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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > Infant and Children
Earache or Ear Infection
 What causes earaches?
A tube called the eustachian (say: "you-stay-shun") tube connects the middle ear with the back of the nose. Normally this tube lets fluid drain out of the middle ear. If bacteria or viruses infect the lining of your child’s eustachian tube, the tube gets swollen and fills with thick mucus. This keeps fluid in the ear from draining normally. Bacteria can grow in the fluid, increasing pressure behind the eardrum and causing pain.
The eustachian tubes can become blocked because of allergies, or a cold or other infection. In other cases, the adenoids (glands near the ear) become enlarged and block the eustachian tubes.
Acute ear infections usually clear up within 1 or 2 weeks. Sometimes, ear infections last longer and become chronic. After an infection, fluid may stay in the middle ear. This may lead to more infections and hearing loss.

What are the symptoms of ear infections?

The most common symptoms of an acute ear infection are ear pain and fever. If your child is too young to tell you what hurts, he or she may cry or pull at his or her ear. Your child may also be irritable or listless, have trouble hearing, or not feel like eating or sleeping. Read more.
Pa. Breastfeeding Awareness and Support Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Health recognizes breastfeeding as the ideal nutrition for infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, continued breastfeeding for the first year and then for as long as mutually desired by mother and child. Mother's milk is best for both babies and mothers and offers complete nutrition that cannot be reproduced in formula. Read more.
Caring For your Baby
Caring for a baby can be very difficult at times. Because babies are so small, their only way to communicate is by crying. Some babies may seem to cry more than others and this can be frustrating to new parents. When you begin to feel frustrated, try to stay calm. Common reasons for crying include: the baby may be too hot or cold, his/her diaper may be wet or soiled, the baby may be hungry or he/she may need to be burped. Read more. 
Pa. Child Death Review Program
 The mission of the Pennsylvania Child Death Review(CDR) program is to promote the safety and well being of children and reduce preventable child fatalities.  This is accomplished through timely reviews of child deaths.  Information obtained from the reviews is used to determine how future deaths can be prevented. Read more.
First Trip to the Hospital
 Don’t wait to take your baby to the doctor only when he or she seems sick. Your baby also needs vaccines (immunizations) for protection against many diseases. Your baby will need his/her first immunization at birth and then several more after that as he/she continues to grow. The list below shows when others are due. Read more.
Infant and Child Immunizations

 One visit, lots of protection: Your child can safely receive all vaccines recommended for a particular age during one visit. Talk with your child's physician or healthcare professional about use of combination vaccines to reduce the number of injections needed. Infant& Child Vaccine Schedule  


Infant Hearing Screening Advisory Committee
The Infant Hearing Screening Advisory Committee was established as required by the Infant Hearing, Education, Assessment, Reporting and Referral Act - IHEARR (Act 89 of 2001).  The Act recognizes the importance of completing hearing screenings at the hospital or within 30 days of birth for those newborns not born in a hospital. The Advisory Committee, composed of six members appointed by the Secretary of Health, advises and makes recommendations on issues relating to, but not limited to, program regulation and administration, diagnostic testing, technical support and follow-up. Read more.
Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention
The Pennsylvania Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention program seeks to assure that all newborns: 
  • are screened for hearing loss within the first 30 days,
  • are diagnosed within three months, and
  • receive prescribed treatment or intervention services within six months of birth.  

Read more.

Newborn Screening and Follow Up
 Newborn screening in Pennsylvania is completed to ensure every newborn is tested for metabolic, endocrine, hemoglobin, heart disease and hearing loss. The majority of these diseases are gentic and the testing performed identifies babies with certain disorders which, withour intervention, may permanently impact newborns and their families. Early recognition and treatment of most of these disorders leads to a better outcome for the newborn. Read more.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Commonly known as pinkeye, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelids. It is a fairly common condition and usually causes no danger to the eye or your child's vision. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergies such as hay fever, and irritants in the environment. With antibiotic treatment, it typically goes away without complications. Read more.
Shaken Baby Syndrome
 Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is the term used to describe the signs and symptoms resulting from a child being shaken.  Shaking a baby is dangerous because:
  •  A baby's head is large and heavy in proportion to the baby's body.
  • There is space between the brain and skull to allow for growth and development.
  • The baby's neck muscles are not yet developed.  Read more.
SIDS and Infant Death Syndrome
Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday. In response to this public health crisis, The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition launched text4baby, a free mobile information service that provides pregnant women and new moms with information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life. Read more.
Umbilical Cord Blood Banking
Visit the umbilical cord Blood banking home page
Vaccines for Children (VFC)
 Enrolled Vaccines for Children (VFC) providers must complete the necessary Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System (PA-SIIS) Online vaccine ordering training. Read more.
Women Infants and Children (WIC)
Through WIC, parents and caregivers of infants and young children learn about good nutrition to keep themselves and their families healthy. WIC provides nutrition services, breastfeeding support, health care and social service referrals and healthy foods to pregnant women, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children under age 5.  
Read more. 
Zika Virus
Zika virus is a generally mild illness that is spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes), lasting from several days to one week. Rarely, the virus is spread from mother to child. Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact has also been reported. Read more.