Around 75% of babies are consuming more than the recommended amount salt in their diets, according to results found by researchers at the University of Bristol.
1,200 eight month olds were studied and it was found that half consumed more than twice the daily recommendation of 1g of salt.
Researchers Vicky Cribb and Pauline Emmet also found that cows milk, which is given to most babies, contains almost four times the amount of salt found in breast milk.
They said: “This research suggests that clear advice is needed for parents about what foods are suitable for infants.
“This should be given to all parents and carers, and should include the important advice not to use cows’ milk as a main drink before 12 months of age.”
The Department of Health also advises parents to avoid giving cow’s milk to children under 12 months
Processed foods such as gravy, baked beans and spaghetti are thought to play a big part in the findings.
The researchers added: “Given that three-quarters of salt in the diet comes from processed adult foods, successful salt-reduction strategies can only be achieved with the co-operation of the food industry.
“Manufacturers have a responsibility to reduce the salt content of food products.”
“This process has already started in UK but much more needs to be done.”
Giving too much salt to children can damage their kidneys, and the habit of eating too much salt may develop into adult life.