Some of the good-for-you benefits of kissing can happen when kissing loved ones other than a romantic partner, too, like lowering stress and strengthening bonds. Still, as kissable as adorable baby cheeks are, it’s important to show caution when getting too close. Kissing a baby can be dangerous for them and their immature immune systems.
According to Women & Infants, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a highly contagious respiratory virus caused by physical contact with someone carrying the virus, and kissing is an easy way to spread it. The CDC adds that babies six months or younger are especially susceptible to developing severe symptoms from RSV, as are premature babies and children with weakened immune systems. Severe RSV can lead to complications like pneumonia and respiratory inflammation.
One of the best ways to keep babies safe from RSV is to keep them away from sick people and wash your hands frequently, especially before holding a baby. And of course, be careful about kissing. “Spread of infection through kissing depends on a number of factors, such as where the baby was kissed — near her mouth or nose is worse than on her feet, and kisses on fingers are also worse, as babies can suck their fingers,” pediatrician Hansa Bhargava tells WebMD, who added that there’s minimal risk in kissing a baby’s feet (and that kissing babies is a no-no for sick people).