Among adult Finns salt intake is about twice as high as the recommended levels and almost five-fold greater than the physiological requirement. Information as to salt intake in children has hitherto been sparse. Daily sodium intake among 1-5-year-olds was investigated in this study, and the foodstuffs from which it was derived were identified. In all age groups, sodium intake was at least two-fold greater than the Nordic recommendations, and among five-year-olds it exceeded the recommended intake for adults. Approximately half of the sodium intake was found to have derived from salt used in cooking. Levels of sodium derived by children from dairy, meat and grain products were also relatively high. Sodium intake in children after infancy merits greater attention than previously accorded it, as permanent eating habits and taste preferences are already formed at this age, and reasonable limits for salt intake should therefore be established during childhood.