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Protecting Babies -- from People

Lori Verni used to feel funny asking people to wash their hands before touching her infant daughter Diana. "But I decided it was my responsibility to stick up for her," says the Holly Springs, NC, mom. So she enforces the rule. And if there's no sink nearby, or the person has a cold, they can't touch Diana. Period.

A clean-hands-or-hands-off policy is smart, since those strangers who love to kiss, squeeze, and nuzzle your baby have germs that can spread all too easily. Finding it hard to stick to your guns?

Redirect the love. Leave your baby's socks off, and encourage people to touch her adorable feet.

Tell a little fib. Warn strangers that your child's been up all night puking and pooping (even if she hasn't). No one wants to get sick, no matter how cute she is.

Tote a travel-size bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer -- it'll work in a pinch.