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Babies and children

Children

Babies and children under 11 years old should have less salt than adults, because they are smaller.

How much salt should babies have?
Babies need only a very small amount of salt - less than 1g a day up to 12 months. Their kidneys can't cope with larger amounts of salt.

Babies who are breastfed will get the right amount of salt through breast milk. Infant formula contains a similar amount.

Remember not to add salt to food you make for your baby or give to him or her. And be careful not to give him/her foods that aren't made specifically for babies, such as breakfast cereals and pasta sauces, because these can be high in salt.

How much salt should children have?
The daily recommended maximum for children depends on their age:

  • 1 to 3 years - 2 g salt a day (0.8g sodium)
  • 4 to 6 years - 3g salt a day (1.2g sodium)
  • 7 to 10 years - 5g salt a day (2g sodium)
  • 11 and over - 6g salt a day (2.4g sodium)

These are the recommended maximums for children. It is better for them to have less.

When you're buying foods, even those aimed at children, remember to check the information given on the labels so you can choose those with less salt.

Remember there is no need to add salt to your child's food.

If children have too much salt, this could affect their health in the future. And it could also give them a taste for salty food, which means they're more likely to continue eating too much salt when they grow up.

See Understanding labels to find out more about how to tell how much salt is in a food.