Many parents might not realize that feeding a child under the age of 1-year-old honey can cause detrimental health effects. According to Today, the FDA is now warning parents about pacifiers that contain honey and are making infants sick.
On Friday, Texas Health Services released a statement regarding an outbreak of botulism. Botulism is caused by toxins from bacteria and affects the nervous system. Honey can contain a species of bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum that can cause sickness in infants. Though rare, this condition can have very serious side effects, including trouble breathing, nausea, impaired vision, difficulty swallowing and even paralysis. In infants under a year old, the most noticeable symptoms are typically constipation, poor feeding, and difficulty breathing. The baby might also have difficulty latching on to a bottle.
Four infants in Texas have already been hospitalized as a result of this condition. The incidents occurred between August and mid-October and all resulted in life-saving treatments for the infants involved. All four babies had been using pacifiers containing honey. Although all four cases involved pacifiers produced in Mexico, similar items are also available from the United States. Honey is known to be safe to consume by adults and children over the age of 1-year-old, but is a known link to botulism in infants.
#REMINDER ⚠️Do NOT give children ???? less than 1 yr old #honey.
FDA has rec'd reports from the state of Texas @TexasDSHS – 4 infants have been hospitalized w/ #botulism. All 4 had used #pacifiers containing honey from Mexico & available thru US retailers. https://t.co/e9hj78bzgm pic.twitter.com/mvUicbGlJY
— FDA FOOD (@FDAfood) November 16, 2018
Though parents might think that honey seems like a good natural food to offer a baby, they should be aware of the potential health consequences. The FDA is urging parents to do research before purchasing a pacifier for their baby. It is prudent to check the label before buying to ensure honey was not used in the production of the items. Even though the product might not be intended for the ingredient to be consumed if the product gets a leak, some of the honey could be released. If parents have already been offering their infant a pacifier with honey, they should throw it away immediately. Parents should also be aware of the possible symptoms of botulism and take their child to a doctor immediately if they are showing any of the signs.
To avoid even the possibility of their baby coming into contact with honey, parents should not cook or bake with this ingredient. Even if high heat is used in preparing the food, the toxins are difficult to kill and will likely still be present in the dish.
“If you purchased a pacifier filled with honey, stop using it & discard immediately,” the FDA wrote on Twitter.