A Friendly PSA: Honey and Babies Don’t Mix

The FDA is reminding parents that honey isn’t safe for babies after 4 cases of infantile botulism were reported in Texas.

All four cases have been linked to honey-filled or honey-dipped pacifiers purchased in Mexico, but the FDA also notes similar products can be purchased online in the States.

These pacifiers contain honey (or a similarly textured, sweet product, like corn syrup) that makes the pacifier more pliable. The problem comes when a hole develops in the rubber, allowing honey to be consumed by the infant.

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The issue with honey and babies: Infantile Botulism

Here’s the situation. Honey is delicious. It’s natural and pretty and packs less of a glycemic punch than it’s refined, crystalized cousin, sugar.

That said, honey can also carry some dangerous passengers.

Tiny Clostridium botulinum spores can occur naturally in honey, and cause big problems in the immature digestive systems of babies under 12 months of age. In young babies, these spores reproduce and release a toxin that causes paralysis and difficulty breathing.

Symptoms of infantile botulism include constipation, difficulty sucking or swallowing, and floppy movements. If left untreated, it can be fatal.

 

The safest thing to do is avoid honey until your baby is a year old

These honey-dipped pacifiers aren’t terribly common in the States, but they do serve as a good reminder that the guidelines on when babies can have honey haven’t changed. This is important to remember when you’re scanning the webs for kid-safe, natural cough remedies and you come across honey. There is no safe amount of honey for babies under the age of 12 months.

(For some baby-safe tips and tricks for dealing with colds, check out How Can I Help My Baby with a Cold?)

While honey isn’t the only way babies can contract infantile botulism, avoiding it is one easy way to avoid exposure.

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Honey is not safe for babies under one. Four cases of infantile botulism have been reported in Texas, prompting the FDA to put out an important reminder: honey and babies don't mix.

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