisions you make today can help you keep your new baby safe and healthy. You too. Your baby will want to be like you—her most important adult. The best way to teach your baby how to be safe and healthy is to live a safe and healthy life yourself. If you are pregnant, check with your doctor before changing your diet, exercise routine, or your prescribed medications.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Eat healthy. Eating healthy is especially important—right from the start, so get into practice to model healthy eating. Trade deep fried for steamed, baked and stir-fried. Go light on the mayo, butter, salad dressings and sauces. Cut down on soda and juice with sugar. Or better yet, cut them out.
  • Exercise regularly and often. Being active is an important part of keeping yourself healthy, for you and your baby. If you are active, your baby is more likely to be more active and healthy too. Walking is a good way to start your exercise.
  • Stop smoking before baby arrives—at home and in the car. Smoking is harmful for a baby, even before she is born. Smoking while pregnant or even smoking around someone else that is pregnant exposes an unborn baby to toxic chemicals and reduces the amount of oxygen to the baby. Quitting is hard, but there is support out there.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs (unless recommended or prescribed by your doctor). Even if you are a father or grandparent preparing for a baby, she will be depend ing on you to be on your toes to keep her safe and healthy. She needs you to be alert and at your best. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about ways to quit smoking and drinking alcohol. When you drink, smoke and/or use drugs, so does your baby
  • Get a rear-facing car seat and learn to install and use it in the right way. For more information visit or call 888-327-4236.

Useful Resources:

Food & Nutrition Helplines

For information and referrals for other programs related to food and nutrition, such as food stamps or WIC call the Growing Up Healthy Helpline.

1-800-655-1789 (TTY Access)

New York State Smokers Quitline

Free tobacco replacement products and information on quitting smoking

866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487)

New York State HOPEline

Anonymous and confidential help 24-hours a day, 365 days a year for alcoholism, drug abuse and problem gambling.


To locate local mental health services by agency,
address and contact numbers, go to:

additional resources my e-journal

Did you know

Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, can cause asthma and increases chances of pneumonia, bronchitis and middle air infections in infants and young children. (UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY).