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People at Risk: Children Under Five

Children younger than five years are at an increased risk for foodborne illness and related health complications because their immune systems are still developing. Los niños pequeños con sistemas inmunitarios en desarrollo no pueden luchar contra las infecciones, al igual que los adultos. In addition, young children produce less stomach acid that kills harmful bacteria, making it easier for them to get sick.

Food poisoning can be particularly dangerous for young children because food poisoning often causes vomiting or diarrhea or both. Dado que el cuerpo de un niño es pequeño, puede perder rápidamente una gran cantidad de líquido corporal y causar deshidratación.

Food safety for young children depends on the food safety behaviors of their parents and caregivers. Handwashing is especially important, by children and those caring for them.

In children under 5 years old, E. coli infections are more likely to lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe complication that can cause chronic kidney disease, kidney failure and death. Symptoms of HUS are urinating less often, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. These new symptoms usually develop after about a week of E. coli illness, when the diarrhea is improving.

Choose and Prepare Safe Food

Learn about safer food choices for people with a higher risk for foodborne illness, including young children. Si prepara alimentos para niños menores de cinco años, debe seguir siempre estos cuatro pasos:

Clean: Wash hands, utensils and surfaces often. Germs can spread and survive in many places.

Separate: Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods, so keep them separate.

Cook: Food is safely cooked only when the internal temperature is high enough to kill germs that can make you sick.

Chill: Refrigerate promptly. Bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest between 40°F and 140°F.

Safe Storage of Puréed and Solid Baby Food

Purees and Solids (opened or freshly made) Refrigerador Congelador
Papilla de frutas y verduras De 2 a 3 días De 6 a 8 meses
Papilla de carne y huevo 1 días De 1 a 2 meses
Combinaciones de carne/verdura De 1 a 2 días De 1 a 2 meses
Alimentos caseros para bebés De 1 a 2 días De 1 a 2 meses

Safe Microwaving of Puréed and Solid Baby Foods

Follow these precautions when microwaving baby's food:

  • No caliente el alimento para bebé en el microondas dentro de frascos. Instead, transfer the food to a dish before microwaving it. De esta manera, es posible revolver la comida y corroborar su temperatura.
  • Caliente en microondas cuatro onzas de alimento sólido en un plato durante aproximadamente 15 segundos a la máxima potencia. Recuerde siempre revolver, esperar 30 segundos y probar el alimento antes de dárselo al bebé. El alimento que le dé a su bebé debe estar tibio.
  • Don't heat baby-food meats, meat sticks, or eggs in the microwave. Use la estufa en su lugar. Estos alimentos tienen un alto contenido de grasa y, dado que el horno de microondas calienta las grasas más rápido que el resto de las sustancias, pueden provocar salpicaduras y sobrecalentarse.

Safety Tips for Preparing and Storing Infant Formula

Preparing Formula

  • Carefully read and follow the instructions on the infant formula container.
  • Wash your hands well before preparing bottles or feeding your baby.
  • Clean and sanitize the workspace where you will prepare the infant formula.
  • Use clean, sanitized bottles. To learn more, read How to Clean, Sanitize, and Store Infant Feeding Items.
  • If you use powdered infant formula, use water from a safe source to mix it. If you are not sure if your tap water is safe to use for preparing infant formula, contact your local health department.
  • Use the amount of water listed on the instructions of the infant formula container. Always measure the water first and then add the powder.
  • If your baby is very young (younger than 3 months old), was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system, you may want to take extra precautions in preparing your infant’s formula to protect against Cronobacter, a rare but serious infection that can be caused by germs in powdered infant formula.
  • Use prepared infant formula within 2 hours of preparation and within 1 hour from when feeding begins.
  • If you do not start to use it within 2 hours, immediately store the bottle in the fridge and use it within 24 hours.
  • Throw away formula left in the bottle after feeding your baby.

Cómo calentar fórmula o leche materna

Baby's milk or infant formula does not need to be warmed before feeding, but some people like to warm their baby's bottle. If you do decide to warm the bottle, here is advice on how to warm it safely:

In Hot Tap Water: Place bottle under hot, running tap water until the desired temperature is reached. This should take 1 to 2 minutes.

On the Stove: Heat water in a pan. Remove the pan from the heat and set the bottle in it until it's warm.

When heating baby's milk, always shake the liquid to even out the temperature and test on top of your hand-not the wrist (this is one of the areas least sensitive to heat)-before feeding. La leche que le dé a su bebé debe estar tibia.

Never heat breast milk or infant formula in the microwave. Microwaves heat baby's milk and food unevenly, which results in hot spots that can burn a baby's mouth and throat.

Recursos adicionales

Once Baby Arrives, from Food Safety for Moms to Be (FDA)

Date Last Reviewed