Your baby or toddler is at increased risk for foodborne illness. Children under age 5 are three times more likely to be hospitalized with Salmonella infection than other people (CDC.gov).

Young children do not have fully developed immune systems. They may be more likely to become ill, have serious complications and have a harder time getting well. The Partnership for Food Safety Education offers these tips to parents and caregivers for keeping your baby or toddler safe from foodborne illness.

Handwashing tips. Take time to help young children learn to wash their hands properly with soap and water. Get started with the little ones, and be an example yourself, by using these proven steps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

• Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

• Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

• Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

• Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Baby formula and breastmilk. Breast milk and prepared formula must be refrigerated at 40 °F or below. Milk is susceptible to bacterial contamination and growth if it is not handled and stored properly. Use an appliance thermometer to make sure your refrigerator is at 40 °F or below. Mix only enough formula for one feeding. Use a clean bottle that has been sterilized in boiling water. Don’t add new formula to a half-filled bottle. After feeding baby, throw out any formula or breast milk that is left over.

Baby food. Do not feed a baby directly from a jar of food. Use a clean spoon to take out a portion of food. Place the food in a clean bowl. Heat only the portion of food removed from the jar. Refrigerate unserved portions of baby food in the original container or jar at 40 °F or below. Label the jar with the date it was opened.

Expecting a baby? Check out the Moms-To-Be resources from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Visit www.fda.gov and search keywords “Moms to be,” myPlate.gov and foodsafety.gov/people-at-risk

Julie Buck, EdD, RDN, is a registered dietitian, who is employed as a Family and Consumer Sciences Educator at the University of Idaho Extension, Bingham County. She can be reached at (208)785-8060 or jhbuck@uidaho.edu.