Babies come out with tiny rosebud lips that look like they are just waiting to be kissed. In fact, an infant face feels like an invitation to smooch. While affection is absolutely essential for the proper development of children, parents need to rethink letting just anyone kiss their children. In fact, they may want to rethink letting anyone kiss the baby on the mouth.
Parents are obviously going to resist strangers from off the street trying to kiss their babies, but the threat may lurk closer to home. Visitors, like family members and close friends, may feel that kissing a baby is just a way to show affection. Unfortunately, it can also be a way to spread germs that can prove fatal for infants. And this is completely 100% avoidable.
Even parents can carry germs that can be dangerous for a baby, and our kisses also have the potential to cause cavities and encourage other siblings to mimic our behavior. There are plenty of ways to let our babies know we love them, but one of the best ways to support the health of our children may be to have a no-kissing policy.
This may sound extreme, and many parents may just make it a no-kissing-baby-on-the-lips policy. However, it's important to put some rules and guidelines in place because the following problems on this list are real. Though we would never intentionally hurt our children, not knowing what the saliva coming from other people can do to them means we may inadvertently cause them harm.
13 Dangerous Cold Sores
A Facebook post went viral after a mom saw what could happen when an adult kisses a child on the mouth. Her child ended up with the Herpes Simplex Virus(HSV), in this case HSV-1, the type that is associated with cold sores.
Noticing the signs early helped this mom get her child to the hospital in time, but the child was in the hospital for days with the virus spreading across her body. Her young age meant her immune system couldn't fight the virus, and that's why herpes can be fatal for babies.
Though an adult should be able to recognize a cold sore and make the decision not to kiss others while it's present, it's best for parents to make a no-kissing-the-baby-on-the-face rule to avoid this fate. Given the severity of this case, it's not an extreme request.
12 Very Common RSV
The bane of every infant parents' existence is respiratory syncytial virus, best known as RSV. This viral infection affects a child's lungs and can make breathing difficult. Since babies have thinner air ways due to their tiny size, an infection that causes inflammation in the respiratory system is especially problematic. RSV can also lead to pneumonia, an illness that is even known to prove fatal for adults.
RSV is extremely contagious, so it's hard enough to keep very young children from catching it. That's why many doctors encourage parents to keep their children away from big crowds during the very early months of life, especially if the child is born during RSV season. However, if an adult or older child then walks through the front door and passes the virus to an infant with a kiss, it defeats the purpose of limiting the baby's exposure to others.
11 Food Allergies
We live in the age of food allergies, where kids have to sit at separate lunch tables at school and parents carry Epi-pens everywhere they go. There are also conditions, such as Celiac disease, where crumbs containing gluten can set off an auto-immune response that puts a child at a much higher risk of cancer and other auto-immune disorders.
Though parents usually try to let guests know if their baby is suffering from allergies or if they suspect an issue, guests don't always understand the importance of not exposing children to allergen foods. They also may not understand that the food they ate before came into contact with nuts or that their lipstick can contain gluten.
Having a rule that says no mouth kisses helps kids avoid exposure, and for food-allergy kids, the no mouth kissing without verifying ingredients on another person's face is forever.
10 Chemicals In Makeup And Skin Care Products
Both men and women put a multitude of chemicals on their faces daily to try to stay young, look fresh, and hide their true faces. Though we've known for some time that the chemicals in these products aren't usually of the best quality, it hasn't stopped many people from continuing to use them.
These productsoften contain formaldehyde, parabens, and artificial colors, and that's just a start. Some have been recognized as endocrine interrupters, and others are associated with cancer risks. Though it's not a good idea for any of us to come into contact with these, it's extremely bad for babies.
By asking people not to kiss our babies on their faces, we can limit our children's exposure to toxic chemicals contained in makeup, moisturizers, and other products. Its' a small step, but it is something.
9 The Kissing Disease
Mononucleosis is nicknamed the kissing disease because it can be passed through saliva, a common component in kissing. Many people believe infants are immune to mono since they consider it a disease for teenagers who are making out with their significant others. However, infants can get mono.
The good news is this is one of the rare conditions that may be easier on infants than teenagers and adults. When infants contract mono, the condition may just result in a child having a runny nose and being cranky. It can lead to upper respiratory issues, but in infants those are usually also mild.
The problem is there is no treatment for mono since it is viral, so an infant will be forced to suffer through not feeling well until the infection clears up on its own. Plus, since this condition is extremely contagious, babies can pass it on to other people in the house. That means the mild virus can turn into a full-fledged nightmare for adults and older kids who catch it.
8 Cavity Causing Kisses
We may tell children that they develop cavities because they don't brush and floss their teeth. While this is true, it's not the whole story. Children can also develop cavities because we kiss them.
Dentists are warning parents that their saliva can carry a bacteria known for causing cavities. When we kiss our children on the mouths, we may be passing Streptococcus mutans. When our children receive this bacteria from us, cavities can develop in their tiny teeth, and these are usually found at their first dentist appointments.
Sharing food with our children can have the same effect since it is a way we pass saliva to our children, but kissing seems to be the most direct way we unintentionally share our germs. No adult or child should kiss a child on the mouth, and it's a good idea to make sure when we blow on food to cool it off for kids that we don't spray saliva on it as well.
7 Weakened Immune Systems
Babies' immune systems are pretty much non-existent for their first several months on earth. Gut bacteria are still being established, and though breastfeeding and probiotics can help build a baby's immunity, they can still be easily compromised in those early months.
Because of this, any adult who comes into contact with the baby needs to make sure they wash their hands. If they have even a small sign of illness, they should also avoid visiting a newborn. With these two precautions in place, babies can hopefully avoid issues. However, if an adult then comes in and kisses a baby's face, they are sharing germs that mom and dad just asked them to wash off their hands.
What may appear as a cold or mild irritant for adults can turn into full-blown illness in a baby. That's why having a no kissing policy makes so much sense. Even adults don't always know they are falling ill until after the fact, and that means our babies, who are already working with little to no immune system, may be exposed to germs they can't fight.
6 Horrible Stomach Viruses
There is nothing more pitiful to watch than a baby with a stomach virus. Watching them vomit and have diarrhea while miserable from stomach pain is almost unbearable for parents. Stomach viruses are usually extremely contagious, so one kiss from an adult who is carrying the virus is all it takes to put a child in harm's way.
Besides being miserable for children, stomach viruses are dangerous for infants. Due to the loss of so many bodily fluids, babies can dehydrate quickly. Dehydration lands infants in the hospital receiving an IV to keep fluids flowing through their bodies.
Even a mom who breastfeeds can't always keep her child from dehydrating because babies will often just vomit up whatever hits their stomachs when ill. That's why anyone who visits the baby should be days away from any virus they had, and they should still refrain from kissing the baby's face.
5 Lack Of Vaccinations
Children will receive vaccines throughout their first several years of life, but newborns haven't been given vaccines in those early weeks. Even when they start receiving shots, it takes several doses of most vaccines for them to be effective.
That means anyone who could be carrying a contagious disease needs to steer clear of infants. Even adults who don't think they are sick shouldn't kiss a child's face, just in case. Plus, parents and grandparents who will be around children often need to make sure they are up to date on vaccines. Pertussis can be fatal for infants, and it's not difficult to ask doctors about giving caregivers a dose if they are behind.
Throughout that first year, babies will receive a multitude of vaccines, but parents should not get comfortable. Babies can still get sick if they haven't had all of their doses, and even children who are vaccinated can fall ill from the diseases they have been vaccinated against.
4 Drawing Necessary Boundaries
Parents find out quickly that taking a baby out in public is an exercise in avoiding intrusiveness. Sure, it's sweet to have people so interested in our little ones, but we don't want every person in the world getting in our children's faces. That's why many moms choose to wear their babies in slings instead of put them in strollers. Most people respect a baby's personal space a bit more if the baby is attached to mom's body.
Though family and strangers aren't the same, it's not a bad idea to draw boundaries with everyone when it comes to kissing. It shows our older children that even babies deserve to have their personal space respected and that it's not rude to ask people to do what is best for a child's safety. Drawing these lines early on is easier than having to try to establish them later.
Family members and friends who remember having infants will understand. Other people will just have to deal with it.
3 Little Kids Will Mimic Grown Up Behavior
Many babies are born into families where older siblings await. Those older siblings take their cues from the adults in their lives, so if they see people kissing the baby on the lips or all over the face, they will likely join in.
While siblings showing affection is cute, it can also be toxic. Older siblings go out into the world to preschool and public school, and they come into contact with germs. Germs aren't bad, and exposure can help a child's immune system grow. However, infants are still building their immune systems. That's why a child just a couple of years older can handle an illness without much trouble, but an infant may be killed by the same germ.
Talk to kids about not touching or kissing their little siblings faces, then set an example by asking adults to follow the same rule.
2 Vicious Whooping Cough
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, can be fatal for children, especially newborns and infants. While the DTAP vaccine contains a strain for pertussis, children don't receive their first DTAP shot for months, and it takes several doses for a child to be immune.
Whooping cough is extremely contagious. A child who comes into contact with someone who has it can develop it quickly, and being kissed by someone who is infected is extremely dangerous for children under one. In fact, at least half of children who contract this disease before their first birthday will have to be hospitalized.
Since whooping cough symptoms can take days or weeks to emerge, an adult or older child can have the condition but show no signs. By the time they know they have pertussis, they may have already kissed a small child, exposing them to germs that can be fatal due to their tiny lungs and the apnea pertussis causes.
1 Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease
Most kids will develop hand, foot, and mouth disease at some point during their childhood. However, parents should work to help their child avoid it if they can since it is uncomfortable for a child and extremely contagious.
The enterovirus causes hand, foot, and mouth disease, and the condition causes sores to pop up on a child's body, including in the mouth. Children are usually cranky, tired, and have a sore throat. Fever adds to the discomfort they experience, and though this condition doesn't long, it's not fun for kids or parents while a child is suffering from it.
Since both adults and children can suffer from this disease, it's important for parents to keep other people from kissing a child on the face or mouth. Even kissing a baby's hands can be a problem if an adult leaves saliva behind. Children gnaw on their hands for comfort, so they will put those germs right into their mouths.
Sources: Verywell.com, NBCnews.com, Huffingtonpost.com, Dailytelegraph.com.au