No one's saying that 5-year-olds can't be adorable—but it appears that they're past their prime, in cuteness terms. Researchers in Canada and China polled adults on the cuteness factor of kids from infancy to 6 years old. Subjects called the younger children cuter, with a big shift at age 4½. At that point, key "facial cues" like big eyes and heads combined with small noses and mouths become less apparent, Time reports.
"These cues make us feel soft and protective, whether or not we're biologically relatives," an expert writes. That helps babies survive; indeed, babies with "tiny eyes, flat foreheads, and square faces" tend to get less attention. Bonnie Rochman reflects on the study in Time, noting that while she doesn't have a favorite child, it would be difficult to argue that her youngest—at just about 4½—doesn't win the cuteness race. "Her face is still round, her body still squeezable, her baby teeth intact, and her syntax to die for." (Read more babies stories.)