Every parent wants to keep their baby healthy. But because many diseases spread through the air and babies don't have fully developed immune systems to fight off germs, they're bound to get sick—it's a normal part of childhood. The good news is that you can help protect your baby with doctor-recommended vaccinations given on a regular schedule.
 
At two months of age, your baby can start getting shots to build immunity to diseases like whooping cough (also known as pertussis) and measles. Because people started skipping shots in 1990s, these once-common diseases are still a threat to newborns.

Shot schedule

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), together with medical and public health experts, created an immunization schedule for when infants and children should get which shots. Timing is important. Parents who choose to skip or spread out the shots risk their child getting sick during that delay. They also risk spreading diseases to other children and to seniors with weak immune systems. In short, they risk infecting anyone in their community who isn't protected.

"When parents ask me about the vaccination schedule, I tell them it's the best thing to do for their baby," says Dr. Larry Pickering, a pediatrician who works with the CDC. "The vaccines have been tested at the recommended ages, so we know they are safe for babies to get at those ages."

Life-changing advances

Because of vaccines, diseases that harm kids have declined. Emergency rooms see far fewer children for pneumonia. Vaccinated children miss fewer school days because they no longer get mumps. They don't get scars from scratching chicken pox. The last case of polio in the U.S. occurred in 1979. As a result, American children no longer risk the paralysis that can result.

Catch up

You can use the CDC's scheduling tool to create an immunization schedule for your child. If you are behind on your child's shots, work with your doctor to set a catch-up schedule. Doing so reduces your child's risk of getting sick from a preventable disease.

Protect everyone

Immunizations protect everyone in the family. Whooping cough is most dangerous to infants age three months or younger, because they cannot be fully immunized yet. Seniors can catch illnesses from babies. And some people who cannot have vaccines are at risk. Vaccinating everyone who is healthy enough to handle it protects us all.