Safer Food Choices for Children Under 5 Years Old

At a glance

Learn what foods and beverages young children should avoid consuming and which foods and beverages are safer options.

Diverse group of children

Why it's important

Young children have a higher risk of food poisoning. Their immune systems are still developing, so their bodies aren't able to fight germs and sickness as well as adults. Food poisoning can be particularly dangerous for them because it can lead to diarrhea and dehydration.

To prevent food poisoning, some foods are safer choices than others. That's because some foods—such as undercooked meat and eggs, unwashed fruits and vegetables, and unpasteurized milk — are more often associated with foodborne illnesses. Use the table below as a guide to safer food choices.

Safer food choices for children under 5 years old

Preventing food poisoning

Always follow the four steps to food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill—to protect yourself from food poisoning.

Learn about current foodborne outbreaks and the foods linked to them.