A daycare provider may call with the bad news. Or you may notice that your baby's frequently scratching or rubbing his scalp, particularly around the back of his head or ears.

But head lice don't always cause itching, especially in the beginning, so your first hint may be the telltale lice eggs, called nits, in your baby's hair. Nits are tiny and pearly white, and they tend to stick to the hair shaft — unlike lint or the flakes from cradle cap, which brush out easily.

It can be hard to identify nits and lice and to tell whether an infestation is active: Nits are about the size of a knot in thread and lice are about the size of a sesame seed. If you're not sure about what you see, have your baby checked by his doctor.

Many daycare facilities have a "no nits" policy that requires children to stay home until the nits are gone.

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