Q. Kindly explain whether kissing babies is deadly.

Answered by
Dr. Preeti Puranik
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 15, 2020

Hello doctor,

Is kissing babies really deadly? I am sure you have seen the story in the news today about the newborn baby who is in critical condition after contracting meningitis from someone kissing her (according to her mother). I am working on a follow-up story on whether parents really do need to shield their babies from kisses/contact with other people.

Specific questions:

1) Do new parents really need to worry about someone making their baby very sick by kissing it?

2) How common are occurrences like the ones in the news today?

3) What should parents allow/not allow in terms of people having contact with newborn babies?

Dr. Preeti Puranik



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I do not recommend kissing a new born baby. Firstly, a newborn baby's immune system is not fully developed and is prone for infections. Secondly contact with the baby can transmit many types of bacteria and viruses which can cause various infections. Hence hand washing before touching the baby, handling only by mother and a couple of caretakers is ideal.

When a baby is kissed there can be transmission of various bacteria/germs which are normally present in the mouth of people.These generally do not cause any infection in healthy people who have a strong immune system. But these can cause infection in people who have low immunity and newborn baby is one among them. Kissing cannot cause meningitis per se but can transmit few bacteria which can first cause a mild respiratory infection which can spread to brain especially in low immunity people like newborns. Kissing can transmit viral infection like herpes simplex and infectious mononucleosis.

Hence it is better to avoid kissing the baby especially by friends and relatives, etc. Even parents should avoid if possible.

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