Becoming a parent is a very exciting, emotional, and sometimes stressful process. As you prepare to bring your baby home, there are many new things to consider in order to give your baby the best possible start to a healthy life.

Keeping your baby healthy and safe is a full-time job, but we are here to help with information, reminders, resources, and suggestions. Share this information with family and friends and anyone who might care for your baby

The South Dakota Family Planning Program helps men and women to determine the number and spacing of their children and maintain or improve general and reproductive health. Staff provides education, counseling, nursing, medical, and birth control services. All services provided by the program are strictly confidential and disclosed to others only with your written consent or as required by law.

Family planning services include:

  • Client education, counseling, community education
  • Annual exams (check-ups)
  • A full range of birth control information and supplies
  • Pregnancy testing, counseling, and referrals
  • Screening for sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, breast and cervical cancer, and other health issues
  • Follow-up and referrals for social and medical issues

Find a family planning clinic in South Dakota, or use this national clinic locator.

All babies cry. They have to. It’s how they communicate. And, it can be very frustrating for parents when you don’t know what they are trying to tell you.

But NEVER shake or hurt a baby or young child when they are crying. It can cause permanent brain damage and even death.

Here are some of the reasons babies cry:

  • Hunger
  • Dirty diapers
  • Too hot or too cold
  • Tired
  • Wants to be held
  • Teething
  • Not comfortable
  • Too much going on
  • Not enough going on
  • Not feeling well

Newborns often go through periods when they seem to cry more often and for no reason. Although this is normal, it doesn’t mean it is easy. Here are a few things you can try to help comfort your baby:

  • Cuddle
  • Find a constant rhythm or noise
  • Rock your baby
  • Try a massage
  • Let your baby suck on something
  • Don’t blame yourself

Learn More About the Reasons Babies Cry and Ways to Cope

You can find out more about violence prevention from the CDC.

Home Safety

Babies and children are fast learners. Before you know it, they are able to roll over, sit, crawl, stand, walk, and climb – and they will reach and grab at almost anything.

In the United States, every year hundreds of children under the age of 1 die due to injuries that could have been prevented. Falls, burns, drowning, poisoning, choking, strangulation, and suffocation can often be avoided by taking steps to “baby-proof” your home.

Here are a few resources to help you make your home a safer place for baby:

Safety for Your Child: Birth to 6 Months          Safety for Your Child: 6 to 12 Months

Car Seat Safety

Keeping your baby safe in the car is more important than ever. Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. But more than half of those deaths could be prevented simply by placing babies in age and size-appropriate car seats and making sure they are secured properly.

To learn how you can keep your baby safe with South Dakota’s Child Safety Seat Distribution program, or if you qualify for a child seat, get in touch with your local Department of Social Services office.

The CDC has even more information and safety guidelines.


Choking is a leading cause of death among young children and toddlers. Paying close attention to your child when they are eating and checking your house routinely for small objects can help prevent accidents. Please remember:

  • Pea-size pieces of food are safest for children 12-24 months of age
  • Always watch your child while eating
  • Never leave your child alone while eating
  • Learn CPR and the Heimlich maneuver
  • Call 911 if you are unable to get your child to breathe
  • Find out more ways to prevent choking.

Choosing a daycare or childcare center for your baby can be challenging. There are many things you should consider to make sure your baby gets the best care, but here are a few questions that may help guide your decision:

  • What are the hours?
  • What are the fees and services?
  • What qualifications and/or training does the provider have?
  • How do they handle discipline?
  • How often and when can you get feedback on your child’s day?
  • How do they handle transportation?
  • What are the provider’s policies?
  • Is the provider licensed?

Learn More About Choosing a Daycare Center