Key Message: Once infected with foodborne pathogens, high-risk individuals such as infants and young children are more likely to develop severe symptoms and even life-threatening. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid eating high-risk foods. In addition, this article also mentions other foods that may affect the health of infants and young children.

The natural defences of infants and young children against foodborne pathogens are weaker. Because their immune systems are immature, and the gut microbiota may not be as protective as adults. The gastric juice acidity of a newborn baby is lower than that of an adult. Bacteria and other pathogens are more likely to survive in their bodies. Also, infants and young children consume more food in proportion to their weight than adults, therefore proportionately consuming more toxins or contaminants if present in food. Once infected with food-borne pathogens, infants and young children are more likely to develop severe symptoms which could be life-threatening. Infants and young children should avoid consuming high-risk foods.

Click here to read about high-risk foods.


Formulated Infant Formula

Although breast milk is the best food for babies, when breast milk is not available in time, caregivers may consider infant formula as an alternative. However, infant formula is not a sterile product. If infant formaula is not handled properly, it can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, which can lead to serious illnesses in infants. Therefore, caregivers should:

Choking Risk

Young children have weak chewing or swallowing abilities and are prone to choking after eating certain foods:

To reduce the risk of food-related choking, when preparing meals for young children, caregivers are advised to:

Foods worthy of Attention

Lychee  Lychees naturally contain two chemicals, hypoglycine A and methylene cyclopropylglycine, which inhibit the body's production of glucose, and the content of unripe lychees is higher. Compared with adults, children have less glycogen reserves, and skipping meals is more likely to lead to hypoglycemia. If children eat a lot of lychees on an empty stomach, the chemicals in lychees may cause blood sugar to plummet, resulting in convulsions, coma, and even death. Remember not to eat lychees on an empty stomach, and control the amount of lychees each time you eat. Children should not eat more than 5 lychees at a time.
Ginkgo Ginkgo is toxic because it contains toxins such as 4'-methoxypyridoxine and cyanogenic glycosides.  4'-methoxypyridoxine is a food poisoning chemical. Although cooking cannot destroy 4'-methoxypyridoxine, it can remove the toxicity of heat-labile toxins such as cyanogenic glycosides, thereby reducing the toxicity of ginkgo. Only consume a few ginkgo per day, and children should pay extra attention.
Caffeinated drinks Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that exists naturally in plants such as coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans, and kola nut. Many foods and drinks are fortified with caffeine for its bitter taste and refreshing effect. Tolerance to caffeine in different individuals is different. Excessive intake of caffeine can cause anxiety, rapid heartbeat, tremors, sleep disturbance, upset stomach, etc. In children, excessive intake may temporarily affect behaviour. Children should avoid beverages high in caffeine such as coffee and milk tea, and should maintain a balanced and varied diet.

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